This little device, called the HC-TT, is a “human controlled tape transport.” It plays standard tape cassettes with no motor, no automation. The only power is a turn of that large knob. The knob moves backward and forward, allowing for gestural effects, as demoed in this Instagram from the account of the manufacturer, the Brooklyn-based Landscape:
In this next example, it’s paired with a looping machine, the Elektron Octatrack:
There’s a large set of audio examples at Landscape’s SoundCloud account, drawing from flamenco, hip-hop, business self-help, and other sound sources:
The tape cassette has proved to be a useful tool for musicians in recent years to inexpensively release physical documents of their recordings. It’s also prevalent as an instrument, for such things as old-school tape echo and looping, thanks to both reclaimed reel-to-reel systems and cassettes. The HC-TT brings a modern, gadget-maker ingenuity to the medium.
More on the HC-TT at hc-tt.com. It ships with a power supply and “one randomly selected old cassette tape.”