Remember the cassette days? I usually not! But I was listening to one song which I remembered I had recorded into a cassette tape years ago, and I suddenly realized how pristine the sound was, and how badly did the cassette version sound. But it didn’t really matter!
There was something amazing about cassettes. Maybe it was its ubiquity… you could take one tape with you and wherever you went there was a tape player. Or maybe because they were cheap and resisted quite well to be listened once and once again. Or because they were easy to copy and produce your own little megamixes.
My favourite one was the CD-Ing II model. I always tended to buy the 90 minutes versions, so I had an extra 30 minutes which meant like half a normal 1 hour cassette. People said you shouldn’t buy tapes longer than 60 minutes because the sound quality was terrible, but I personally didn’t care much about that.
And how picky we are now about sound! Demanding 256kbps mp3, or ogg vorbis or even flacs! It’s all about sound quality and the medium but there’s no talk about the music itself, which I find somehow sad.
Oh and I just remembered… I only bought one 120 minutes tape, and it was a complete disaster. It seems it was so thin that it split in two parts. But you know that analogic problems have analogic solutions: I sticked the two parts back together with a piece of cello tape. It just sounded a bit weird when the head was reading the cello tape part, but the rest of the tape could still be listened. You can’t do that with a broken CD!!
I also used to do my own covers of course. I don’t know if I enjoyed more listening to the music, preparing the mixtapes or the covers.
Then there were also the particular tape glitches. Like when you listened to a tape while in a car and the player was doing those hummm ahmmmm because the tape moved slightly with the road bumps. Or when you began recording and it still hadn’t stabilized the head position but was already recording, so there was some strange transition which to me sounded as if the tape was melting in that very point.
At the end it was all a bit annoying also. Rewinding tapes… pressing play and rec at the same time, the loud clicks of some buttons, cleaning the heads periodically… And what about the tapes which became blocked? Endless hours spent unrolling tapes which decided to became a mess, with a ballpen and loads of patience!
An ipod might be less analogic but is way more convenient, definitely :-)
By the way, I uploaded the soundtrack of re:fritos to archive.org. Grab it while it’s hot and place it in your ipod or favourite mp3 player!
PD I did the tape image with the online Cassette Generator