Thursday, 22 November 2012


"Magnetic recording is the backbone of the electronics revolution. Learn how this analog technology lets you store and erase data!"

The Compact Cassette, also called audio cassette, cassette tape, cassette, or simply tape, is a magnetic tape sound recording format. It was designed originally for dictation, but improvements in fidelity led the Compact Cassette to supplant the Stereo 8-track cartridge and reel-to-reel tape recording in most non-professional applications. Its uses ranged from portable audio to home recording to data storage for early microcomputers. Between the early 1970s and the late 1990s, the cassette was one of the two most common formats for prerecorded music, first alongside the LP record and later the Compact Disc. Compact Cassettes consist of two miniature spools, between which a magnetically coated plastic tape is passed and wound. These spools and their attendant parts are held inside a protective plastic shell. Two stereo pairs of tracks (four total) or two monaural analog audio tracks are available on the tape; one stereo pair or one monophonic track is played or recorded when the tape is moving in one direction and the second pair when moving in the other direction.

Cassette culture, or the cassette underground, refers to the practices surrounding amateur production and distribution of recorded music that emerged in the late 1970s via home-made audio cassettes. It is characterized by the adoption of home-recording by independent artists, and involvement in ad-hoc self-distribution and promotion networks - primarily conducted through mail (though there were a few retail outlets, such as Rough Trade and Falling A in the UK) and fanzines. The culture was in part an offshoot of the mail art movement of the 1970s and 1980s, and participants engaged in tape trading in addition to traditional sales. The culture is related to the DIY ethic of punk, and encouraged musical eclecticism and diversity.

"In the age of the incredibly shrinking, high-capacity mp3 player and numerous online music stores, independent artists are flocking to an unthinkable medium to get their music to the masses: the cassette tape. These labels serve as curators by catering to audiences and artists alike with eye-catching visuals and high production values that can only be rivaled by the original preferred format, vinyl, but at a fraction of the cost..."

Folklore Tapes

"Folklore Tapes is an ongoing research and musical heritage project covering and soundtracking the folklore of the UK in volumes of tapes housed in bespoke books, boxes and hand stamped envelopes. Exploring mysteries, myths, strange phenomena, nature and topography of the old counties"

Further information here, here & here.

Releases, thus far: Lancashire Folklore Tapes Vol.1 - 'Pendle, 1612' Cassette Box Set and Download/Lancashire Folklore Tapes Vol.1 'Pendle, 1612' - Deluxe Edition with Bag. Devon Folklore Tapes Vol. 4 - Rituals & Practices (Regular Edition)/Devon Folklore Tapes Vol. 4 - Rituals & Practices (Hardback Book Sleeve). Devon Folklore Tapes Vol. 3 - Inland Water (Regular Edition)/Devon Folklore Tapes Vol. 3 - Inland Water (Hardback Book Sleeve). Devon Folklore Tapes Vol. 2 - Graves (Regular Edition)/Devon Folklore Tapes Vol. 2 - Graves (Hardback Book Sleeve). Devon Folklore Tapes Vol. 1 - Two Witches (Regular Edition)/Devon Folklore Tapes Vol. 1 - Two Witches (Hardback Book Sleeve).

Coming Soon... DFT005 - Ornithology (Featuring: Broadcast & The Focus Group/Mary Arches), Folklore Tapes (Physical) News Letter Issue 1 (Featuring: Folktales/Exclusive Mix/Up-Coming Editions/Tapeography/Film News...and more).

PICK 'N' MIX TAPE VOL. 1 - A-SIDE - Music for Children:

PICK 'N' MIX TAPE VOL. 1 - B-SIDE - Music for Children:

Blue Tapes

Who are you and what do you want?

We are Blue Tapes, a boutique tape label specialising in sound art and alternative process artwork. We release music from Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

Why tapes? Isn’t it all a bit self-consciously retro?

