Above, Eric’s solo home recording of instrumentals. This is a solid and powerful tape somewhat in the style of Mark Hanley or Mark Kissinger. Drum machines, driving bass, some keyboard flourishes, and loads of prime lead guitar over the top. Definitely my kind of stuff. This still sounds fresh to me.
Above is the tape he compiled for his Spilling Audio label of all live recorded tracks. I remember having fun cutting my song with autokeyboard, guitar and live vocals all at once. I believe Eric lived in Seattle at the time and is now in Portland. He produced many fine compilations and solo works during his years running the label. He continues to produce new music in various ways including the improv group, Tres Gone.
It was sometime around the mid 80’s when I discovered Factsheet Five. I had no idea that there were so many people, all around the world, making homemade music and releasing their creations onto cassette tapes. I had already made a couple of cassettes that I sold in a handful of local record stores. This was intriguing. I picked out a few that sounded interesting and sent them each well-concealed cash in an envelope. At the time, most cassette releases were in the 4 to 5 dollar range, which, if you do the math, barely covers the combined cost of a blank cassette, postage, and printed inserts.
I wish I could now recall which cassettes I first received in the mail. I do remember that some of them included a list, or catalog, of all the other available cassette albums for sale or more importantly, for trade. Once I began trading with other home tapers, I was hooked.
It was also right around this time that I was working on a freelance project for Mike Gunderloy, and as a result, I also started writing music reviews in Factsheet Five of cassette submissions. I was hungry for new music, and this was like being catapulted into a whole new musical reality—an avalanche of new sound. Most of the tapes I was reviewing and receiving in trade were so much more more adventurous and alternative than what I could find at the local record shops. Even if it wasn’t well-executed, it was almost always interesting. But there were some people and labels out there creating things that blew me away. Poison Plant, the Hinds Brothers, Blowhole, Qubais Reed Ghazala, Mike Hovancsek, Secret Archives of the Vatican, Tom Nunn, Shinx Holotronic, Screamin’ Popeyes, Eleven Shadows, Audiophile Tapes, Nux Vomica, and so many others. It was like out of nowhere, there were literally hundreds of cassettes that suddenly dominated the forefront of my music collection. This, and what followed, as I started to collaborate with some of these artists, turned out to be one of the most exciting musical periods of my life.