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Filed under: Art
Tags: berlin, staalzine episode2, november 2013

Fifty Years of Tape

There is this story of a young man who went to the library, took some tapes home, of whatever content, and used the empty space to fill it with noise. Then he brought the tapes back to the library. No idea if those tapes still exist.

There is also the story of four tapes that went to the Moon and came back again. Their content is a collection of reports by the astronauts. The four tapes are on display in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC. Those are my favourite tapes. - Rinus Van Alebeek

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I had been using cassettes since about 1973 to record and listen to music and that was good since it gave me a freedom from the radio. However when I started recording and distributing my own music on cassettes in 1993 they took on a different meaning to me. They allowed me to connect with like minded audio artists all over the world. It was an incredible and exciting exchange medium. I don't know if I would have come as far as I have as an audio artist without the cassette tape. The photo shows three of the first tapes I received in trade for my own tapes. I'm not quite sure if they are the very first three but 60 Cycle Hum was one of my first contacts and is a good representation. - Dave Fuglewicz

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My first self-released cassette. Composed and recorded between 1980 and 1982. All done (tape manipulation, recording, ‘mastering’...) with two small radio-cassette players. I think I did around thirty-forty copies of this one. - Francisco Lopez

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During the late 1980s - early 1990s, I traded cassettes with artist Dan Fröberg. We filled blank C-90 tapes with favourites from our respective vinyl record collections, and decorated insert and cases. Obscurities and rarities in different genres like psychedelia, musique concrete, avant-garde, 'real people' music, outrageously and whimsically strange, or just plain bizarre. This was before there were music blogs. The picture shows the cassettes I got from Dan during that period. - Anders Östberg

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International Sound Communication Compilation - Volume Number 15 2 x C90 cassette (Man's Hate Productions, U.K.)
The cassette "that changed my life", started my journey into the worldwide music/culture underworld. I am still travelin'...! Released 1987/88 offers an incredible amount of unheard international creations, from soft folk songs to extreme noise attacks, starts with my track!!
.. came with addresses, got in touch, was connected ...! - Lord Litter

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Pinata Party was my first try at mail collaborating in 1986-7. This was a highly autobiographical work that featured my own 3 kids and home tapers Dino DiMuro, Ken Clinger, James Hill, Mark Hanley and others. This became a two cassette tape set and was packaged inside a homemade faux pinata with materials I took from the vegetable dept where I worked - Don Campau

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This is the first cassette-album I did. It was 1981 and we were 15 years old classmates, who just had discovered the opportunity to produce a real “album” by the most minimal means. Our group was baptised “Meadow Meal” (after the song by Faust). Our album “Can’t Murder my Muffins” was a kind of dadaist statement, but complete with cover-artwork, credits, lyrics and even a label: Carrot Tapes. No real overdubbing (just some odd ping-pong), no effect units at all! We were especially proud, that our recordings were in stereo! We sold it for 5 Deutsche Mark (approx. $ 2,50) per copy. The much better known cassette "Eat" from 1987 is a kind of remix-project,using some of the best tracks from this one and two follow-ups. - Guido Erfen

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The tape that made me aware that it was possible to do your own music at home even if it wasn't hardcore punk. Dino DiMuro's 1986 classic "SNOUTBURGER". - Russ Stedman

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Tape: Soundtrack for 1972 film produced by (aged-13) Goff & Bill Magoon (MAGOFF INCORPORATED). Creating soundtrack required Magoon to cue Goff to read each line of Longfellow's "Midnight Ride" poem as it was reenacted onscreen in lo-fi, dadaesque, splendor ("wait…NOW!"). Audience: 8th Grade Classroom, dumbstruck. Teacher: Mrs. Poier shocked, appreciative.
I made a label on the tape itself from construction paper, a newspaper cutout, ink, and glue. Sadly, the film no longer exists -- too many runs through too many disfunctional projectors. - Charles Goff III

