Cassette Cultures - The Past and the Present of a Musical Icon
written by John Z. Komurki curated by Luca Bendandi
The cassette tape is an icon of popular culture. From Frank Ocean videos to the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, the tape is prominent in cinema, advertising and visual culture: even Urban Outfitters recently set up their own tape line. It’s not just nostalgia—all across the world, new generations are discovering the joys of tape, and adapting this classic format to a contemporary context. More and more record labels are using them as a quick and affordable way to get new music out, and tapes are once again enabling DIY communities to spring up, centred as much on the object as the music it contains. The warmth and physicality of the cassette are treasured in these days of soulless MP3s, as they give fans a physical item to cherish, collect and exchange, while each tape is a mini-canvas expressing an artistic vision. We have seen vinyl making a comeback: now it’s tapes’ turn. Tape sales in the US grew by 74% in 2016, so whatever the haters say about this death-defying medium, there’s no doubt that it is here to stay. Cassette Culture is the perfect guide to the tapenaissance, covering every aspect of the movement, from recording, design and distro, to interviews with world-leading musicians and labels.