Mix Tape. The Art of Cassette Culture
Stop. Pause. Fast-forward. Rewind. It has become part of our vocabulary when talking about the momentum of our lives…
Since Phillips launched the compact audio cassette at the 1963 Berlin Radio Show, our relationship with music has never been the same. Portable, inexpensive, and durable?the new format was an instant success. By the early 1970s, we were voraciously recording music onto blank cassettes: LPs, concerts, tunes from the radio. It allowed us to listen to music in a new way, privately.
Artist and musician Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) looks back at the plastic gadget that first let us make our own compilations. Mix Tape shares the treasured works (and the stories behind them) of over 50 dedicated home tapers, including Elizabeth Peyton, DJ Spooky, Jim O’Rourke, Allison Anders, and Mike Watt. From the Romantic Tape to the Break-up Tape, the Road Trip Tape to the “Indoctrination” Tape, the art and text that emerged was of the mix cassette as a new way of resequencing music to make sense of our most stubbornly inexpressible feelings?a way of explaining ourselves to someone we love, or to ourselves.
“Ask any ex of yours from the early ‘90s about the amorous mix tapes you once made, and chances are, Sonic Youth appears somewhere among the track listing. So, perhaps it’s fitting that Thurston Moore is working on a book that takes a nostalgic look at that most humble vehicle of adolescent expression. Mix Tape: The Art of Cassette Culture explores the sound mixes and art we created in our bedrooms long before iTunes and Photoshop.”
?Michael Dougherty, Blackbook Magazine. Fall 2004
Thurston Moore is a founding member of the rock group Sonic Youth. He is also a published poet. His previous books include Alabama Wildman, Fuck a Hippie, But Be a Punk, and Total Poon. He also runs EcstaticPeace.com, a music, art, and literature website.