keresaspa: (Diggory)
[personal profile] keresaspa
Whilst taking a jook through new releases available at a local record shop the other day one a release by a Dublin-based independent metal label caught my eye. And then I noticed the horrific words appended to the front: "cassette release". What bloody idiot decided to bring frigging tapes back?! Of all the music formats that I have used in my life tapes are by far the worst. They hiss like crazy, the sound quality is atrocious, they go wrong so easily and after a few plays they are virtually unlistenable.

Now hipsters will be hipsters and the fact that they brought them back for their crappy music is no skin of my nose. Just like checked shirts buttoned up to the neck, tattoos of flowers on the back of the hand, those stupid haircuts with the shaved sides and back but almost quiff on top (as favoured by hipster boys and Miley Cyrus alike) or trousers rolled up a bit to reveal a lack of socks I can smirk to myself when I see them and think "what a pile of posey tosspots". But now it is infesting usic that I actually care about I find myself increasingly hacked off at this stupid fad.

I'm not against old formats per se but there needs to be a genuine justification. LPs can have better sound (although that is rather exaggerated in my opinion) and so there is firm justification for keeping hold of them but why do tapes need to continue? The sound quality is bloody awful and it is just easy for a small band with sod all money to press stuff on CD as it is on tape. There is no reason for it other than being a hispter dick (and it's amazing how many of their supporters online always claim not to be hipsters when they so clearly are) and the argument that it is a backlash against the fact that digital ownership is non-ownership is equally a pile of bullshit as vinyl and CD solve that problem without sacrificing quality.

Tapes existed in the past because they were a cheap and portable alternative to vinyl and had the benefit of being reusable and then CDs came along and blew them out of the water. There is sod all need to change that other than just being "retro" for the sake of it. The fact that most of these twenty somethings are being nostalgic for something they never even used in the first place makes it doubly maddening. How can one "miss" tapes when when grew up after they had become obsolete, you Shoreditch knobheads!

I could just about accept the Chelsea Pensioners releasing their album on tape as it was available on other formats, it was aimed at very old people who have a tendency to be wedded to obsolete formats and I had no intention of buying it but these morons doing cassette-only releases? You won't be getting any of my money, kids. Bloody hipsters!

Date: 2014-06-25 04:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I first heard something like this about three weeks ago. A month before that, there was this column about tapes. Needless to say,

Yes, their primary advantage was their portability, and yes, their quality was at the bottom for commercially released formats. I don't agree that CDs quite "blew them out of the water" in these respects for two main reasons.

First, tape players have a mechanical durability CD players don't. Knocking into my left hand as I press the Shift key is an elderly and still functional portable tape player that has fallen off my belt in traffic, been tossed around by small children, and had Southern Comfort and beer spilled on it. On the other hand, I sometimes go through 2-3 portable CD players per year and don't even know why they stop working. On the less portable front, we've gone through a fair few CD players, which are not financially fixing, especially if the laser lens breaks or goes slightly out of alignment, while we have tape players that survived the '80s that we can keep going ourselves with a little isopropyl and a few Q-Tips. The sound still isn't the best, but while you're replacing brake cables or building shelves, what kind of sound quality do you really need? Cassette players are better than CD players for areas with a lot of dirt and dust in the air. And considering the howling and wailing I've heard from portable MP3 player owners when their devices can't handle the latest software updates or when all of their music mysteriously vanishes, I'm unconvinced by arguments of that format's superiority, even without getting into matters of loss and compression!

Second, mix tapes have an aesthetic superiority to mix CDs. When slapping together a mix CD (and there are more than a few by me around the planet), you pick a few songs, see if the computer says they fit, and burn it. Real art is limited to the inlay card. Tapes vary slightly in length, and they have that break at the end of the side. That break can be used in many ways, from doing different themes on opposite sides to breaking the mood altogether and slipping a bit of vintage Bill Cosby onto the beginning of the second side. Tapes also have the advantage of not being as easy to skim as CDs. You can pop a CD into your computer and maybe look at the track listing. Yes, you can mess with the fast-forward button, but for all practical purposes, you have to experience the mix tape as it unfolds.

So, basically, yeah, tapes are crap, but they do have their redeeming features.

Date: 2014-06-25 06:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
First, tape players have a mechanical durability CD players don't.

Funnily enough the last stereo I bought the tape deck went after about a month and even then I had only used it once. I've had a few others like that too so whilst it might be the case on your side of the Atlantic, not so much over here. I can't comment on the comparison to MP3 players though as I've never owned one. I've never made or received a mix tape either so I can't comment on that, although I suspect a mix thing would be a lot easier on a computer.

Have to say I remain totally unconvinced.


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