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OTHER THINGS IN THE WORLD THAN MUSIC => Everything and Nothing => Topic started by: einstein36 on February 04, 2011, 08:34:44 PM

Title: Cassette tapes..
Post by: einstein36 on February 04, 2011, 08:34:44 PM
Man oh man....what one finds in one's collection of old cassette tapes...I just find if anyone remembers from the Hearts of Space Label, Ken Stover(which btw is he still around) His Sir Dancelot's Dream...and I found an old Nightingale album from the Higher Octave music label....
man..I actually had to go find me a stinking tape player and some batteries to listen to this great music...hahahaha
one might want to dig around in your collection and see what you might find:)

Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: jkn on February 05, 2011, 11:32:29 AM
I have 4 boxes (kind of like bankers boxes but long and not very tall) of cassettes.   Don't think I have any ambient related tapes - but tons of 80's stuff.   I really should prune that down to just one box...   

:-)
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: einstein36 on February 05, 2011, 11:51:04 AM
LOl...nah....who knows...maybe somewhere in our collection there's a cassette tape probably worth thousands of dollars someone wants:).....
I definitely going to have go through mine and see if I can convert them to mp3 format so I can play them in my car:)
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: sraymar on February 05, 2011, 01:56:14 PM
I still have a wooden cassette rack on my wall that holds 100 cassettes plus about six long plastic cases full of them. I've got alot of old Musical Starstreams programs from the early 90s, Franke, Arkenstone, Mars Lasar, Davol, and more.  My car has a cassette player but the one near my PC went belly up. I'll have to get another one someday while they still make them. I believe you can get a cassette player that fits in your PC for mp3 transfer convenience.
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: hdibrell on February 05, 2011, 04:50:31 PM
I stil have a bunch of cassettes all over the place. I also have a bunch of partial Musical Starstreams programs. I would start the program and then go to bed while recording the next 45 minutes. I would later listen to what I had missed. It's kind of fun to pull one out every once in awhile and relive the late '80's. I also have a bunch of my recordings on 4-tracks from my old Fostex 4-track.
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: ffcal on February 05, 2011, 05:12:11 PM
Back in the days of the walkman, it was fun putting together custom mix tapes for friends and for myself.  It was also an easy way in the pre-internet days to communicate with other like-minded musicians with their funky bedroom (Porta-)studios.  I remember responding to a "chain" letter cassette tape--you would send your music to the musician at the bottom of the list and forward the letter to several other musicians that you knew.  I sent a cassette copy of my Some Brighter Stars LP to Mykel Board, the person at the bottom of my chain letter.  He ended up reviewing it in a column for OP, which was unexpected and kind of cool.

Forrest
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: einstein36 on February 05, 2011, 06:02:20 PM
Man..isn't this kind of cool remembering the good old days of when things were much simpler and we had fun listening to music...:)

Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: judd stephens on February 05, 2011, 11:22:02 PM
What was weird for me was I never purchased music until I started getting into new age and ambient, around 1990.  That year my first cassette was the Hearts of Space "Universe" sampler, from the same year.  From there my curiousity of those artists led me to Robert Rich's Rainforest and Roach and Rich's Strata.  The sounds and the genre were still so young back then, listening to those tapes were pure magic.  Later I remember playing a lot of Mickey Hart's At the Edge cassette, a nice mysterious mix of tribal & ambient influences. 

Some other tapes I remember owning was Urban Dance Squad's Mental Floss for the Globe.  My cousin had turned me on to the whole alternative and punk scene by then, and UDS was something of a groundbreaking band, I guess, as they were an early "rock-rap" fusion.  I remember playing that on the ride while heading to Cincinnati with some of my friends to a Windham hill concert featuring Nightnoise  ;D  Some of them understood it.  Another great cassette memory was just after highschool graduation.  My parents bought me a train ticket to California to visit my relatives that summer.  During the trip I had a cassette with one side a copy of Pearl Jam's "Ten", the other a copy of Nirvana's "Nevermind".  This was the summer of '92, mind you.... I wore that tape out.  'Twere the days.
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: judd stephens on February 05, 2011, 11:24:56 PM
I stil have a bunch of cassettes all over the place. I also have a bunch of partial Musical Starstreams programs. I would start the program and then go to bed while recording the next 45 minutes. I would later listen to what I had missed. It's kind of fun to pull one out every once in awhile and relive the late '80's. I also have a bunch of my recordings on 4-tracks from my old Fostex 4-track.

