Electronic Artists On The Enduring Appeal Of Audio Cassettes

Blank Tape is a a short film about the new wave of DIY labels, producers and artists who’ve found a home for experimental electronic music on cassette.

Experimental and avant garde music has always sought release through peripheral channels. Where in the past that might have been via a number of hand-painted records handed out at concerts or between friends within local scenes, independent labels with more creativity than cash to burn are turning to cassettes as an available, affordable and more immediate medium to release music on.

“Rather than make a film about the so-called “tape revival”, we wanted to hear from the makers themselves to understand what it is about tape that remains so attractive,” note filmmakers Sam Campbell & Sonal Kantaria.

The film features labels like Sacred Tapes, Tesla Tapes and Astro:Dynamics, Warp distributors Bleep and producers Helm and Ekoplekz, whose music has sprung the underground to find a home on PAN and Planet Mu.

13 thoughts on “Electronic Artists On The Enduring Appeal Of Audio Cassettes

  1. It’s a totally different listening experience. Once you hit the play button you listen until the end of that side, no skipping like online. The lo-fi sound and the small size also attract listeners and collectors. As a musician I enjoy recording direct to cassette tape, recycling the many I have. It’s liberating to leave the recorder running knowing there’ll be no editing later. It just forces you to do your best.

  2. it also just takes so long for records to come out now. by the time it comes out you’re already sick of the songs. tapes are so quick and cheap and easy to crank out for a tour or something.

  3. something neat about tape is doing a 11, unlike digital you can exceed and get recorded, only downside is you could blow out stock speakers (my friend did on his car)

  4. Interesting.

    I have bought metal albums on tape forever. The small labels have never stopped releasing albums on tape.

    All about the dynamic ceiling of tape matching the music there.

  5. Perhaps even more than vinyl, cassettes really emphasize album sequencing and how that can create a listening experience greater than the individual songs.

    1. Nice film and I would love to hear more of the music, but no way I am going to buy cassettes and a cassette player again. By all means use tape and make cassettes, but then please transfer those albums to digital for the rest of us.

      Here is a great album that was originally a cassette-only release that maintains the programming of the two sides.
      https://tallcornmusic.bandcamp.com/album/free-jet-set-siempre-1-cassette-sides-free

      By the way, to maintain that stopped mid-side effect of listening to cassettes in iTunes set the individual tracks to “Remember playback position” (track menu Get Info: Options pane).

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