No, tapes are not a dead format. They never went away. They’ve been the format of choice for distributing home-recorded or experimental music pretty much since the inception of that technology, and even the advent of peer-to-peer, cloud-based music services, and social networking hasn’t particularly eroded this - it’s only added more strings to our bow in terms of connecting with other human heads.

Tapes are a good format. Even audio purists like Autechre are insistent that - sonically - cassette tape is their favourite playback format. Even until recently, Autechre promos were issued on cassette tape rather than CD - wanting to sidestep lazy digital pirating was only one small part of the reason for this.

Further information here, here & here.

Releases, thus far: blue three: Cherry, blue two: Leedian, blue one: Matt Collins, Future Shuttle - Étude Study, Subscription.

"Sound art, Spoken word, Strange objects. Blue Tapes is a boutique cassette label specialising in handmade packaging, alternative process artwork, and curious audio"

The Tapeworm

"The Tapeworm is a cassette-only label. No barcodes. The cassette will never die! Long live the cassette! Click here to see all The Tapeworm’s tapes. The Wormhole is a format-free byproduct of The Tapeworm. A splendid home for splendid sounds in other splendid formats. The Bookworm is The Tapeworm’s publishing venture – an irregular series of perfect paperbacks"

Further information here, here & here.

Releases, thus far: TTW#47 - Gastón Arévalo - Classical Landscapes, TTW#46 - Chris Connelly - The Collapse of Ether, TTW#45 – Andrew Poppy – Infernal Furniture, TTW#44 – The Automatics Group featuring Amy Winedeath - Ammo A Mass A Mat, TTW#43 – Infinite Livez @ Glockenbachwerkstatt, TTW#42 - Steinbrüchel - Sinus, TTW#41 - drcarlsonalbion - Edward Kelley’s Blues, TTW#40 - Old Apparatus - 15:24-15:46, TTW#39 - Philip Corner - Piano Work’d, TTW#38 - Achim Mohné - And It Could Have Been Dead…, TTW#37 - Stephan Mathieu - Flags, TTW#36 - Lary Seven - Rotation, TTW#35 - Dr. Fleischbrittel - The 7th Synphonie of the Seven Swevens, TTW#34 - Burning Tree - Stinger, TTW#32 - Othon - Silky Hands of a Rough Piano Boy, TTW#31 - Fantom Auditory Operations / Michael Esposito - The Child Witch of Pilot’s Knob, TTW#30 - Francisco López & Zan Hoffman - Concert for 300 Magnetic Tapes, TTW#29 - Peter Hope-Evans - Cast-Offerings: Visitations, Fetches, Revenants, TTW#28 - Philip Marshall - Casse-tête, TTW#27 - Deceh - Fundamental Structure, TTW#26 - Goldmann vs Fennesz - Remiksz, TTW#25 - The Tapeworm Comes Alive!, TTW#24 - Randy Gibson - Analog Apparitions, TTW#23 - Zerocrop - On Tape, TTW#22 - Zachary James Watkins - Black Spirituals, TTW#21 - Cathi Unsworth - Johnny Remember Me, TTW#20 - Chugga - Memphistophelis, TTW#19 - Daniel Menche - Raw Fall, TTW#18 - Pita - Mesmer, TTW#17 - John Butcher - Trace, TTW#16 - Fennesz - Szampler, TTW#15 - Leslie Winer - & That Dead Horse, TTW#14 - Leif Elggren - All Animals Are Saints, TTW#13 - Autodigest - A Compressed History of Every Bootleg Ever Recorded, TTW#12 - Stefan Goldmann - Haven’t I Seen You Before, TTW#11 - Tongues of Mount Meru - The Delight of Assembly, TTW#10 - E-Man, TTW#09 - Baraclough - The Lampshade is not a Past Tense, TTW#08 - Meltaot - First and Second Rites, TTW#07 - Souls on Board, TTW#06 - Derek Jarman - In Conversation, 1979-80, TTW#05 - The Van Patterson Quartet - Live at F.W., TTW#04 - Simon Fisher Turner - De Dentro Hacia Afuera, TTW#03 - Stephen O'Malley - Petite Géante, TTW#02 - Jean Baudrillard - Le Xerox et l’Infini, TTW#01 - Philip Jeck - Spool.

