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Cassette DJ’ing?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Artist Discussion  
Author Cassette DJ’ing?
radiokoala
Has anyone done this? I'd like to, as my collection grows. Selection of tape music is really good these days, covering every base from ambient to footwork to vaporwave to outsider techno and lo-fi house. That said, I don't know if we could speak of such phenomenon as cassette dj'ing: even something like a modular synth live performance seems more of an everyday occurence in comparison. It justs seems strange to me that such a simple idea hasn't really been executed – is there even one such boiler room, for starters? – and/or that there's so few people keen to explore such approach to performing. All I can say is I'd sure like to, the whole concept seems rad to me. Anyone else to share the sentiment? Hobbes
justscratch
cassette store day

stones throw did something a couple years back

i love the notion as cassettes are the only physical media i have time for anymore
Nick Name
Back in the 80s and 90s I spent a lot of time in the Dive Bar in Soho, London where they had a cassette based DJ - I'm 99% certain that it was the legendary Earl Gateshead himself but my old memories are blurred except for the fact that they played shit hot music down there and it all sounded great.

I always thought that the choice of cassettes was due to space considerations in such a tiny venue. There was no DJ booth and they could just stack the decks on top of each other with couple of brief cases for the tapes, all on a small table in the corner.

I'd say go for it, I've long been bored with Ableton / playlist DJs and I think cassettes would put you in the 'selector' category - a higher form of DJ :-)
gruebleengourd
it's not so easy to cue cassettes for mixing/beat matching other than the fast cut or layering over beatless music

there are

people like Aki Onda and Nonhorse who do all cassette performance, but they are not playing other peoples music

I've used self made tapes of my own music as layers in live performance, but to be honest, there is something about the medium that feels more personal for walkman/home listening rather than something for a party...

and then as I write this I remember one of the best times I had was cjing in the basement of an art gallery in Berlin

so go for it

sez CJ Kool Mu Mu
srlajoie
I gigged a spot in the late 80's that had a tiny corner booth with a pair of tape decks. Forced me to pre plan, pained me when the patrons were not responding on a given night. help
Esgal
Am I the only one who doesn’t understand the re-emergence of cassettes?
Xmit
I played a gig ( outdoors - it was lovely ) over the summer & on the same bill was the head honcho of Preston's Concrete Tapes ( where much of my music is released, cheap plug cool ) doing a DJ set - Joe played an hour of old skool jungle...all from cassette. It was awesome.
slow_riot
My friend Suso is selling walkman's modified with pitch sliders for variable speed playback:

https://susoflores.bandcamp.com/merch/modified-portable-cassette-playe r-w-100mm-pitch-control-slider
JakoGreyshire
I could be wrong but, If I recall correctly.....

Mixing tapes is where Mix Master Mike(Beastie Boys, Invisible scratch pickles) got his name.. I guess he didn't have enough money for a set of turn tables at the time and he would mix tapes.. He apparently was real good at it.

Mark Farina would mix DAT Tapes for his shows....

Yeah ... Do it.. it takes a lot of planning...

I and another were just talking yesterday about how there are no mixed tapes anymore between friends like the early days... We agreed that even mixed CDs were not the same as making a mixed tape.. Especially after Mp3s because the CD mixes just got too long... With tapes we used to capture a mood and just hand it over to a friend and it meant something... I guess it's kind of hard to describe.. Is what I'm saying hard to understand? There was something about it... It was cool...



And, then there is this...
GrantB
pause button edits were big in the 80s
Spectral Tilt
JakoGreyshire wrote:
I could be wrong but, If I recall correctly.....

Mixing tapes is where Mix Master Mike(Beastie Boys, Invisible scratch pickles) got his name.. I guess he didn't have enough money for a set of turn tables at the time and he would mix tapes.. He apparently was real good at it.

Mark Farina would mix DAT Tapes for his shows....

Yeah ... Do it.. it takes a lot of planning...