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I had once a communist propaganda tape with the marxian economics lecture. It was in '80, it was Jaruzelski's time. I was 12 years old boy in little polish town, and it was really cold in Brodnica (a small town in the north east of Poland, near Mazury - the huge country of lakes), and yes, it was a martial law in Poland, and it was my first cassette tape. Imagine that there were only few vinyls in my home town. I remember: "The Wall", Mothers of Invention live album and some Grateful Dead albums (what a company!). So I copied Pink Floyd music from the vinyl to it. And after I hated Floyds, I used it to record my own lo-fi recordings, until to complete decay of sound. This tape is lost now, but I still have Esther Phillips’ cassette with my home made sounds. - Darek Brzostek

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Cassette had metal body with illegal/stolen from military USSR plant typeIV chrome BASF tape in it. Always different time length, as they were made by hands and a pencil. When you are tired of rolling, put tape in body.
None of "Made in Japan" cassette players could play it without being broken on fifth minute. Only heavy black metal recorders, probably produced at the same plant where tanks were assembled. - Dmytru Fedorenko

....no picture, alas...

I recorded this cassette by a Walkman in Morocco in December, 1988. I was traveling from Marrakesh, through a desert area to Fez, and the final destination was Tangier. It sounds like most of sounds were recorded on a bus trip. You hear arab music and news broadcasting floating in the noises of motor vehicle, conversations of passengers etc. This is one of three tapes I made on my visit to Morocco. However, I lost one of those and another one broke a long time ago. This is the only one that survived until now. - Aki Onda

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This cassette with the title "LSD report", unlike "Music to take acid by", was not music that you should listen to while being on acid, but more like music made about acid. Thus the "report" title. It contained interviews with Tim Leary as well as all kinds of psychedelic music from the 60s. - Moritz Reichelt

This double cassette of Segovia's guitar music takes me back to the beginning of my musical life as a classical guitarist. As a cassette it's exciting in itself - as a double, even more so. With its sturdy box and extensive foldout sleeve notes it becomes a historical document. - James Wyness

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Cannot think of it as a lapse or a slip anymore. And even less as a shortage of paper. Heart of Saturday Nigh. There was not much of nearness with the saturday's hearts of a small town in the south of Poland. Except maybe with the heart of this CD-rip. - Michal Libera

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A woman came into the Generator in 1989 and handed this cassette to me. I don’t know her name or the name of her project, but it is a beautiful and mysterious object. I suspect this is the only cassette she made and I feel honored to own it. - Ken Montgomery

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In summer 1982 I went to London for the first time in my life and bought myself a walkman. Back in my hometown I ordered various industrial music tapes from the mailorder company 235, based in Bonn, Germany. Video Rideo was one of them. I remember well the fragrance of the cover of the tape which was mysterious and now after 32 years I realized the fragrance is still there. The music including treated voices, analog synths, distorted guitars, feedbacks, was rough and fragile at the same time. That summer in 1982 I often went for a walk in my hometown with my walkman on listening to Video Rideo. Listening to this music on the street was weird and very special. - Dieter Mauson

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In the eighties I learned a lot about DIY. It was also the period I started to like Christmas music. To combine the two I started my own cassettelabel: Noel. My first release, Oscar's Xmas Carols, went through Ding Dong Tapes. I did not earn anything. For my second cassette I did everything myself, from the sleeve to the distribution. But the packaging was too expensive so I lost money. This is my third (and last) release. I kept everything low budget. The inlay is a nice stencil/leaflet. The result made me very happy and I did not lose any money (nor did I win any.) - Oscar Smit

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This is the third independent cassette I ever bought, following 'From Brussels With Love' (which was great, and has since been released on CD),and local punk band (music I was interested in for two minutes, and turned on to all things experimental for a life time). There was a review of this in Vinyl 2, and send out money to get it. It has everything from post punk to electronics. I still play this a lot, albeit on my Ipod. - Frans de Waard

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In reportage in Kabul, Afghanistan, heading towards the city centre in a taxi. Despite the diffuse fear I hold into myself everyday since I arrived, I suddenly notice the beautiful song playing in the old speakers. Unable to catch the name of the singer, I offer to buy the tape to the taxi driver,in hope that it holds forgotten Persian songs. - Julie Rousse

