It used to be that tape cassettes were Enemy Number One for the music industry. People in their bedrooms, armed with Maxell C-60s and collections of sacred vinyl, were accused of killing music. Then the internet came along, and it seemed quaint to think that fans making mixtapes for their ghetto blasters were somehow responsible for pulling down the world’s cultural foundations. It took the arrival of CDs to kill off the cassette format, but the advent of P2P networking and MP3 compression finished it off for good. Music was saved!
The thing about the cassette, though, is that it had a saturated sound that could be warm and attractive. You could also take it apart and manufacture home-made tape-loops, using only a pair of scissors and some glue. Presumably, the attraction of the Stockholm-based recording label, Flexiwave, to the cassette format is based on the former consideration. After all, who would want to disassemble one of their fabulous, hand-made packages to cut up a C-20 cassette featuring some of Sweden’s finest electronic acts? You wouldn’t want to take the scissors to Video Look’s Avveckling (Liquidation), with its dark, brooding electro sounds, any more than you would want to mess with the sound of Komatrohn’s Ingen som vet (Nobody Knows). Kord are one of the best examples of the new minimal wave, so being able to play Ensam och het (Alone and Hot) through Dolby Noise Control holds more attraction than simple format-nostalgia. Colouroid’s own Baklängesvärlden (Backward’s World) wouldn’t sound the same without the saturation.
Then again, the C-20 pack comes with a download code, so that those without the hardware to play tapes can still hear the songs. In that case, a home-made tape-loop can be yours, but what could you record on it that would be any cooler? You music-killer, you.