It’s quirky, easy to use and might be able to do the impossible – bring back the culture of cassette tapes.
The ease of access (not to mention the price) of digital music is doing its best to wipe out physical forms of music from our society. Sure there’s the odd ‘old school’ tool and vinyl has stood the test of time, but for most of us, physical music is largely non existent. And that is where BrainMonk steps in.
The self-professed cassette tape lovers team at Lithuanian audiovisual art organisation BrainMonk, are on a mission to bring back the love (and use) of cassette tapes in today’s world. Meet ELBOW.
The fresh-faced cassette player is clean and slick. It strips away most mechanical parts of a traditional player. In fact, it’s so minimalist that it doesn’t look like a cassette player at all.
The bi-axial arm rotates in two directions. The upwards direction allows the insertion of a cassette, while the sideways motion enables users to alter the playing direction. Unlike the traditional cassette player, Elbow’s bi-axial arm allows both sides of the tape to be played without turning the tape over.
The arm has a dial which controls play, volume and can fast forward the tape at varying speeds. Turning the dial to the left plays the cassette and can also increase volume. Change the direction of the wheel, and you can fast-forward. Complete with a standard headphone jack and mini USB port, Elbow users are able to charge the device and transfer audio from cassette to computer.
Did we mention that the device doubles as an accessory? YES, YOU CAN WEAR IT! A small pin (that pushes into the back lid) enables the device to attach to clothing.
While the future of the product is still largely unknown, the company has recently concluded a public survey in hope of determining their next move. There’s argument that it’s more fashion accessory than music device and that may be so. But it also signals a resurgence of the humble cassette tape, and that’s pretty rad.