The402 is the cyberpunk-industrial farewell of the album just before AI destroys it all

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Wertstahl (known for their works with Tyske Ludder) return with – and we quote Sebastian Hartmann – “the farewell of the album just before AI destroys it all”.

In short they programmed a cyberpunk-industrial loop-player, The402, that runs on all the devices. Released just in time before the next war, the software has been 13 years in production. The software is free, with no sign-up and no pitfalls at this website.

Founded in 2001 in Barmbek, Hamburg, Wertstahl is a German electro-industrial band, originally comprised of Sebastian I. Hartmann (producer, vocals), L. F. Hartmann (2006 – 2007), A. Kaiser (2006 – 2010), deDokter (2008 – 2013), gaU (2007 – 2009) and Renke “kNort” Bahlmann (engineer). Sebastian I. Hartmann relocated to Bavaria in 2009.

The genesis of the The402 software

In 2006, deDokter (S. Sippel) and ws (S.l. Hartmann) were working on the songs for Wertstahl’s 2009-released electro-industrial album “kontrol”. It was a time when the now dead Adobe Flash was a source of not only general disapproval but also lots of fun, in the form of a flood of games and looped content. Since ws got an Amiga in 1988, he was, as a musician already very deeply invested in the concept of looping audio. Working in FL Studio from 2003, making loop-segments and later unfolding them into a full track, was standard practice for the duo.

One day the duo decided to make a series of loops no longer than 10 seconds, via email in a ping-pong-communication fashion: one does a loop, the other reacts and replies to it with an even more interesting loop. They decided to discard the project files so that all results were final.

Sebastian Hartmann: “As we had reached the 100 loops mark, it was obvious for us to do 100 more. Just to have 200 loops. And after we had 200 loops we liked the result very much but had no exact solution how to deal with them. Bury them on just another old-fashioned linear album? We chose to avoid problem thinking and instead went to do what every sane person would do: make 200 more! So, we started in 2008 and suddenly, 11 years later, we had 402 loops, which is because of a slight miscalculaton due to us going through the numbers backwards, but still no solution in sight for an idea that came up while we were in the process of creating them.”

An endless, random album of building blocks (loops)

The idea the duo had was have an endless, random album of building blocks (loops) that will each be played for a random amount of time with limited user interaction.

Sebastian: “The effect of this is, that there is no dynamic arc that anyone could get used to. There will be no imprint of the listener onto the music, since the story is always a bit different. Therefore, this player could be either very meditative or feel like you have been visiting a funfair, with all of it’s chaotic impressions. Test showed, an excellent usecase is listening to it while doing (outdoor) sports.”

With the help of Rego Sen, The402 is now a loop-player that runs on virtually every device that has a javascript-capable browser installed.

In case you like one or more loops so much, you would want to use it in your social media video or even as part of your song, you can download them. The terms are simple, send the duo a mail at to get written permission of usage. There will be no fees from their side for non-commercial use. Sebastian adds: “We only need to make sure that third parties won’t monetize our work. No mail: no permission of re-use.”

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