Glass Cassette night drive yields unexpected results
Jonathan Hape is one of the most prolific musicians in the Columbus scene, probably the Midwest. Yet, still few know who he is.
I could bother to list his projects here, but I won’t. My mind is still spinning from the experience I just had listening to his newest release—a downtempo inspired instrumental compilation under the moniker Glass Cassette.
First things first—what exactly is this project? In his own words, “The instrumentation of the songs are entirely based around samples and loops from my 2001 high school choir concert cassette, a warbled VHS of local news, French 101 assessments, field recordings from over the years, vocoders, and bass guitar. The beats were created from samples of office supplies, tools, and other found objects.”
The first couple of times I listened through the album, my thought was “well, this is a pleasant electronic release that reminds me of the early days of this blog.” Sidenote: within the first couple of years of Tuned Up, I became aware of the worlds of ambient/experimental electronic, downtempo, and dreampop, and I found the whole thing intoxicating.
I still struggled with how to write about this album, so last night I decided to go for a drive at night, put the album on, and see where it took me.
My expectations were that it would be a pleasant, warm night drive with Glass Cassette’s expositions accenting the scenery and city lights. What actually happened was a whole bunch of other emotions bubbled up during the drive that weren’t there at the start. A whole myriad of unresolved negative emotions bubbled up—primarily rooted in irritation.
This might seem like a negative thing, but I noticed something profound. As my mood shifted, I noticed different parts of the music. Yet even as my mood shifted—I noticed I never deviated too much from a certain “happy medium.” I wasn’t really that happy, but a sense of calm kept me from getting too carried away. On the other hand, senses of conflict and the complexity of the songs themselves allowed me space to acknowledge what I was feeling. It was a weird nostalgic space for mindfulness. I spent much of the drive zoned out in my head rather than taking in the ambiance. The whimsical titles served as moments in time to break me out of my daze and appreciate the music for what it is. I just love that there’s a song on here titled “Fruit by the Foot” and another called “Sounds Like Bugs Bunny.”
After I returned home, I actually felt less at peace than I did before. Yet, I know I initially found a lot of calm when I listened to these tracks. There’s a metaphor there, I think. Especially when you consider how this album came to be. Mundane objects can serve us creatively or in a dull office environment. Childhood memories can be a source of great joy or conflict—often at the same time! Hape seemed to desire to acknowledge these truths while indulging in his inner experimental music geekhood.