On the other-hand, when the title becomes a beautiful badge, is when comes to mean escape from identifiable labels: "What ARE you listening to?" friends will ask at the garbled noise-rock or other such internet music-oddity that comes oozing out of my speakers--most recently this happened with Boards of Canada videos that were playing on repeat while writing some mid-terms.
I find a sense of pride in being able to expose myself--and others--to new or odd types of music that is simply difficult to find. But sometimes it becomes difficult to listen to, literally. Like when they come on cassette.
Sean Hartman, a friend of mine, who was recently reviewed and interviewed in Kalamazoo College's Naked Music and Culture Magazine started his own record-and-tape label three years back with his fellow musician Joshua Tabbia. Yes, you read that right, tape.
Sean and Josh also pride themselves on finding artists that simply don't recieve the same amount of attention as for-pay distribution companies (comapanies that make money off their distribution sales; Sean and Josh give all proceeds to the bands). They feature noise-artists, experimental drone groups from Europe, cool-dudes from California, and nifty poetry-electronica from New York. But Sean and Josh are just two buddies living in apartments in Chicago and Kalamazoo, they don't have the cash to go about making CD covers and professional-level labels.
|So instead they make these.|
So they buy tapes wholesale off the internet, mostly from people selling them in bulk on ebay with Josh designing most of the labels himself--and by all means, they look great.
But hey, am I just supposed to look at these things? I still collect vinyl because I find them to be a reliable, sturdy medium of listening to music, and I enjoy the hiss crackle that comes along to sitting down and listening to an album. But much of that is old music, Fats Domino records and Maynard Ferguson collectors pieces. It's all stuff that is hard to find elsewhere, or simply sounds too different on CD or MP3, like it loses a bit of its soul if played by anything other than a tiny needle placed precariously on a sheet of plastic.
However, I am guilty of nabbing a new vinyl now and then. But, I usually want a download code to justify being able to listen to these newer, easier to find albums in places other than my listening station at home.
To be fair, Already Dead Tapes and Records has just started providing download codes that come attached with their product--but only with the last two releases of 64. And they have always allowed consumers to listen to the MP3s of the albums via their bandcamp, but they aren't for purchase or download.
So I absolutely dig being able to find these under-represented artists, that deserve exposure to out-of-niche music listeners, but I am not about to buy a tape rig or some car from the 1990s just so I can go listen to these $5 tapes. I love the art and absolutely adore the design mindset from Tabbia that seems fresh and slightly edgier than glossy, mainstream photoshopped nonsense, that also compliments and utilizes the format of the tapes to their fullest, but I have hard time justifying hanging vinyl on the wall when it is first and foremost supposed to be listened to let alone put some cassettes in a shadow box to frame for my friends. (Even though that sounds kinda cool.)
Maybe I am just a grumpy consumer, but hey, I want to buy these things, share 'em, spread 'em further than a lick of butter on toast--am I really just supposed to listen to the music on tape?
|AD056---Waiting To Be Spoken To, by The Next Commuter.|
|AD035---Macronesia, by King Necro.|