That reminds me of me.  I did the same thing, with Echoes and a local spacemusic show on public radio called Soundscapes.  (Nerd Alert)- I even wrote playlists... :P presumably to investigate their music at a later date, no doubt.
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: LNerell on February 07, 2011, 10:57:35 AM
I probably have thousands of cassettes going back to the 1960s. :o  The cassette kind of became my gateway to audio recording, when I was a kid I use to have a little portable mono recorder and I would record everything I could think of. I still have probably the first field recording I ever made, of a cheesy marimba group in Guatamala in 1972. I use to love to make mix tapes, for driving around LA or for longer road trips. I never bought many albums on cassette, I would usually buy an LP or CD, then tape it for use in the car. But yeah, cassettes where great fun, I'm glad I got to enjoy them in their hay day.
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: Bill Binkelman on February 07, 2011, 01:30:52 PM
I have a number of genre-related cassettes, including a few HOS shows from back in the late 80s. Also, relatively rare stuff like The Way Home (Braheny), Lagoon (Nik Tyndall), Western Spaces (Burmer, Roach, Braheny), and a few more. I have a boombox if I feel like playing them. Ever since my falling out with S Hill (in 2000/2001), I haven't been able to muster up the nerve to listen to any of the old HOS tapes, though...just the sound of his voice and I feel creeped out. (Don't ask...). Anyway, I used to love scouring Cheapo (both Uptown and Snelling Ave.) for cassettes before I got my first CD player. My car only has a CD player, so it's the boombox or nothing. I have an old Technics dual well deck for my system, but the heads would need to be professionally cleaned and recalibrated, I'm betting.
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: Scott Raymond on February 07, 2011, 04:31:33 PM
  In the early days, the only way an independent musician could get his music out there was to release it on cassette. I had a whole bunch of them from the late 80's into the mid 90's. A lot of these have never been reissued on CD. Loren Nerell's excellent Book of Alchemy and Point of Arrival albums, for example. Mine are now in the hands of Darren Bergstein, in the hope that one day they will get transferred to MP3. Though with his schedule, it's not likely that'll happen anytime soon.

  I also had lots of listeners that would tape the show every Sunday. A few years back one of them sent me a box of tapes of old shows that were 10-15 years old. It was weird to hear my voice like that. I dumped those for reasons of space a while back.

Scott Raymond
WVKR-FM
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: mgriffin on February 07, 2011, 04:34:03 PM
I certainly listened to my share of music on cassettes (though more often mix tapes of my own making than store-bought ones). Still, it's a format I look back on without any nostalgia at all. Tape hiss, lack of direct access... sorry, cassettes suck.
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: einstein36 on February 07, 2011, 05:03:50 PM
Yeah..I definitely agree...but makes me wonder some of those lost gems of music albusm would or will we ever see them put on CD's or not or some other future media???
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: mgriffin on February 07, 2011, 05:07:02 PM
I definitely had plenty of vinyl that I was eager to find on CD, but I don't recall many cassettes that I held onto for lacking a CD equivalent. I think "The Name of This Band is the Talking Heads" might have been the last one.
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: hdibrell on February 07, 2011, 05:24:55 PM
I don't feel any particular fondness for the cassette in and of itself, but it does take me back to a time. You could record albums , mixes or radio shows on them and take them with you. Suddenly your music was portable.
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: Wayne Higgins on February 08, 2011, 10:48:49 AM
All my cassettes are collecting dust.  Why don't I get rid of them?  Lots of Bil Nelson, The Residents, and some really rare Negativeland tapes.
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: Joe R on February 08, 2011, 03:17:53 PM
I gladly got rid of all my cassettes years ago. I gave away the ones I could, and shit-canned the rest. I don't look back on them fondly at all--  tapes being eaten, bad sound, and that little felt pad behind the tape falling off. Grrrrr...    I thought Columbia records made the worst ones of all.

