usic scene offering now? Well, to put it bluntly, cassette tapes. Yes, that seemingly decrepit format has weaselled its way into musical consciousness once more,
rearing its apparently ugly head and turning what were crystal clear compositions into fizzy, static puddles of musical mess. However, the tape is now much more than a second-rate recording device,
as a new strain of ethereal and dreamy musicians (no, not My Bloody Valentine) have been working the format for all its worth,
toying with its recording constraints. For some, cassettes were, and still are, simply a vehicle for chart top 40 mixtapes,
80’s albums that hadn’t been digitalised and the only musical device that would work in your parents’ car. It is understandable then,
that when you read that a new drone-comenoise record is only available on a tape, some feelings of cynicism towards the format emerge.
Fortunately, it’s misplaced, as record labels such as Not Not Fun and Gizeh have taken on all the qualms of the tape and turned these problems on their proverbial head,
effectively making the recording format compliment the music. American Label Not Not Fun (NNF) remain optimistic about cassettes as a recording format,
noting that “certain strains of music lend themselves to the warmer, blurrier sound of cassette tape”,
which essentially describes what the label is all about. The decision to record onto tape is apparently “70% aesthetic” and “30% economic”
as – unlike an expensive vinyl press – tapes are perfect for “rawer,
less accessible recordings.” With an ever-increasing back catalogue, which includes the likes of Robedoor,
Pocahaunted and even Thurston Moore, NNF’s harmonising of both the economic and aesthetic makes tapes more than just a ‘kitsch’ fad, but a genuine recording alternative.
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