A precursor to the “Hometaping Is Killing Music” album created with Pyrolator, “Plays The Kassetteninstrument” is the unearthed solo recordings of A. K. Klowoski inventing his own instrument, constructed from eight Sony Walkmen, and toying with ideas and rhythms in a manner that strictly speaking might not be called sampling. However it is strongly analogous to other sampling experiments of the early 1980’s, where music concrete and found sound finally began to step out of its art-house pigeonhole, morph into ‘sampling’ as most people would think of it today, and make its way into the clubs and the pop charts.
It’s an interesting time capsule of a release, not always pleasant to listen to, but captivating throughout anyway. The source materials that Klosowski has borrowed are very formative without being easily distinguished; I think I can make out brass bands and Hendrix amongst the more prominent orchestral classics and old black-and-white movie numbers.
Tracks like “Newsticker” incorporate frantic but simple drum patterns, giving the tracks a mechanical structure and form that feels like a slightly unnecessary invasion of the punk ethos. Underneath the sometimes invasive drum machine there are parts of a beautiful ambient album calling out to be heard.
There are sillier moments too, like “Rot Glocken” with its childish squeaking and the tango-like rhythms of closer “XXX”. Certain theatrical elements here are reminiscent of some Pierre Henry works, and there’s a certain 1960’s Radiophonic Workshop-ish tone to “Lamento”.
Arguably this material wasn’t incredibly pioneering for 1984- there are parallels to the Beatles’ “Revolution 9” in some of the principles, and the Art Of Noise had already released “Beatbox” by now. But as a sonic curiosity, a dip into one of the more esoteric forgotten pieces of 1980’s cassette culture, there’s a lot to go on in here.