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On my way to the post office one day I was singing a new wave song "my baby does her hairdo long" when this double cassette from my friend Agog arrived in my box. - Zan Hoffman

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Dear Rinus, enclosed you can find some images of audiotape covers and audiotape inlets of Die Tödliche Doris. You can choose, which you like most. I can’t decide, which I prefer. - Wolfgang Müller

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I actually remember nothing about how or when I received this tape and have not heard it in years. But it has stuck out in mind for the oddness/originality (and of course a certain non-originality). - Al Margolis

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INSANE MUSIC FOR INSANE PEOPLE VOL. 1 C60 1981 Belgium INSANE MUSIC SANDWICH RECORDS SR13 pseudo product 4 second human attempt

This is a compilation of tracks of various projects of, by, and related to Alain Neffe. The first Insane Music compilation was a great inspiration for my early recordings with Debbie Jaffe under the name Viscera. We purchased this cassette from Aeon Distribution of Fort Collins, Colorado, and we later distributed it through our Cause And Effect Distribution Service. Unfortunately my copy of this tape broke immediately after I had the wisdom to digitize it for archival purposes! - Hal McGee

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Radical Positive by blackhumour - Before he did years worth of deliberately boring releases in order to alienate his fans, and free himself from his following, blackhumour released in 1986 the double cassette Radical Positive. On one of the tapes was a 60 minute piece called "Peace In Our Time." In an age where far too many lifted sex sounds from porn tapes, with "Peace In Our Time" blackhumour actually recorded actual friends having actual sex. Love making, not exploration was his point. It made for a very interesting listening experience. It was as beautiful as it was raw. The piece was later reissued as a CD in 1993, but the original mix on the cassette is surprisingly more graceful. - GX Jupitter-Larsen

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“My Heart Sing Is Nature” was a song I wrote in the late 80s. The rhythm track was done using recorded ping pong balls, and the sound was as close as I could get to my ideal Holger Hiller sound at the time. Soon thereafter, “My Heart Sing…” was released on the cassette compilation “And The Trees Are Waiting” by a small cassette label in Frankfurt.

One Day I got a Letter from a girl, in which she expressed how much she liked that particular tune on the compilation. For a year or so we became pen-pals, sending each other cassette tapes with music and chatter. Eventually we met in person.

Today, twenty years later, we’re still a happy couple. - Achim Treu

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In the early days of the “tape network” era (late Seventies-early Eighties) it was not uncommon to exchange cassettes with unknown musicians that would quickly rise to fame.It is an early demo cassette that I received from Richard H. Kirk, ca. 1979, with tracks that would in part appear in the early singles and in the first album (“Mix-Up”) of Cabaret Voltaire. I learned later that Richard only made 20-30 hand-made copies of this tape. It’s a great memory; it started a postal friendship and, a couple of years later, the whole CV trio (with girlfriends) visited me in Forte dei Marmi, where I lived, in their first Italian vacation. - Vittore Baroni

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An old friend, Tom Winter, with whom I no longer have contact as he has moved on to holier ground, assembled the audio and designed the cover for the VEC AUDIO EXCHANGE PROJECT cassette number 10 titled PYTHAGORAS’ BUDGERIGAR. I didn’t have to do any other work than select the cassettes from the archive. ‘Budgie’ is a favourite compilation. - Rod Summers

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When the idea for the co-release of this tape was dropped by my friend Yannis Iasonidis during a truly difficult time for me, a time during which I found the chance to look back to mistakes I had done the recent years but also a process I found myself into of reorganizing things and trying to find the meaning in my activities which I had almost lost for quite some time... so no matter that is a new release, music whose soul evokes moods that drive me backwards (harsh dept, perverse series, absurd, e.a.) and inwards (noise-below) with a lust for new explorations & adventures! - Nicolas Malevitsis

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first find of the fall of chrome project - Claudio Rocchetti

