Yeah, yeah, I get it. There’s something retro-romantic about making mix tapes. Hell, I must have made HUNDREDS in my life, carefully selling a running order to fill up as much tape on each side as possible. And yes, I make lots of mix tapes for women for whom I had a fancy.
That was then. This is now. We’ve moved on. As I’ve said many times before, there is no reason for the cassette to survive. It should be pulled from life support and declared DNA. In fact, I’m all for smothering the patient with a pillow.
Cassettes were (are) crappy sounding music storage systems. They degrade, they jam, they melt in the sun. And how many people have a working cassette deck? The last factory-available in-dash cassette player in cars disappeared with a final Lexus model about five years ago.
And please don’t start comparing cassettes to vinyl. At least vinyl sounds better. The cassette audio always, always sucked. So why–WHY?–are people so nostalgic for such an inferior music storage medium?
Yet I keep running across articles like this from The 405.
Burger Records is just one of hundreds of tape labels in operation (see, OSR Tapes; Spooky Town; Hooker Vision; Night People; Gnar Tapes, just for a taste). What they all have in common is an unwavering aspiration to capture the essence of underground music, and share it with others. This can range anywhere from bedroom and noise music, to metal, punk and hip-hop. Some focus on albums, others on live recordings or works-in-progress. The aim is simply to operate in opposition to the capitalistic aims of maximizing profit.
One idea that tests this theory is the emergence of Record Store Day and Cassette Store Day. Revealing that from around 2007 these formats have successfully become revitalised and ‘back in use’, the need to illustrate this through selling product seems a tad ironic. Sure, CSD reiterates to music lovers that cassette culture is still alive and kicking, and independent stores are joining arms to rejoice. But wherever there is a beating heart the masses are sure to follow. CSD has proved that more high-profile bands are taking a newfound interest to tapes. Various labels now issue limited edition tapes; the likes of Flaming Lips, Animal Collective, and Haim, just to name a few. Bands that even in the semi-mainstream realm have approached the craft a little off-centre.
Ugh. Make it stop.