Yet another unhelpful pitchfork op-ed piece.
Bands release new material on cassette for the same reason they release
material on vinyl, as many have done consistently for well over a decade
now. (Don't call it a comeback.) A tape, like a 45, is something to have on
the merch table: quantifiable, limited, promotional, and a great way to get
a visual message across alongside a musical one. It's impossible to set
release dates for vinyl because pressing plants are backed up for months.
An eager enough band could whip up a batch of good-to-ok sounding tapes to
bring on tour at something resembling a moment's notice, and at reasonable
costs. It might be instructive to add that tapes have a healthy price
mark-up, whereas a band or label will likely do no better than break even
on a 45. (And after 6 months of pressing plant delays.)
I would have a hard time explaining the origin or "cassettes over CD-Rs",
but many bands do release CD-Rs as well as or instead of cassettes. If I
had to guess I would place the origins in Columbus, Ohio-area lo-fi/garage
in the mid-00's, given that sounding really crappy was of no concern to
groups like Times New Viking, Psychedelic Horseshit, the Homostupids,
probably taking cues from their area-forefathers Guided by Voices. (Who
themselves probably adopted lo-fi from the Swell Maps in the UK.) TNV, for
one, 'mastered' their recordings onto VHS tape. Tape is really part of the
aesthetic for a number of bands like this. A cleaned up version of 'Bee
Thousand' doesn't make any sense to my ears.
On Wed, Nov 11, 2015 at 3:18 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> This is a really good point, Frank. I didn't mean a person shouldn't
> obtain, enjoy and dub cassettes with material unavailable on other media.
> Your Vietnamese cassette is a good example. Also the African pop music
> chronicled on this blog:
> Some of this material is not available on other media, as I understand it.
> Plus there are "board tapes" made by bands, and other live recordings
> (legal and not).
> So, to be clear, what I was saying I think is a fool's errand is making a
> NEW cassette recording, for a girl or anyone else. It's silly, because
> there are better ways to do the same thing with modern technology, but it's
> harmless so c'est la vie.
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Franz Kunst" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Wednesday, November 11, 2015 2:37 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] AW: [ARSCLIST] AW: [ARSCLIST] What Your Music
> Format Says About You
> The tone of this discussion is (as usual I'm afraid) skewed towards an
> engineer/audiophile point of view, and from people who lived most of their
> lives with physical formats. Even the original article managed to ignore
> the fact that for collectors and other more assertive music lovers, there
> simply isn't a choice of media for some recordings. Nobody is taken to task
> for collecting acoustic 78s because they're not on CD or iTunes, but, as
> was Francesco's point, there are thousands of cassettes out there that are
> only available on that (admittedly flawed) medium. Just last month I picked
> up a great 1970s Vietnamese tape for 5 cents in Chinatown while shopping
> for a tea kettle. I'd gladly purchase a non-warbly reissue, if it were to
> Now as for producing new recordings, I can hardly speak for the youth but
> it's my impression that both CDs and CD-Rs are about as clunky and unsexy
> to them as cassettes and 8-tracks are to some of us. But we're still only
> talking about a minute percentage of today's music consumption.
> On Wed, Nov 11, 2015 at 11:12 AM, David Breneman <[log in to unmask]>
> Von: "Francesco Martinelli" <[log in to unmask]>
>> > On 11/11/2015 12:20, Tom Fine wrote:
>> >> Very few girls here have cassette players! ;)
>> >> I still don't see why not do a Mix CDR. Many more CD players still out
>> >> there, easier to compile, much easier to duplicate.
>> > And, I repeat, for that very reason so much less relevant.
>> I guess I don't understand your use of the term "relevant". If what
>> you're after is novelty value, I'm sure your sweetheart would really
>> appreciate a cylinder record! :-)
>> I recently bought a barn-find Edison Triumph Model B (circa 1906)
>> along with a recorder and recording horn. It's going to take some
>> work getting it back to the condition to record with it again (I've had an
>> Edison Standard Model B for decades, but the single-spring motor
>> isn't strong enough for recording) but it will be a lot of fun when I
>> can finally make records with it. And yes, you can still buy new blanks.
>> But I'd never put it forth as a viable alternative to my Ampex ATR-800
>> when it comes to capturing high-fidelity sound.
>> And I'm with Tom in that a CDR is simply easier to make, even if you
>> have to digitize the selections first. I'm all for esoteric formats. I
>> still take a lot of pictures with my Stereo Realist on slide film. But
>> I've never been able to get past my impression that the Compact
>> Cassette is first and foremost a convenience and cost driven
>> substitute for the couple-hundred-dollar 7" reel tape decks that
>> were so popular in the 50s, 60s and early 70s. When I finally bought
>> my first cassette deck, a Sankyo, around 1978 (the year after I graduated
>> from high school), for about $180, it sounded *almost* as good as the
>> Realistic TR-88 7" deck I bought from Radio Shack (in the 6th grade)
>> for $129.
>> I finally took the Realistic to the dump because the heads were shot,
>> as were the bearings in the motor. I still have the Sankyo, even though
>> it needs new belts. Maybe in the end it is an emotional thing. That deck
>> provided music for a lot of parties where I wouldn't let friends touch my
>> turntable because we were all too drunk and/or stoned.
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