And now, to my chagrin, I see they're making a comeback among some of these small-time ambient music operations. WHY?! Maybe we should bring the 8-track back too.
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: Joe R on February 08, 2011, 03:22:36 PM
Mike-  I was really happy when "The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads" was finally released on CD.
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: einstein36 on February 08, 2011, 06:45:33 PM
but like Wayne has said...what about all of those old rare classics the studios are never going to re-release on cd or any other time for that matter in the future...
shoot..I say, put them up for sale at $500 a piece:)

Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: Joe R on February 08, 2011, 08:01:27 PM
Yep, if you're lucky enough to have one of those obsolete classics, I'd say put 'em on ebay.  I would've done that too, but I didn't have anything that might be a collector's item.
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: ffcal on February 08, 2011, 08:19:12 PM
I first heard Robert Rich's music in the mid-80s, when his Trances and Drones cassettes (they were originally released separately) were played on Stephen Hill's Hearts of Space program when it was a local radio show.  I still have the cassette version (c-90) of Inner Landscapes, which has a sequenced intro that was not included in the later CD reissue on Hypnos.  Robert later decided not to include the intro when it was reissued, but I still like it!

Forrest
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: Paul Vnuk (Ma Ja Le) on February 08, 2011, 09:04:18 PM
Cassettes, nasty nasty little things...the MP3's of their time, only the fact that they were physical was cool...but not that cool.

Although if it were not for cassettes, the Grateful Dead would have never thrived and I would not now have 1641 shows by them  ::)
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: LNerell on February 08, 2011, 11:38:47 PM
Loren Nerell's excellent Book of Alchemy and Point of Arrival albums, for example. Mine are now in the hands of Darren Bergstein, in the hope that one day they will get transferred to MP3. Though with his schedule, it's not likely that'll happen anytime soon.

Scott, all you had to do was ask. Check your pm. I tried forever to get someone interested in releasing those two albums on CD, never could find anyone really wanting to do it. The funny thing, they might finally see the light of day, on vinyl of all things, I'm talking with a label about it right now. I originally wanted to release POA on vinyl, but didn't have the cash to do it at the time. 

All those points of the bad side of cassettes are pretty much spot on, I don't have a fondness for any of that, that was one reason why I never bought too many albums on cassette, preferring vinyl or CD instead. But I did enjoy using them creatively for my own enjoyment..
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: zzzone.net on February 10, 2011, 04:36:01 AM
I still have boxes of cassette tapes.  In my heart I suspect that some of them are still wet with water from Hurricane Katrina.  Cassettes are like that for me.  Not only do they contain low-fidelity music and sounds from the past, but they also contain surprises like tape breaking, hiss, and getting tangled up in the playback device.

When I was a DJ, I made mixes for myself, friends and potential gigs.  Boomboxes were an essential accessory.

When I was very young, one of the first pieces of tech I had was a cassette recorder/player which I hauled around and whispered into.  I also recorded sounds off of shortwave radio including the now infamous numbers stations.

Unfortunately due to the fragility of the medium, most if not all of any tapes that I made are now broken or unplayable for other reasons.

Does everyone remember the skull and crossbones that were on tapes, "Home Taping Is Killing Music" or something like that?  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_Taping_Is_Killing_Music

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/bc/Home_taping_is_killing_music.png)

I'm like, Mike.  I have no fondness for this transient medium.  It was good for the 80's and early 90's but it's time has gone.  I don't even have a functioning playback device (but I do have a nonfunctioning, double, fairly high-end cassette stereo component that needs to be dumped, I guess).

I do NOT understand why there is a resurgence unless the artists involved believe there is some sort of chic nostalgia to cassettes.  Perhaps these artists are young folks who don't recall the hiss, breakage, and lack of direct access.

Addendum:  I just noticed that you can get Eno's "Taking Tiger Mountain" on cassette on Amazon.com for a mere 18.95 used.  http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B003TZ2JSO/ref=tmm_acs_used_olp_0?ie=UTF8&condition=used
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: hdibrell on February 10, 2011, 02:22:10 PM

Does everyone remember the skull and crossbones that were on tapes, "Home Taping Is Killing Music" or something like that?  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_Taping_Is_Killing_Music

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/bc/Home_taping_is_killing_music.png)


I do NOT understand why there is a resurgence unless the artists involved believe there is some sort of chic nostalgia to cassettes.  Perhaps these artists are young folks who don't recall the hiss, breakage, and lack of direct access.

I remember those labels. I never bought any prerecorded tapes, though.  I also don't understand wanting to go back to that medium. I don't believe I'll be buying any new cassete releases. Now, 8-tracks, that's something I can get excited about.  ::)
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: mgriffin on February 10, 2011, 02:29:33 PM
The funny thing is, the few years when those stickers were circulating were the financial high point in the history of the music industry .
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: petekelly on February 10, 2011, 02:48:12 PM
Cassettes were dead handy but that's the best you can say about them. To think that here were 'audiophile' Nakamichi cassette decks and metal tapes and all manner of esoteric Noise Reduction systems for such a sonically awful medium.

