Hello guys, I’m the sound engineer that tried to layer up the cassettes we have available.
Since that night I’ve been bashing my head on what to do or where to go from there. Working on the B-sides I had a strong feeling they were really almost the same thing with not many differences… they just sounded… different. which is something that I blamed on the bad recordings we got, the shitty quality these cassette players the mods got, the god-awful cassette players they played them on, their inability to provide us a crystal clear source audio, etc etc.
And I felt like this was everybody’s sentiment: "the mods have no experience in audio and they provided us with the worst of the worst of the audio files. if only we had the originals… "
One clue that really got my brain started is the StuartGT files. his tape looked like it was the most important one (more on this later) but also the one with the most fucked up audio digitalisation.
When I’ve opened his file for the first time and noticed it was a FLAC I thought “oh finally! somebody able to provide us some decent quality audio”, and when I started it up… THE HORROR ON MY FACE. it was the most hideous recording we’ve ever got. The Side-A wasn’t even there, it was all noise, you could barely recognise the robot voice at the beginning, while the Side-B left channel was completely distorted.
And this got me upset, because his tape was unique: it was the first tape and that must mean something, and it’s longer than the others since it has another “noise song” after the first one that’s shared with all the other cassettes, and it still has what I recognised being the Atlas Sound closing it. So I was really pissed and I actually muted the distorted channel and barely worked on that at all, because my audio-nerd attitude brought me to discard something this bad that couldn’t be worked on.
Then, something Emily said on the OrbitTV interview sparked my brain. They were talking about echoes, how an echo is a sound getting repeated and copied over itself a lot of times, what the Korvax Echoes are and how they got the same issue, and how the cassettes were already old by themselves… so!
I fired up my DAW and looked again at the StuartGT file, and I confirmed his rig had nothing to do with the noise! when you start his file you can hear the noise a broken cable, or a cable that’s not been fit properly makes, while at the end of the tape that sound is not there, so this indicates me the audio cable was fine and the noise we hear is much probably been recorded onto the tape. Also, something that really bugged me was how can anybody do such a bad job and not double check it… I mean you got something this unique and you don’t doublecheck the file you produced was actually the same you’ve been listening to? Also I looked for the original thread and he confirms there’s nothing wrong with his deck, it’s the cassette that’s fucked.
All the informations I’ve presented you are nothing new but, by putting them together, they bring us to two very important points that we need to include in our tapes-discussion for good:
- the digital files from the tapes are fine
- the tapes are NOT supposed to be overlaid.
What we’re hearing is the same recording, the same signal or the same message degrading over time once it gets copied on a new tape, and then that tape gets copied on another tape and so on for 16 times. This process brought errors with it (audio cables detached, channels missing, audio degraded, background noise, etc.) and that is what we all heard on the files.
Now, question time:
- Why is this so?
- Which one is the original tape (granted we received it yet)?
- Why did the tapes got so degraded and with this amount of copy errors?
- Why the fact they degrade should be important to us?
- What is the audio from the tapes representing? (it’s clear now the tapes are not just random noises to hide a way to convey us the “portal” word)
- Is the order number of the tape relevant to its contain?
- What is that we can do to crack this mystery now?
What do you guys think? I’d like you all to stick with me and brainstorm in the comments, I really think the tapes are bigger than we think.