The Distortion of Sound is a documentary about the decline of sound quality and how technology has changed the way we listen to music. It will open your ears and inspire you to reach for richer, more soul-stirring musical experiences.
The Case for CDs -- as CD sales continue to plummet, Grantland's Steven Hyden takes a "glass-half-full perspective" on those numbers, discusses format nostalgia, and the five types of albums that justify the continued existence of CDs. [more inside]
After dropping sweet synthwave tunes for two years, Le Cassette have released their first album "Left to Our Own Devices," available on (of course) cassette tape
Sony just announced that cassette technology might be the future! With a device that can hold 185 terabytes on one tape. (that's three bluray discs worth of data per square inch.)
Why Would Anyone Buy a Cassette Tape? "I went back to the merch table to see what was on offer and saw - among other things - a cassette tape. I figured that participating in a weird economic trend would be worth the $5, so I bought it. Needless to say, I don't own anything that could play a cassette tape."
Some punk from Iowa is hoping to go number one in the charts with an album that technically came out over a decade ago, was recorded on a boombox, and which has divided opinion. The record in question is called All Hail West Texas and that punk from Iowa (technically Indiana) is named John Darnielle and releases music as The Mountain Goats. The album can be streamed on the record label website as well as most of your favorite streaming services. You can download a couple of the outtakes here, listen to a recent interview Marc Maron did with John Darnielle that covers his youth and some of his Iowa period, and read Notes on imaginary extant, lost, deleted, and unrecorded tracks written, performed, recorded for or during the period of time in the life of John Darnielle that would produce All Hail West Texas not included in this collection because they are all imaginary by Matt Fraction.
One of the many problems farmers of various kinds of legumes need to deal with is the pea aphid. They reproduce incredibly fast and live by sucking the sap out of the plants, an electron micrograph of one in action. However, while they are terrifying parasites of legumes, they have their own yet more horrific parasites, a parasitoid wasp. Here is a really nice close up picture of one doing its thing, a video of the act, and here is a brain meltingly horrific video of a dissection of the mummified aftermath 8 days later. Essentially, these wasps deposit their eggs in a pea aphid and the growing larva feeds on it, developing there for about a week, and then consuming the host from the inside out like a Xenomorph. When it’s done, the wasp larva dries the aphid’s cuticle into a papery brittle shell and an adult wasp emerges from the aphid mummy. Legume farmers love them, and you can even order their mummies online these days. However, farmers noticed that the wasps didn't work as effectively on all of the aphids, and so researchers went to work figuring out why. It turns out that all aphids have a primary bacterial endosymbiont living inside their cells, in addition to and just like a mitochondria, and that many have some combination of five other secondary endosymbionts. Interestingly, two of those other five, Hamiltonella defensa and Serratia symbiotica have been shown to confer varying levels of resistance to the parasitoid wasp, allowing the aphid to survive infection. However, it turns out that there is yet one more layer to this story, [more inside]
Take a stroll down Memorex Lane and relive those golden days of yore at Project C-90: An Ultimate Audiotape Guide. Peruse their insanely exhaustive galleries of the Compact Cassettes you used to listen to your Hall and Oates or your Led Zeppelin or your hip hop mixes on, the Microcassettes you once played back to catch that all-important message from your mother, your girlfriend, boyfriend or ex, and the Minicassettes, which you probably never used at all.
When not terrorizing Mr Bond, from the late 1970s until 1994, Mike Mangino and Chris Shepard were in a basement full of musical toys, novelty space microphones, a TR-606, and a SH-09 in Piscataway, NJ recording cassettes as the band Smersh. In 1981 Smersh released their first cassette under their own label of Atlas King. They never rehearsed, they couldn't read music, and they never played live, and they contributed to far too many compilations throughout the known world. In the early eighties they established a unique sound that is known and loved, combining cheap electronics and wild guitar sounds with distorted vocals. By trading cassettes they garnered international acclaim leading to releases on dozens of other labels. [more inside]
If you enjoy instrumental jazz and Christmas music, you might enjoy The Best Jazz Christmas Record You've Never Heard. ""Christmas With The Believers" turned out to be the best jazz Christmas music I had ever heard, and that's still the case today. I'll take the imaginative arrangements, chops, tight playing, and sense of swing on this recording over anything I've heard by the legends in this field." It's presented here as a cassette recording from Fall '86, with Donny Schwekendiek on piano, Neal Heidler on the bass and Narry Puhlovski on the drums.
Is Chillwave the Next Big Music Trend? - Wiki: Chillwave is a debated genre of music where artists are often characterized by their heavy use of effects processing, synthesizers, looping, sampling, and heavily filtered vocals with simple melodic lines. Its musical predecessors are diverse and include the synthpop of the 1980s, shoegaze, ambient, musique concrète and various types of music outside of the Western World. In this case, nostalgia of 80s synthpop is filtered through a distorted lens, re-envisioning the era in a more vague and lo-fi sense. Just don't call them that. You can always check in at the Hipster Runoff (the birthplace of the term) for news about the vaguely new subgenre. [more inside]
"I only listen to cassettes," Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore told CBC radio last summer: an article on the merits [or otherwise] of releasing new music on cassette. [more inside]
A lifetime of lost playlists Martin Belam offers a personal history of music formats and describing how he made playlists with each of them. I'd love for his conclusion to become a reality.
Once a week high quality digital recordings of cassette tapes purchased at the Dalston Oxfam Shop in East London.
"And I saw records made! Music literally written in wax!" RCA Victor takes you, step by step, through the records manufacturing process of 1942. A few years later, they brought us the cassette tape, though it wasn't exactly "compact" yet. And let's not forget that RCA "exclusive": Living Stereo! "You know, in this gimmicky world of ours, RCA has never lost sight of what they started out to do: to reproduce sound with so much clarity and fidelity that you could "close your eyes and think you're there."
Tape Findings. Every week RJ from Sweet Thunder posts excerpts from one of a kind cassette tape recordings he finds at garage sales. Found due to Week 15 [better recording]. Other greats: Week 49, Week 73, Week 86. Dog damn.
Philip Kives, the "K" in K-Tel records, built his pioneering record label by cramming up to 24 songs on low-fi compilation LP’s (later cassettes, 8-tracks, and CDs) and aggressively marketing them with TV ads. What's your favorite K-Tel album?
Project C-90 is a photo collection of vintage cassette tapes • Meet Artyom, the Russian DJ who built his own cassette turntables • Last week, BBC News declared "Not long left for cassette tapes" • Mod your old cassette to make a USB flash stick.
It all seemed perfect: Smiths side A, Pogues side B - or whatever else you wanted. For all the folks getting nostalgic further down the page,we are trying to turn back time for 60 minutes… or, maybe, for 90...
Remember that cassette drive on your TRS-80? Well, now, *submarines* can make use of that advanced technology, too...