The Living Archive has evolved greatly over the year and a half of its fledgling existence. When I look back at the early pages from late 2009 I see a lot of obvious mistakes and errors that came quite naturally and expectedly because I really had no idea what I was doing. I just wanted to forge forward because I felt it was important just to begin to get the story out in my own way.
Those early pages are still up but I really would like to re-do them at some point. Some of the text is overlapped with pictures, some of it is even missing because of software flaws. I hope I get time to redesign the old stuff and put it back up at new links. That’s the plan at least.
When I first began this website the plan was the get the history as I experienced it out there and have people help me where and when that could happen. Many people have stepped forward to help and I am very grateful for their input and slant on the home recording/ tape phenomenon that was Cassette Culture. However, this is mainly a solo effort for which I am happy to spend a lot of time and energy on. I guess I did not realize when I started that much of the time I spend on this site would be in trying to induce people to help me out with their own tales within this culture. Many times I am successful in drawing folks out who them generously donate some words, some experiences, some personal flavor to this endeavor. This is what I like the best: the community approach and overview.
Of course , many times I ask people to donate their time and nothing comes of it. Not out of spite or indifference but simply because their lives will not allow them to spend time on what may appear to be a frivolous pursuit of a time passed and perhaps best forgotten by some.
To be sure, Cassette Culture and underground music in general is a niche cult. And even though it happened ( and still happens fervently) internationally it has always been, almost by definition, a very secluded and shadowy thing. Artists and bands with no interest in the music business recording their own music at home, in private, in seclusion if you will. Sometimes isolated and quarantined from any outside kudos or acknowledgement. The idea of trading a tape, CD or mp3 is the second element of this Culture. In fact, I have run into many home tapers who never really considered this added element of the home recording milieu. Some individuals simply do not want to draw attention to themselves in this way, almost the very opposite of what it would mean to be in the music industry. Some artists just want to make their songs for themselves and maybe occasionally pass a song out to relatives or close friends. I know of artists who do not want to have anything to do with “promotion”.
So, the second phase ( the trading, selling or giving away of home recorded music) is an entire topic in itself.
What do you think?
In addition to all the different sections that I have developed for The Living Archive, in the beginning the idea was to open up and archive my own personal tape collection. With this issue I am expanding this idea under the “Cassettes USA” and “Cassettes INTL” sections. I will now be making compilations to go with each tape now listed in that section. Every month I will scan the covers of tapes, write some descriptive information and then offer a link to hear/download excerpts of each tape. So, that means two separate compilations each month, one for American and one for International tape releases of the past. This may turn into the main section of this site in fact. Of course I will continue to do the other sections like The Artist Spotlight and other features but since much of that requires a lot of effort in advance to contact artists, interview them, and ask others to get involved the idea of focusing more on my own collection is attractive to me and much easier to accomplish.
So, bottom line…I would be happy if anyone would like to do an Artist Spotlight ( or feature article) of their own. Interview your favorite home taper, and develop an article that I could then design a page for. I’m not expecting anyone really to do this but I am throwing it out there in hopes that someone might. Because this site is meant to be inclusive and wide in scope and not about me. It’s not about me but in relating my own experiences it may come off that way. Help me widen this road to the past and let’s take it into the future.