(Source: morgenstern, via tapeworld)

Cassette Memories

With the 50th anniversary year of the audio compact cassette nearing its end, Rinus van Alebeek (curator of Staaltape, the 21st century re-invention of Staalplaat’s early 1980’s cassette-label of the same name) collected a great many cassette memories by artists, that were and/or are, then and/or still and/or now, active in the global non-academic DIY art and/or sound and/or music avant-underground, that - largely thanks to the cheap and versatile means for recording, duplication and distribution offered by the handy magnetizable plastic ribbon-in-a-box - already before the advent of the web managed to produce a corpus of sound works of web-like proportion and entanglement.

The texts and pictures can be found in the second edition of Staaltape’s Staalzine.


The Art of the K7 (prelude)

… - … - About the some things that are certain - All the way to Neptune and back - Re/Vival - A justification for many, many, many thousands more words - The cassetteer and the DJ - A poor man’s thang - Why to love retro-chic poppers and hipsters - Did I say there is no Hell? - Audio slates - Frank Zappa’s ‘200 Motels’ and a Christmas dinner at granny’s - Not a one but a many - “Unto emptiness shalt thou return” … - …



"It would take, ladies and gentlemen readers, a spark of light - almost - 8 hours to travel from one end to the other; we could - almost - stretch this meta-tape all the way from here to Neptune and back again; playing it would take about 11.4 million years: if we hit play now, the meta-cassette’s playback will not stop before the time that the ring of debris around Mars has crashed upon the surface of that very planet. And then finally imagine: almost all of the music we’d hear coming from our meta-tape would be that of a mindboggling number of copies of Michael Jackson albums and similar top selling pop chart hits, endlessly repeating … So, did I say there is no Hell?"

[ The Art of the K7 (prelude) - SoundBlog ]

Soldiers in the Vietnam War

"…The cassette tapes, despite all their improvements, still sounded pretty bad compared to the reel tape and even the 8-Track. But it was soldiers in the Vietnam war that quickly embraced the cassette for its small size and ease of mailing to and from home. By the dawn of the ’70s, things began looking up …"

[ History’s Dumpster's History of the Cassette - via Michael Peeters ]


Vincennes ~ September 30th, 2013


('Vive Lou Ottens, même'    ||    'Long Live Lou Ottens, even')
A Large Glass, cf. av. de Paris ~ Mar. 7, 2013 

Berlin, Friedrichshain ~ August 31st, 2013


Cassette (re-)Store Day saw the salvage of about two minutes of sound remaining on the still playable parts of a tangle of badly degraded cassette tape, picked up during a walk with Rinus van Alebeek in Friedrichshain, the day after the Tales for Tapes celebration of the cassette’s 50th birthday: a rap/hip-hop track on the one, and a techno/house thing on the other … "This is what I like"

Happy 1st Intern. Cassette Store Day! ~ September 7th, 2013

"I remember when you left the cassettes out of
their cases in the car, they would melt…”
[@WillGeronimo on Twitter]


Fascinating, all the emotive reactions (exemplified in the small collection of #CassetteStoreDay tweets above) provoked by what seemed little more than a fun idea for an innocent world wide fringe fest. (Lang Leve) Lou Ottens does not share, but also does not necessarily not share, the expressed opinions. With some more background and substantiation, similar thoughts can be found in a number of recent articles, like Corey Delterman’s Cassette Store Day is the Dumbest Thing Ever, which is a good read, if only because the author seems to be missing about every point that can be missed… Just goes to show how, like hipsters, cassetteurs and anti-cassette tape ranters are living in worlds that are very, very much apart…

Berlin ~ September 2nd, 2013


Hollands Spoor before the entrance to the Staalplaat store in Berlin, Neukölln, on the corner of Kienitzer Straße and Weisestraße.
(from left to right: Lou Ottens, Lou Ottens)