caoimhín breathnach: The Golden Cassette


"The message, instructions for how to enjoy the message, and all the medicine you need to cope with the side effects of both, are all here. This is the music of everything, which is always arranged but never complete."

-- from Timothy Morton's liner notes for The Golden Cassette

Irish outsider artist Caoimhín Breathnach (1934-2009) lived as a recluse in Knockvicar, Co. Roscommon. Breathnach’s artistic practice focussed on the creation of “subliminal” tapes & films, which he believed possessed the capacity to heal & shift consciousness. (Read about his film AN GLÉACHT, commissioned by Colm McAuliffe for Cork Film Festival here.) 

Breathnach was deeply moved by the Golden Records included on the Voyager spacecraft in 1977. He became obsessed with sending “blooms of healing sonics” into the universe, and began work on his own Golden Cassette. Because Breathnach subjected his tapes to a wide variety of physical processes - burying, burning or encasing them in moss, submerging them in water from various holy wells - most of the recordings were destroyed. 

This cassette brings together the surviving recordings Breathnach planned to include on the Golden Cassette, offering a unique view into Irish outsider electronic music. The release includes liner notes by the philosopher Timothy Morton

The cassette was commissioned by the Galway Arts Centre and is currently on display there as part of the Galway International Arts Festival. The cassette comes in a limited edition of 50 copies. To purchase, please e-mail caoimhinaisteach [at] gmail [dot] com.

“…one of the strangest and most tape-specific releases you are likely to hear this month, if not this year. Caked in hiss, trembling with wow and flutter, punctuated by the click-clunk of chunky buttons being pressed, it is almost impossible to image The Golden Cassette appearing on any other format…with results that manage to be simultaneously disturbingly atmospheric and quite ridiculous. Musty, minimalist and macabre.”

Robert Barry, The Wire Magazine