As the digital clutter in our lives builds momentum, filling our world with everything and nothing in equal measure, it’s somewhat reassuring to find people who are intent on bringing some tactility back to our media consumption.
Enter stage left some smart Belgian folk, beyond.io, with a charming rethinking of the humble and much loved cassette.
Born out of a desire to bring back the intimacy and inherently ‘slow’ nature of music sharing that has somehow got lost in our detached Playlist centric lifestyles, the team has developed X-II (bizarrely pronounced ‘12’), a tangible square that can be touched against a mobile device to add tracks before being passed on to another user.
Each temporary owner can only add one track, but has the ability to track the evolving Mixtape across the globe as more users add content, with the device only ever containing a maximum of 12 songs. Originally cobbled together as a basic prototype way back in 2012, the concept has now evolved in to a full-fledged iPhone app..
The chain letter approach, although not entirely new, brings a unique level of physicality to music sharing and discovery – creating a highly personal experience. The only downside comes when your cherished track is unceremoniously bumped from the playlist.