Sunday, 22 September 2013

The History Of

As a born evangelist (ok, music bore), I totally embraced the self-compiled tape as a means for spreading the good word about whichever groups I was keen on for most of the 90s.  I really did churn them out!  I received some absolute belters, too.  Lots of those I received through the indiepoplist's (R.I.P) monthly tape swap were incredible.  Having said that, I seldom bought pre-recorded tapes - they never had the allure of vinyl or the convenience of cds - so for me tapes are almost entirely associated with active construction.  I'm sure that's a large part of the reason why I loved Good Press gallery's "The History Of" exhibition/installation so much.  Timed nicely to coincide with the recent Cassette Store Day*, it's a hands-on installation.  You can read about and listen to a selection of tapes "compiled and created by a selection of artists, musicians, record labels and other practitioners who have an invested interest in music" on deliciously antiquated tape recorders and then, if it takes your fancy, pay 2 quid per tape and duplicate you own copy of those which piqued your interest on a high-speed duplicating machine.  You get to fold the little (pre-scored - great attention to detail!) inlay cards, too.  I chose to duplicate cassettes compiled by Monorail's Dep Downie (a history of Mike Watt in 20 bands/projects), illustrator/lecturer/publisher Marc Baines (a history of the fabulous Vesuvius Records which he co-ran in the 90s and which, in its time, produced some beautifully packaged cassettes) and Portland, Oregon's excellent M'Lady's Records.  "The History Of" runs until October 6th and if you ever excitedly made a mixtape to change a friend's life, you'll love it. Who knows, you might find yourself rushing home, retrieving those dusty shoeboxes full of tapes from the loft and looking back fondly on your own history of making tapes.  Well done to the Good Press team for such a brilliantly conceived and wonderfully executed installation.

* Sure some folks scoffed about CSD but I had a great time at Monorail listening to Cheer's gentle guitar atmospherics with good friends and buying "Summer Rain" by The Pastels and a tape of album demos on Suplex Cassettes by The Proper Ornaments.

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