News Update December 2016
Due to so many other commitments I haven’t been able to really work much on The Living Archive the past few years. I’ll try to give an overview of what’s happening here but obviously not all the latest news.
Sound Archive Of Experimental Music is an outstanding resource from Spain with info and downloads of a large amount of cassette releases.
PanYRosas is a fine label dealing in experimental sounds from an assortment of international artists.
The big news is that I have been shipping many of my 80s/90s cassette tapes to Germany to Frank Maier, who runs the Vinyl-On Demand label. Sometime in 2017 Frank will be putting up a huge database and website of more than 15,000 tapes. So, part of my collection will be in that database. I am getting older now and frankly running out of time because of my community radio involvement which takes up much of my time.
You can listen to what we are doing in Sonoma County at kows community radio. I have my own show on KOWS that features experimental music on Thursday nights.
So, it has been a little bit difficult sending out my tape collection because for me, it has never been just getting someone’s music for radio play ( or enjoyment). It has been about human contact and community. Maybe that sounds cliche now because :“community” is such an overused term. But, that’s the bottom line for me.
Frank’s doing an amazing job and working very hard to make this happen. Eventually, he hopes to actually have displays in a physical museum in Southern Germany.
Tape Culture has been kept alive with pages on Facebook and with blogs all over the internet. People like Hal McGee have been instrumental in creating a spot for conversation and updates. On many of the blogs, you can find a huge amount of cassettes that have been digitized and are available for download. Late artists like Minoy have been documented and archived for the ages. One of the Minoy archive pages is here
In Spain, Francisco Lopez and his friends have credited another amazing archival project, The Sound Archive Of Experimental Music And Sound Art. Many tapes are available for inspection and download here. It’s a real treasure chest.
Of course, many people are aware that “tapes are back”, and yes they are in big way. There are so many new releases on cassettes that it almost feels like a rebirth of Cassette Culture. However, most of these tapes are not home duplicated and the Community feels different. It appears that cassettes are being favored again for several different reasons. I have been asked many times about this resurgence of tapes but I don’t think there is one answer. Maybe it is a rejection of a download-only culture, or possibly a desire for a tangible item…I’m not actually sure. I think it is excellent that so many underground artists are working and creating all over the world…no matter what format. To me, it was not the format ( cassette tapes) but the affordability and easy access to production that made tapes attractive.
To list all the cool and interesting websites and blogs would be impossible but here’s a few things I have run across that I really like.
Developed and maintained by the folks at WFMU, The Free Music Archive is a tremendous resource for underground music in many genres. And, it is all available for free. You can spend many hours just checking things out here.
A rather new discovery for me has been Absence Of Wax, a netlabel run by Los Angeles experimental musician, Devin Sarno. Mainly individual tracks by a variety of artists, this is outstanding stuff.
Bandcamp and soundcloud of course remain excellent places to discover new music and much of it for free or reasonably priced. Podcasts on podomatic , mixcloud and spreader ( and there are others ) also are plentiful and feature a huge amount of interesting things.
Arcane Candy is a fine webzine featuring music and travel reviews. Filled with videos and on the point writing.
Die Or D.I.Y is run by Darrell Draeger ( formerly of the Central California home taping group, Hermanos Guzanos) and has all sorts of great tape on display and available for free download.
One of my favorite experimental labels is Zeromoon, curated and run by Jeff Surak. Dozens of fabulous releases available for free or low priced.
Tape Germ, continues ( after a hiatus I believe) to be a unique assemblage of artists using each others loops to mix and create their own musical statements. Bryan Baker has been the lead Director of this for many years and was also one of the most important publishers of the 90s tape scene with his hard copy magazine, Gajoob.
Another relatively recent fave is the PansYRosas label run by Keith Helt, also an improving guitarist himself. Many great obscure artists from outside of the USA with emphasis on highly experimental offerings.
Long time underground music veteran, Rafael Flores, has his own blog with many archival offerings as well. Leans heavily on the European scene.
Wet Dreams is an in depth look at the noise, electronic and harsh scene especially from Euro artists. Some really bizarre stuff here.
And noise freaks should definitely check out The Static Fanatic. A wide array of harsh, wall and dense nastiness.
“Music Is A Better Noise”: http://www.ragpath.blogspot.com also focuses on noise and harsh sound, another cool resource.
Synth and electronic enthusiasts may also enjoy Encyclopaedia Electronica
The Great Nostalgie De La Boue” runs the gamut from noise and harsh to super obscure underground wonders.
German webzine, “Electronic Beats”: http://www.electronicbeats.net/the-10-cassette-labels-keeping-tapes-alive-in-germany has this article about tape labels in Germany.
1000 Flights is another fine blog offering tape from the glory days.