New Cassettes – Perseus Traxx / Old Apparatus / Achim Mohne

Apparently tapes are cool again, which seems a bit of a pointless regression for most, though a legitimate art form for a few. I get that it’s cheaper and novel to release a cassette nowadays, but as a preferable format it’s still not top of my list (only just above digital). That said I will always try and listen to releases on the original format that the label released upon and intended the way for it to be heard.

After effortfully tracking down my Sony Sports Walkman (with Megabass) to listen to the Midnight Davis cassette (which by the way is played entirely in reverse on the b-side – despite the coverage it doesn’t seem anyone else has clocked on to this?) and the fact that Ekoplekz announced another forthcoming casssette I went on a bit of a tape buying spree. Three highlights below that despite their annoyingly hip format are great releases worth picking up.

This is my favourite Perseus Traxx release to date, which is why I’m gutted that it’s not come on wax. Machine Trax Vol. 1 is, according to it’s creator, “a selection of sounds and jams laid down by Perseus Traxx during the year 2011 and brought to you in the medium of audio cassette for your personal listening pleasure and comprising of the titles: “Abstractions”, “1-2-3-jack”, “Not Without Hope”, “U Once Held My Heart”, “Enhanced Hybrid” and “Jackin’ The Dancefloor”; brought to you in the glorious year of 2012, from the recording label that envisages times beyond the present whilst willingly embracing nuances of the past.”

For me it’s just straight headphone house, more acid than previously, more balls out jacking in parts but best of all more incredible sequencing from Perseus. Six tracks in total, proper interesting electronic joints that also sound refreshingly stripped down compared to much being released around them. Definitely worth digging out the player for.

All self distributed and packaged beautifully with red ribbon and a wax seal, it seems the best place to pick this up at the moment is going to be Phonica Records who have a handful of the 100 copies made.


Old Apparatus are arguably the best known to release currently on cassette and most suited to it of this list. The experimental act consisting of five(?) or so members who surprised us with an astonishingly good live show last year to accompany their own releases which blew us all away. I was expecting more of their signature composition (which is to say not knowing what to expect) but was somewhat thrown by the fact that they seem to have skipped past the bass scene altogether this time around, going closer to field recordings before settling in for some modern classical.

At first I didn’t get what had happened, but once I’d worked out that the b-side was blank and rewound for a second take, expectations were suitably managed and it was a pretty damn good listen. The tone of the 21-minute release is just nice and well constructed, and pleasant. 15:24 – 15:46 is lacking the depth and electronic emotion of the rest of their catalogue but rather fills that void where you just want to get lost in music creation, without feeling drained afterwards. As a result I’ve kept reaching for it since purchase, so definitely have to recommend checking it out. Like an overhyped movie, just go in with no expectations.

Only 250 made, no audio previews unfortunately, but press release and link to the page for it below.

via The Tapeworm

Old Apparatus are a four piece audio/visual collective transmitting from East London that have been releasing bass orientated electronic dance music on Mala’s underground label Deep Medi Musik.

This edition for The Tapeworm is an improvised instrumental piece using guitar, piano, violin and found sound ambiences recorded entirely in the front room of the house they share together. Given that most forms of electronic music are bound by linearity and grid based digital audio workstations, Old Apparatus consciously embarked on an exploration of nonlinear forms of musical expression. The audio on the tape is a snapshot in time of that exploration.

Finally something I took a punt on and was massively pleased about, also out by The Tapeworm label, a release from Achim Mohné titled And It Could Have Been Dead…. Only 150 made of this one – which is all sorts of madness. The whole creation of a tape-from-tapes style concept just looked bizarre, and although not what I called an easy listen one of the most interesting things I’ve heard in time. Borderline Steinski styled chop ups and ambient hiss loops, topped off with random instructional pieces on tape care the end product is a bit of a mind mash.

It’s also got a character named Pooman on the cover.

Again, no audio previews, but you’ve only got to look at the photos of the ‘recording process’ (right at the bottom) and the press release to get a pretty faithful idea of what you’re in for.

via The Tapeworm

Achim Mohné experiments with the space and time intervals of media, photography, video, digital image production, as well as with sound. His experiments bring to light the surprising uses that lie dormant in todays technology.

For The Tapeworm, Achim focussed on audiotape itself: as material, as body, as signifier and as sculpture. Some notes on the sources and methods used to create “And It Could Have Been Dead…” follow:

A1, “How To Use This Cassette”, is mixed from a 1982 Blaupunkt instruction tape for a cassette player.

A2, “Widerverwendung”, uses material from “MediaRecycling”, a live performance at Gesellschaft für aktuelle Kunst (GAK) Bremen, 1999. This was a performance for opened-up VCRs, monitors, scissors, glue, medical gloves, cleansing alcohol. Sections of tapes were randomly chosen, cut with a scissors, then taped back live together in a different order. The version on this cassette was mixed in 2011.

A3, “All I Have Ever Listened To” was mixed from “Sozialisationsmusik” – a live performance at Academy of Media Arts, Cologne (1997) for three to eight turntables, cassette recorders and a mixer. With their help, vinyl records and cassettes from a great variety of genres (classic, electro, punk, rock, jazz, children’s audio dramas) are layered-up and mixed live. The version on The Tapeworm’s tape was edited in 2011.

A4 and B1 were created using hand operated cassette recorders. The tapes used for “Once Upon A Time They All Lived Happily Ever After” were all of fairy-tales. B2 (“Syntactical Swap”) is a work for cassette recorder and turntable. Finally, B3 is a short blast, using beginnings and endings of The Tapeworm cassettes, #01-#34 as its sound source.