Apart from the 'arty' element, I can't see the point of a cassette release. I'm sure there are hiss and wow / flutter plugins that can be put onto a soundfile to emulate the 'sound' of tape, why not go the whole hog and go for a 32kbps mp3 release as well ? :)
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: cromag on February 10, 2011, 08:46:07 PM
I still have a couple big boxes of cassettes ... and I even pick up a few now and then at various thrift stores.

When I was doing my own home taping (which I don't believe is, or ever was, illegal) I used metal Type IV cassettes.  I was pretty happy with the way they sounded.
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: ffcal on February 11, 2011, 12:58:50 AM
To think that here were 'audiophile' Nakamichi cassette decks and metal tapes and all manner of esoteric Noise Reduction systems for such a sonically awful medium.

Don't knock it until you've tried it!;)  I bought a Nakamichi cassette deck in the early 90s when I tried to pare my record and CD collection down in preparing for leaner times as a starving artist.  It really did sound a lot better than my CD player at the time.  Last time I checked the deck (last year, when doing some tricky archiving of some ancient minimalist radio broadcasts to CDR), it worked just fine.  Tapes were a good medium for trading or archiving boots of decently recorded live shows.

It's not my preferred medium now, but the lowly cassette deck contributed a lot to my music education.

Forrest
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: petekelly on February 11, 2011, 02:33:58 AM
Forrest, I should add that at the time I was very into cassettes, but I wouldn't want to go 'back there', so to speak.

I sought out the best chrome and metal tapes I could get and I've still got a big box of them from my 4 track days TDK SA-X, Thats metal etc.). I bought a Bang and Olufsen Beocentre from a carboot sale recently to listen back to them, but most have stretched. I seem to remember the commercial album cassette releases were pretty shoddy construction-wise, my copy of Thomas Dolby's 'A Flat Earth' has certainly seen better days ! 
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: Joe R on February 11, 2011, 04:46:34 AM
I seem to remember the commercial album cassette releases were pretty shoddy construction-wise, my copy of Thomas Dolby's 'A Flat Earth' has certainly seen better days !

You remember right, they were awful! Columbia Records cassettes were the worst in my opinion, but they were all bad...
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: Seren on February 11, 2011, 05:41:01 AM
Recently bought a DVD/HDD recorder for TV.

Tried copying some old VHS tapes to DVD and the quality difference between them and the current TV transmissions is amazing...It's only that these nature programmes are not available on DVD that makes me want to try it.

...and waiting for the tape to FFW was interminable.....
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: ffcal on February 11, 2011, 08:46:45 AM
Some of the most interesting non-Western music I heard in the early 90s came from cassettes made in Indonesia, Africa and China.  Downhome Music (home of Arhoolie records) had a nice stock of them.  In the late 80s, I used to find unusual cassettes of Chinese Buddhist music in San Francisco's Chinatown mixed in with cassettes of what was undoubtedly awful Westernized stuff.  Probably the wierdest cassette I found during that time was a cassette of westernized Chinese folk music called "Disco Chinese Folk."  Good to hear maybe once.

Forrest
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: LNerell on February 13, 2011, 10:41:26 AM
I have to agree with Forest here on a couple of his posts. We have Nakamichi decks at work and they are pretty good. The only thing better we have is a $3000 (in 1980s money) Studer cassette deck we have, which just sounds amazing. I usually use this deck to transfer stuff from cassette to digital.

And as Forest  pointed out, lots of third world countries still release music on cassette only. When I was in Bali doing my fieldwork for my thesis, I bought hundreds of cassette recordings of gamelan music, stuff you could only find and get on cassette locally. Sure the sound quality usually sucked, but it was the only way to get it. Some of my favorite gamelan music are on those cassettes.
Title: Re: Cassette tapes..
Post by: SunDummy on February 13, 2011, 04:04:28 PM
Anyone have any interest in a bunch of misc. noise/ambient/odd 80's-90's tapes?  My brother has a box full of NWW, Cock ESP, MSR Tapes, Rising From the Red Sands, etc. cassettes he's gonna either pitch or give away.  If anyone's interested, I can get a detailed list.