TAS 1000 Message for Marta

When Braque and Picasso launched the cubism movement at the turn of the last century, they understood that form, broken down and rearranged, has meaning and beauty of its own. Had they been young musicians living in the electronic communications age, they may have produced something like Message for Marta. This project is the brainchild of four young musicians in Vancouver who bought a second-hand answering machine at a thrift store, found an old cassette inside the machine, and realised that the messages on the cassette, through manipulation and repetition, had rhythm and musicality worth exploiting. They called themselves TAS 1000 (the machine's serial number) and rendered the anonymous Marta and her friends their unwitting singers and lyricists. Remarkably, the results are not gimmicky; Message for Marta is a catchy, well-crafted, musically accomplished and often poignant collection. It also contains - maybe accidentally - some profound statements on the nature of communications: Has technology left us fragmented? Are our thoughts condemned to endless misinterpretations and distortions? But that's just over-thinking; it's great fun, and you haven't lived until you've found yourself walking down the street, singing some poor sod's message about how he's "gonna be delayed," or marvelled at the rhyming of "um" with "um." (Independent)