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I like going to the flea market in my city, Valparaiso, and find old tapes. There is a special one that reminded me of the 80s when I played atari cassette as a child. I was struck by their bizarre cover art and bought it. I use it for performances, you can hear magnetic data sounds while the program is loading. - Fernando Godoy

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The cassette I could remember is my first solo album, recorded on the 31st of December, 1999. It was a spontaneous decision to start the recording process at my home studio on the 2d floor of Prospekt Vernadskogo, 59 in Moscow. It took about few hours to finish it, just shortly before the new year party with my family on the 10th floor in the same building. My daughter Sonja (she was 12 on that time) also took part at this recording. Her voice was sampled for one of the tracks of the album.
Next year the album has been released on cassette by Moscow based label "Insofar Vapor Bulk". The label was organized by local enthusiast and collector of experimental music Dennis Danchenko. The album got the name "Pa koket" (in Swedish it means something like "at the kitchen"). Being an art designer, Dennis did very nice and original artwork for the cassette. And still this cassette is the only one tape album of my solo works, and one of the most favorite in my discography. - Alexei Borisov

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This one, purchased among others, ~15 years ago, switched me to another level of attitude to tape network so I started my own label with even better neat provocations. It startled me. - Dennis Danchenko

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78 Hoeren - Mama Fume Le Pipe De Papa... Uche, Uche (1989) Wrapped in black leather - condom included. "Mama fume le pipe..." was the soundtrack of Summer 1989. An adolescent wet dream to its very core, a post-Pixies art-punk-pop universe of transvestites and freaks. With illustrious titles such as "No Sperm Today" or "Godverdomme, Blief Toch Van Mien Brommer". My all-time cassette favorite! -Edwin Brienen

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A compilation k7, made by a teacher of my first gf. He did some real effort in collecting the finest industrial music. It came with a written text about the history, which got burned before I had the chance to read it. It fed my curiosity until today! - Kim Laugs

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The reason why these two cassettes TECHNOLOGY and ENDOMETRIO, of the years 1980/1981 are to be considered as the watershed between the two periods, the most radical technological and biological-meditative. Although currently the originals are no longer in my possession, I keep the memory equally inherent in a genuine and meaningful experimentation that belongs to my darkest youth. - MB

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I remember when I was a kid, music was to me related only to the religious sphere. In my family everybody was very deep into the catholic faith, in that very old Italian mood. Also I had a priest in my family, an old uncle living with us. He had plenty of tapes and vinyls with some sort of christian speeches, christian music, and stuff. Yes, I listened to sounds coming out from my tv and radio, but I didn't recognize them as music, but as senseless sound and noise. This is one of two tapes I saved from the rapacious hands of time! - Michele Mazzani

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This cassette tape contains the voice of my father, recorded during a garden party at my grand-mother's house in 1977, one year before he committed suicide. This tape is the oldest and most precious in my collection. - Joke Lanz

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1994, I'm 15 years old. I enter a cinema to see Eraserhead without knowing anything about the film or the director. Went out esthetically shocked, that was the first time I've heard sounds like this. Then I found a VHS recorded from the TV, ripped the entire movie on an audio tape, titled it "ambient noise" and listened to it hundreds of times. This is my first ever industrial ambient drone tape, those who know my ambient work can understand it all began there. - Tzii

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Snapshot Radio was a monthly three-hour radio program hosted by Rich Jensen and myself on KAOS-FM, Olympia, Washington. We played only homemade recordings of "real life" – no music, nothing made in a studio. Just people walking, talking, and listening to the world. Eventually it became a cassette zine. - Steve Peters

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1984 veröffentlichte ich die erste Kassettenproduktion „Leider Nur Im Wohnzimmer“ auf meinem Label „die ind“. die ind“ stand für die independent, die Industrie oder die Indianer. Am Anfang war alles sehr regional ausgelegt, bis zu dem Tag, als ich eine Monochrome Bleu Kassette an das Objekt Magazin nach Eureka, Kalifornien schickte. Von da an war die Kassette nicht mehr bloß Tonträger, sondern „die ind“ Teil von „cassette culture“.

