Beer is a wonderful thing. After an afternoon pondering why a straight from eBay, bottom of the range, Nakamichi DR-3 cassette deck sounded better than an overhauled and fully calibrated top of the range Bang & Olufsen 8002, I decided that the answer would only be found in the bottom of a bottle and, at some point during the beer deep dive, I somehow managed to order this “Dreams of A Delinquent King” cassette box set by Riaan Vosloo and completely forget that I had done so. It is indeed fortunate that I like surprises.
In the box were two cassettes, a – mint? – tin containing a USB stick and a bit of paper printed with the credits. Since I don’t do digital, the USB stick was put back in the tin and the two shiny black cassettes were inserted into the Nakamichi – not at the same time, obviously - so that I might determine what sorcery had caused me to purchase it.
Riaan Vosloo plays the double bass for a number of jazz bands, yet this double cassette of extended musical extemporisations was less about his proficiency with his chosen instrument and more about the creation of mood. The signs might point at freeform jazz meanderings but there was also a clear sense of purpose leading Mr Vosloo and his collaborators on their journey along the yellow brick road with the addition of synthetically generated soundtrack like cues that echoed – at least in my simple mind – all the way back to Bebe and Louis Barron and Lalo Schifrin. That, perhaps, points towards the secret sauce here. Merging analogue and digital together in such an apparently casual manner sidesteps the potential pitfalls inherent to the possession of arthouse sensibilities whilst maintaining a steady course and speed towards the chosen artistic destination.
So, while “Dreams of A Delinquent King” sounds like it should be background music for beard scratchers, it isn’t really and it is to Riaan Vosloo’s credit that he provided enough nourishment for the ears to keep you listening. Anyway, black cassettes are cool and always will be.
The individual cassettes and the box set are available from Bandcamp.