There was a time when the cassette was the most prominent medium of listening to and sharing music. In the 90s came an abrupt takeover by CDs, leaving audio cassettes completely in the dust. Now, with the continual acceleration of the Internet age, we all aspire for something more tangible to hold onto with the music that we know and love.
This desire brings us back to cassettes and their comeback, providing listeners with their favorite independent music—all wrapped in a charming little package accompanied by thoughtful artwork.
Just recently, Crash Symbols and Rebel reinforced this idea by spontaneously teaming up to release a collaborative collection of limited edition cassette tapes. Though coming from two opposite sides of the United States, we both share a love for tapes and recognize their importance in the independent music experience that is so vibrant in contemporary culture. This, in turn, leaves us incredibly proud to be part of such a welcoming community of DIY music releasing entities.
First in the collection is the newest release from Zeadron, the one-man project of musician/songwriter Jack Heffron. For five months Heffron has been diligently compiling his most thought-provoking release yet, Hold My Hand? No. The debut LP from the 17-year-old Orange County native is a sonic experiment spanning a wide spectrum of styles, incorporating elements from garage, dubstep, drum & bass, house, hip-hop and Heffron’s own instrumental background in guitar. Abstract noises from Heffron’s own vocal box, a pencil to a book, shaking a vitamin jar, and the bold thumps of hitting a desk are just a few of the DIY sounds that were recorded during the process of Hold My Hand? No. Through the heavy use of different effects, the sounds Jack achieves are completely unique in musical aesthetic, setting his work apart from any genre stereotyping.
Apart from his self-created sounds are carefully positioned samples from Aretha Franklin, Vashti Bunyan, various YouTube singers, and even contemporary artist Rihanna. Blurred and rough, his vocal samples experiment with pitch changes and heavy delays, floating from phrase to phrase seamlessly. ”I wanted something scratchy, raspy, but soft feeling,” Heffron says of his craftwork. Drawing on his earlier roots of guitar driven music, Heffron includes instrumentation in a couple of tracks, including far-off and melodic “Trainer.Saw93 MB”.
So what exactly is Hold My Hand? No about? “I had an idea,” says Heffron, “that it isn’t present in every single song, but it’s mainly about ugly people, lonely people, thinking people, and eccentrics. Hold My Hand? No, when you say it, is very blunt and doesn’t make much sense. However, I think the bluntness of it is so brutal and hurtful but also darkly comedic.” Hold My Hand? No gives voice to a landscape of dark images and self-exploration through sounds and compositions both new and old. --Brian Vu, Rebel Magazine
Head over to the Crash Symbols bandcamp to preorder the limited edition cassette.