Preslav Literary School

Beautiful Was The Time



Second ’studio’ album from Berlin-based Adam Thomas. 30 minutes of understated melodic drones, cassette symphonies and analogue disintegration taken ’live’ from over 100 salvaged and reconstructed tapes found, bought & borrowed over a two year period.


Artist note


“Beautiful Was The Time is the result of two years of listening. The sounds are almost exclusively taken from 100 cassettes and microcassettes found, borrowed or bought in that period, with each having had their own journey before coming into my possession. Recording onto a C90 is both an act of erasure and creation. Every centimeter and second of magnetic tape holds a narrative, but stories only truly live in the associations formed through giving, finding and listening.

Early in 2009, in a Berlin apartment, I began playing back the cassettes. Over one week, sets of coincidences emerged from the tapes’ contents that identified themselves as structures previously hidden. Using simple equalization I began to uncover more ghosts, sounds from old recordings by others and patterns within the tape hiss. Using a four-track tape recorder, a microphone and a Casio PT-80 (owned since I was three years old), I began to enter my own sounds directly onto the tapes, into the mechanism of retrieval. Before long I could not remember which were my sounds and which belonged to the original tapes. Organising memories of the tapes using diagrams on paper, adding occasional radio overheard broadcasts, I recorded these findings as a composition directly onto the computer with minimal editing.

The resulting album is an archive of sounds that should have been lost. It is also a homage to my surprisingly effective ability to forget. While I can be held responsible for certain duties of arrangement, no blame or credit can be attributed to me for the sounds within. Those that I did not make will hopefully be reclaimed by their creators, just as an author might notice an idea he once had in the sentence of another. Those sounds that I did create, I have long given up hope of remembering.”


Related info

Cdr, 100 copies, 7e

Recorded and mixed by Preslav Literary School
Artwork by Cara Bell Jones
Released under Creative Commons license BY.NC.SA 2009


graphic design by Soyouz design, programming by Patrick Joubert.