Am meisten liebte ich Compilations. Regional veröffentlichte ich den „Fadi Sampler Linz“, international den „Tape Report“. Der Tape Report hob musikalische Schätze, vernetzte Tape-Wahnsinnige weltweit und von da an crashte Couches weltweit und „die Welt“ bei mir. Ab da hätte Die Ind „die Welt“ heißen müssen. - Wolfgang Dorninger

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I had the pleasure of meeting these folks back in 86, when they came to DC for a percussion instrument convention. Apparently they were involved with a maker and seller of such items. They discussed their manner of making music... setting up four microphones in a room, laying various instruments on the floor, drinking a few beers and then seeing what would happen. Recording sessions were overlaid on top of sessions to produce the result. Its music stripped of all musicality, and to this day still sounds pretty far out. - Jeff Surak

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John de Pagter (1963) bundelde een selectie van zijn serene geïmproviseerde composities van melodieuze minimale elektronica onder de alias Zimbo op zijn invloedrijke album Cat, dat mondiaal goed werd ontvangen. Voor die eerste uitgave richtte John op 8 juli 1984 zijn muzieklabel Zimbo Tapes op, dat in totaal 35 unieke en opzienbarende cassettealbums van voornamelijk Nederlandse artiesten uitbracht.

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Tussen 29-9-1980 wn. 18-2-1981 vond in het Amsterdamse jongerencentrum Oktopus op de woensdagavond de legendariese konsertserie ULTRA plaats; ideologies-avantgarde-audiovisueel -experimenteel-elektronies waren de kernwoorden. Elk konsert werd op de Revox A77 opgenomen en uiteindelijk in augustus 1981, na gedegen selectie, verscheen van elke band één of meerdere nummers op de ULTRA kassette op LeBel PeRiod, het kassettelabel van Mark Tegefoss. In 2012 verscheen in het kader van de ULTRA reveival hetzelfde materiaal op CD in samenwerking tussen LeBel PeRiod en Big Lebowski De kassettes zijn niet meer verkrijgbaar, maar de CD versie is te bestellen hiermee een uniek dokument van een unieke periode in de popgeschiedenis voor komende generaties te hebben veilig gesteld.- Mark Honingh

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Bloody But Chic” is the second volume of the “Home-made Music For Home-Made People” cassettes, devoted to short (not longer than 2 minutes) tracks of experimental music. I had played noisy/industrial music for years and I deeply enjoyed making harsh noise and unbearable sounds, mostly to express my aggressivity and despair. … A sort of cheap psychotherapy.
In fact, I was also interested by the work of other musicians who had the same approach, but usually, I was bored after listening to 5 minutes of any industrial music (including mine)!!!
This is why I decided to make a compilation with very short tracks and I sent invitations to my contacts. I asked them to add humour to their sound cocktail and to be inventive.
I really received a lot of tracks and I made a sharp selection.
Regarding the title, “Bloody But Chic” seemed to fit perfectly with the concept. I used black-painted cassettes and a fold-out cover sleeve, and I put my bloody fingerprints on both. I used really thick red paint and get traces on my hands for one full week.
The advertisement text was “An international compilation with 2 minutes tracks. A non-boring conception of experimental and industrial sound – Contains humour - Alain Neffe

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It would be impossible to single out one particular album from the many excellent works I heard throughout my years running the Music & Elsewhere tape label (1987-2003), so I will choose the actual cassettes we used for our releases instead, catalogue number hand-added by paint-pen. Those were the days. - Mick Magic

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I have been just amazed that today, there is again people who released cassettes in an industrial mode.6 cassettes X 250 copies = 1500 cassettes. Being an incredible producer of artisanal cassettes 30 years ago.(about 3000 copies) I would never thought that these cassettes would be re released under their original audio support 30 years later, today + using industrial duplicators, real printing and not xerox style as when I made it in the 80's. The fact that such release exist again, The old but compact, real, analogue, magnetic thing sure for the very few people who kept their decks safe + in USA, ultra Apple technologic Iphone Country is to me an amazing fact!- Ruelgo Neuf

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