Sunday, January 17, 2021

Cassette Culture- Homemade Music and the Creative Spirit in the Pre-Internet Age by Jerry Kranitz. (VOD Records 2020)

This is quite a monster book. Heavy duty cover, large print, thick pages, lots of colour pictures and 2 full cds of strange and wonderful experimental music.  I have to say I was quite ignorant on this subject coming in as back in the day when cassettes were a daily part of my life, it was for listening and trading live recordings and demo tapes and not for making music.  The world described in this book is about the whole scene of people who made music at home most often with very simple recording set ups.  It is also about the labels and magazines that drove the scene and made some of these artist famous or at least to a much larger audience.  It also describes just creative these people were, not just with the music but also packaging and art and how important the product was.  The only person I have personally known that was part of this scene was Doug Walker (RIP) of Alien Planetscapes. He would release many tapes on all of these different labels and was fully part of this scene, even collaborating musically with a lot of the folks who ran the most important labels.  Pity he died long before this book was written as his insight would have been unique.  Anyway, Jerry did have access to Richard Franecki, Hal McGee, Al Margolis, and many others.  This is a very special book and not an easy read,  I have to say.  It was highly motivational though and really made me want to make more hand done releases with special artwork etc.. I have already done so with three releases where all the album covers were hand spray painted and all unique, as well as special CD-rs for bands I was in like Gas Giant and ØSC.  

Anyway, a hell of a book that will inspire you to be more creative and hopefully, to make a closer connection to you music scene.   Amazing effort. I know it took Jerry 10 years to finish this book.  Incredible.. 

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