January 2014 ( with sound samples )
Here are ten cassettes from USA artists in the 1980’s and 90’s.
artist/ title/ album/ label
1. Kathy King/ #1 from side two/ Low Tech Nuclear Waste/ Lizard Lips cassette
Kathy was a really interesting artist from Ann Arbor, Michigan and worked mainly with a 4 track and her guitar and drum machine. At times she would go off with the echo and really saturate her music with texture albeit in a lo fi way. Later, she had a release with guitarist, Mark Kissinger.
2. Nick/ Wally The Beaver / No Delay/ Big Baby Enterprises cassette
Too bad, I lost touch with Nick ( Dennis J Baldwin) many years ago. A really good guy and prototypical kind of home taper with an odd sense of humor . He collaborated with several other home tapers including myself, Ken Clinger and Zan Hoffman. He had a knack for individual sounding geek-rock and also some experimental sounds. He also curated the Level/ Dead Things mail art project at one point as well.
This song is from his 1986 cassette, “No Delay”.
3. Histatic Charge/ Why Do I Always Hafta Do The Dishes?/ Why Do I Always Hafa DpThe Dishes? / SET cassette
Terry Burke was a home taper and also a DJ from back east. He lived in Boston at the time of this tape and later moved to the mid west. He produced a couple of strange little tapes that were very good poking fun at suburbia, “industrial” music makers, and life in general.
4. Mark Kissinger/ Hysterics/ Narcotica/—-cassette
I always really dug what Mark did on his instrumental tapes. Basically he set his drum machine and backing sections up to jam over. And, man, he could jam. This one was from 1989 and recorded in Pennsylvania. Some of my all time fave instrumental home tapes.
5. Roadkill/ Guitar Vomit/ Guitar Vomit/ Flying Bomb cassette
Road kill was Matt Towler’s project and this tape was recorded between 1987-89. He really messes with sounds, almost like an abstract expressionist painter. Maybe a tad like John Oswald because of how it sounds “plundered”. The difference is that Matt plays his own instruments and fucks them up good. Out of Massachusetts I believe Matt was also a fine cartoon artist and collaborated on a CD with space rock ensemble, Quarkspace.
6. Larry Ruhl/Popsicle Beanbag/ Snaps/—-cassette
From 1988, this had Larry doing his regular keyboard/drum machine thing which was always fun for me. He often produced nice little melodies and textures and was also a member of The Larry Mondello Band in Connecticut.
7. Tom Calderon/ Visitation/ Fanatic’s Pulpit/—-cassette
From the late 1980’s Tom recorded his poetry in Aptos, CA ( near Santa Cruz ) over some various music by other artists. Existential at times, this is a fascinating project and not your average poetic incantations.
8. Nomuzic/ Keep Down/ Filaments Fading/ audiofile cassette
Carl Howard was amazingly active in the underground scene for many years with his audiofile label, the a/A review and feature publication, and his own music as Nomuzic ( sometimes spelled Nomusic). On this1988 track Carl is joined by long time collaborator, Chris Phinney on synths and drum machine and Roger Moneymaker on guitar. Carl declaims on vocals ( and probably adds additional synth ) in his own funky way. You could dance to Nomuzic…if you could find a partner. This track is a particular favorite of mine.
9. Oliver Squash/ Overtide/ Wastecoat/—-cassette
Oliver Squash always kind of puzzled me. I imagined some sort social outsider making his quirky tapes in self imposed isolation. Sounds, weird sounds…sure , lots of home tapers did this but his unique mark was stamped on each track of this cassette from 1992.
10. F/i/ unknown title/ Threshold/ —-cassette
This sextet lead by guitarist Richard Franecki recorded their feedback drenched improvs for this tape between 1986-87. Almost always a noisy, chaotic affair the power of F/i cannot be denied. Sort of like space rock meets Sonic Youth or Band Of Susans but without any pretension of a song and more ragged. Very intense and generally long tracks.