Read more about the return of cassettes here, here & here.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Innocents — A film by Jack Clayton

"We lay my love and I beneath the weeping willow. But now alone I lie and weep beside the tree. Singing "Oh willow waly" by the tree that weeps with me. Singing "Oh willow waly" till my lover return to me. We lay my love and I beneath the weeping willow. A broken heart have I. Oh willow I die, oh willow I die"

An overly imaginative young woman takes a job as a governess, caring for two precocious children in a vast and shadowy mansion...

Long established as one of the greatest of all ghost stories, Henry James' 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw has been filmed many times, but by universal consent the definitive version is this 1961 film by Jack Clayton, his second feature after the groundbreaking Room at the Top (1958).

Deborah Kerr gives a virtuoso performance as Miss Giddens, the emotionally repressed vicar's daughter who takes up a job as governess at a vast country mansion but finds herself comprehensively outmanoeuvred by her precocious charges Miles and Flora. Confiding in the housekeeper Mrs Grose (Megs Jenkins), she discovers certain things about her predecessor that she hadn't been told at the time of her appointment, notably the circumstances in which she met her mysterious death. It therefore comes as little surprise that Miss Giddens starts seeing things out of the corner of her eye - or does she?

As with all great ghost stories, we are never sure, which gives her ultimate resolution to confront "the evil" head-on an element of genuine tragedy. (Thankfully, Clayton and his writers - who include Truman Capote and John Mortimer - preserve James's famously unresolved ending). Who are the innocents? The sly, giggling, unnervingly knowing children (Miles in particular has an unmistakably sexual hold over Miss Giddens, in scenes that are arguably more disturbing now than they were in 1961) or their naïve, suggestible governess and the doggedly loyal Mrs Grose? Or is everything filtered through Miss Giddens' hyperactive imagination and we cannot therefore trust the evidence of our own eyes?

Throughout the film, Clayton demonstrates an encyclopaedic understanding of the nature of supernaturally-charged fear. The Innocents is too elegant and subtle to be labelled a mere horror film, but too genuinely marrow-chilling to fit any other pigeonhole, with cinematographer Freddie Francis giving a masterclass in the use of black-and-white CinemaScope to convey the full panoply of night-time scares and lurking (his use of candlelight is particularly effective).

But many of the most disturbing visual coups take place in broad daylight - an evil-looking cherub disgorging a fat black beetle, the hazy male figure on the top of the tower, above all the black-clad image of the former governess Miss Jessell standing in the reeds by the lake. Despite its origins on the page, The Innocents is one of the most cinematically literate of all British horror films, and still packs a powerful punch four decades on.

Michael Brooke.

"What shall I sing to my lord from my window? What shall I sing for my lord will not stay? What shall I sing for my lord will not listen? Where shall I go when my lord is away? Whom shall I love when the moon is arisen? Gone is my lord and the grave is his prison. What shall I say when my lord comes a calling? What shall I say when he knocks on my door? What shall I say when his feet enter softly? Leaving the marks of his grave on my floor. Enter my lord. Come from your prison. Come from your grave, for the moon is a risen. Welcome, my lord"

35mm, black and white, CinemaScope, 99 mins, 1961. Director Jack Clayton. Production Company Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation. Producer: Jack Clayton. Photography: Freddie Francis. Music: Georges Auric. Screenplay: William Archibald & Truman Capote. Additional dialogue: John Mortimer. Based on William Archibald's play of the same name, itself based on Henry James' novella The Turn of the Screw.

Cast: Deborah Kerr (Miss Giddens); Peter Wyngarde (Peter Quint); Megs Jenkins (Mrs Grose); Michael Redgrave (The Uncle); Martin Stephens (Miles); Pamela Franklin (Flora).

Further information here, here & here.