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Tales for Tapes #10: 50th Birthday of the Audio Cassette

tales for tapes

6 concerts and an exhibition
30.08.2013
The cassette tape got introduced to the world on 30 August 1963 by the Dutch inventor Lou Ottens. It happened during a radio show on the occasion of the Internationale Funk Ausstellung in Berlin. Fifty years later on the exact day and in the same city Tales for Tapes dedicates an evening of tape narration/manipulation to the birthday of the cassette.

2013=C50

The cassette?

Hal McGee says: ” I want to stress something: cassettes never really went away. It may seem like they did, but the truth is different. I think it is a mistake to view cassettes from a retro-chic nostalgia angle. I think it is better to view it as a continuum.”

Most of you have never heard of Hal McGee, probably. Journalists only review and radio’s only play the freebies they get from the music industries. That’s why you will be misinformed all the time and kept away from what is happening at the frontiers of audio art.

This year the cassette tape celebrates its 50th birthday. Silent Barn in Brooklyn, New York dedicated an entire day to the humble cassette in March. Probably from here (New York! New York!) rumors started spreading and reached the laptop of a collaborator to TIME magazine, which gave the anniversary, and Lou Ottens some space on their pages.
A few months later in Kobé at the outskirts of Paris two evenings were dedicated to the tape and those who use it as their artistic medium. The event was the talk of the town the days after, when regret came to those who hadn’t visited it.

So, after more then a decade of intense promotion of the cassette as an object by all kinds of designers and fashionists (thank you), and just before the installment of a cassette record store day or how they’d wish to call it by the music industries, you might as well start to wonder what it might be like if you hear people actually use the cassette, not as a mixtape for the little player in your kitchen, but to produce the most intriguing sounds you may have ever heard in your life.

Blasé already? Then stay away and lock yourself up in your FB.

Still reading this? Then here’s your list of actors for the evening. All of them will use a wide variety of cassette players:

*Helge Neidhardt aka Der Tapeman*

is one of the longest running noise acts in Berlin. For this occasion he will bring his KassettenRekorderOrchester (KRO), a collection of more then ten cassette players, some of them real museum pieces, if only the museums would know. The KRO will play tapes from Tapeman’s vast collection and create a wall of sound that might provoke auditive hallucinations.

*Preslav Literary School*

is the boy wonder of the Berlin Tape Scene. The only person who managed to sell out his stash of tapes after a show! With distant melodies and voices, the warmth of the magnetic tape, he is able to evoke a sense of Englishness with all its melancholy that up to the early sixties only Penguin pockets seemed to hold. Not signed by any major record label because any major record label just doesn’t get it. Arsenal fan.

*Claudio Rocchetti*

played tapes until he got kidnapped by a computer. Fortunately he managed to publish a book just in time. And that saved him. The book is called ‘The Fall of Chrome.’ It is a great title, so that’s why it doesn’t matter if it makes any sense or not. I got the book with one of the hundreds of found tapes that he re-worked. Every copy of the book came with a different tape, you must know. I got Elton John. And you know what Elton, you old tart, it is the best tape you ever made. Pity you don’t know it. The world could have been different. Just a bit maybe, but enough. Claudio, if your concert will be half as good as the re-mix I have, it will be stellar.

*Insultor*

is not DJ Insultor who you know for fucking up French chansons and Balkan pop and Japanese tearjerkers all at the same time. Insultor might come and fuck up French chansons, Balkan pop and Japanese tearjerkers; it is very much probable. But he will also define the watershed. Those who’ll stay are our friends. Those who’ll leave are the followers of fashion who don’t have a clue about nothing, well, maybe about where to show up and how to connect to fffrrrriieeennddss, but in fact it is them who get fucked up by Insultor. Wodka/Juice fan. Ultra Hard Core.

*Erik Levander*

Erik! Why don’t you perform more often? Well, dear you, who will come to see us, or who will ask their friends who came. This guy is one of the best kept secrets, the inner most inner insider tip, who shied Preslav away with a performance in the Staalplaat basement that can be defined epic, if we’d only had TIME Magazine collaborators around to write about it in twenty years time. Put a load on you, Erik? Too much honour? I showed you the goddamn trade.
(Sorry for this change in style. I am reading American Pastoral by Philip Roth these days.)

*Hollands Spoor*

are two old men and I am one of them. We turn tape music in something chamberesque, sonnetesque, elegant, contrapunctual… swift. If Paganini and Wolfie Mozart were still with us we would make them wear shades. Man, we have more history then you can bear. And we put it out with a few walkman and a couple of tapes. There’s a nice bar and garden outside. But if I find out you were there while Hollands Spoor played, I’ll never talk to you again. Remember? I am one of them. Harold Schellinx the other; and he started his career as a Young Lion, right in the eye of the hurricane that was ULTRA, the post punk movement that hit the Netherlands in the years around 1980. Yes, you snotty kid, we are that old. Older than the cassette. And we came the whole way walking. You know how to walk, now don’t you?

But that just shows you that the cassette tape as an artistic medium is used by and appeals to every generation.

If I were you, I would come. But I am not you, therefore we play.

All indications and the address is to be found on the poster/flyer, cordially designed by Anton Mobin.

Be with us, or miss us. And miss a lot.

“Tales for Tapes” is a series of live events dedicated to tape manipulation. Curated by Rinus van Alebeek and Anton Mobin in Paris, Berlin, Brussels…

http://www.staalplaat.com/event/tales-for-tapes-10-50th-birthday-of-the-audio-cassette

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