HARDHOUND

Cassettes

Author: Colin | Published: 5/8/12

cassettes

cassettes

cassettes

cassettes

cassettes

cassettes

cassettes

cassettes

cassettes

cassettes

cassettes

cassettes

cassettes

Artist 1-5: various; 6-7: various; 8-10: Joy Division; 11-13: U2
Title 1-5: Drum & Bass Selection 1; 6-7: personal compilation; 8-10: Closer, Unknown Pleasures; 11-13: Bootleg
Label 1-5: Breakdown Records; 6-7: n/a; 8-10: n/a; 11-13: n/a
Year 1980s-90s
Design 1-5: no credit; 6-7: n/a; 8-10: Colin Buttimer; 11-13: Colin Buttimer
Music 1-5: Jungle; 6-7: Reggae; 8-10: Joy Division; 11-13: Rock
Notes Drum & Bass Selection 1 straight outta Romford was one of the first (of many) Jungle compilations I bought. It’s still my favourite alongside Kodo Eshun’s Routes From The Jungle for Virgin. The former still strikes me as the most pleasingly hardcore, nailing that harsh sound before Two Step and Drum’n'Bass took centre stage. This compilation collects a host of classics, almost all from ’93. A few years ago I ended up buying a copy on CD.

Next up’s a compilation from a friend of mostly reggae, Dom’s style wasn’t to make great efforts in the presentation department. The ‘a’ side was a fine compilation, the ‘b’ side meandered a bit. Sorry Dom, just saying.

That third cassette came with me to life on a kibbutz in Israel after I left school. I used to listen to it on my first Walkman, an Awai not much bigger than a cassette box itself. It wasn’t reliable though and died a death before I reached Munich where I saved up my pay from a hotel porter job and bought a top end Sony Walkman, the classic black metal design:

Now that’s what I call industrial design. I still have it though it doesn’t work any more. The cassette has the two classic Joy Division albums on it. I used to listen to them endlessly, in particular stepping outside the wire fence of the kibbutz on the edge of the Judean desert by the Dead Sea, smoking and looking at the stars. Home taping really does kill music – I still don’t own these albums – however, I’ve bought numerous other albums, singles and who knows what by Joy Division and New Order… The cover? I used to cut pictures out of magazines that I thought fit the music of the tape I was making.

And at some point in my twenties I started getting more imaginative with my cassette covers. I regularly taped things for friends, in particular Robin who used to single along to them in his darkroom in the basement of the house in Homerton. For him I made standalone sculptures made from detritus, broken and collaged cassette boxes. They sat on a shelf and released their cassettes only reluctantly. For this bootleg of U2′s Zooropa tour recorded from the radio I applied liberal amounts of masking tape. For Jungle tapes recorded in the early ’90s straight from pirate stations complete with lengthy MC chatter, I applied shiny black electrical tape. They looked rather fine.


Comments

  1. Those are great. They trigger a lot of wonderful memories. Presenting that one that is all taped up in this context…it just looks beautiful (like a collage). It is tells a great story as do all of the others.

    Comment by Hans — August 5, 2012 @ 1:28 pm
  2. Thanks Hans!

    Comment by Colin — August 5, 2012 @ 10:44 pm
  3. Masking TAPE! I just got it. Very good.

    You can almost see the love emanating from that Joy Division compilation, which means that this post has left me feeling warm.

    Thanks!

    Comment by ninetyeightytwo — November 18, 2012 @ 2:27 pm
  4. A pleasure!

    Comment by Colin — November 25, 2012 @ 7:23 pm
  5. Great post, Colin! It brings loads of memories back. I particularly loved the masking-taped one! It looks like some Throbbing Gristle or Cabaret Voltaire lost tape or so. Back in the 80s, mixtaping was one of my fave pastimes.

    I still keep some of those old tapes though I never play them any more. I like their handwritten/xerocopied “artwork”. Your comments have reminded me of that Flying Saucer Attack’s message printed on one of their records:

    “Home taping is reinventing music.”

    I was wondering why your feelings about it are quite the opposite: “Home taping really does kill music”. Cool Walkman, by the way.

    Comment by Jakob von Gunten — December 9, 2012 @ 2:57 pm
  6. Hello Jakob, glad you liked the post. I was only being ironic in a straight-faced sort of way. I don’t think copying is or ever has impacted on the music industry. Falling revenues now are surely a reflection of many other factors including over-abundance, new entertainment media and paradigms, etc, etc.

    Comment by Colin — December 14, 2012 @ 3:32 pm
  7. Thanks for replying, Colin. Agree on that. It’s curious though how vinyl records have come back into fashion after decades and now almost nobody wants to buy CDs any more. I don’t know if record labels are making much profit nowadays and how much of that is really going to the bands themselves, or if it’s just feeding the music industry and the consumer’s society, but there’s certainly been a change of paradigm as formats are concerned. Hopefully, all this rage isnĀ“t only another brick in the wall of capitalism. Do you think cassettes will ever be popular, or will they remain as an underground format?

    Comment by Jakob von Gunten — December 20, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

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