I and another were just talking yesterday about how there are no mixed tapes anymore between friends like the early days... We agreed that even mixed CDs were not the same as making a mixed tape.. Especially after Mp3s because the CD mixes just got too long... With tapes we used to capture a mood and just hand it over to a friend and it meant something... I guess it's kind of hard to describe.. Is what I'm saying hard to understand? There was something about it... It was cool...



And, then there is this...


Yep, I was going to post the video of the reel to reel DJ. Pretty unique
naturligfunktion
Give it a go mate! grin
dekemcculo
http://www.walkman-archive.com/wa/tj-autoreverse-cj-walkman-archive/ these cassette and walkman ppl have some videos of themselves "tape jockeying" as they say
burnn_out!
Old thread got revived it seems zombie anyway I just caught a DJ last weekend from awesome tapes from africa which is exactly what it sounds like. A DJ using dance cassettes he's released on his label from africa
jbuonacc
GrantB wrote:
pause button edits were big in the 80s


with the right ones, you could get very precise editing right on the beat. with some there was way too much mechanical lag for that sort of thing (almost useless on a "digital" deck).

seemed that my cheapest little early 90s boombox (can't even remember what it was... Magnavox?) was the best for this. i can almost "feel it" now, hitting that pause or holding it and letting up just at the right moment to "punch in".

only played around with this sort of thing a bit when i was a kid, i wish i could go back with what i know now. who needs a sampler? ugh.
teamhobson
As others have said it is very possible but I would have them all cued up ready to go before you play. Takes a while...
Dragonaut
It is crazy how the era of mixtapes is over. There really should be a revival but it doesn't work unless everyone has a deck. It makes me wonder about physical engagement in general. Like the fact that all the big booksellers and record stores have closed. Are we really losing something important there?
oroorrothos
Ah!! we're not worthy Totally enthusiastic about this thread!

Cassettes DJing has always been an obvious thing as far as i'm concerned, because cassette is the most practical format, because the inlay / packaging can be filled up with informations and artworks in a creative way, because CrO2 & FeO2 cassettes may stand long in time when stored well, because most of the greatest music ever is exclusively available as cassettes recordings, because the so-called cassette culture thing has been so lively, a vast galaxy of underground musicians where the possibilities of exceptional discoveries from unknown corners seem endless, and because there is a so intimistic, personal touch to a cassette, something coming out of someone's home in very small quantities rather than a manufactured item.

I have been involved with cassettes DJing a lot in the late 80s up to late 90s, but since then abandoned that because : 1) the techno free parties crowds did not give a damn about cassettes apart from mixtapes (it was all about worshipping vinyl), & 2) the (post)industrial / power-electronics / dark ambient people did not give a damn about any kind of DJing at all (unless you had some "big name" as a member of a so-called "cult act"...).

Cassettes DJing demanded its specific discipline, selecting tracks, excerpts, radio recordings, field recordings ; the timing, chronological order on purposed cassettes indeed took time to elaborate, although it was definitely interesting how very prepared sets could interfere with accidental randomness. Nowadays' MP3 players allow a lot, but it hasn't got the same charm.

The ghettoblasters made it all in terms of street logistics, moving around with your own sound system, your selection of cassettes and enough batteries in your pockets.
To me, the dream machine was this tool :



►►► ►► ► Boombox Ghettoblaster Hitachi TRK-3D80E (what a beautiful baby)
girlcircle
I had a friend doing this weekly on two decks with varispeed. She was taking people's tapes (self produced and others) and trying to mix them on the fly. She had a good hand at matching the tempos but the results were unorthodox and oftentimes very strange. I think its a really good experimental medium and very worth exploring...

I guess you could also consider the loading endless loops as a form of this. Something I haven't really seen employed outside of power electronics and ambient minimalism though.
mor4sso
yup there is a small sub-segment of cassette djs!

just give it a whirl! try thinking of an effective workflow and just jam. same principles apply smile
JediDJ
I heard that psy trance music played from DATs in the 90s at big raves.
But exactly dunno if that system had varipitch.
Never saw such machines.
Maybe just rumours.
Euro Trash Bazooka
This thread is interesting because I love tapes and I do think it'd be amazing if people began "cassettejaying" indeed.

I have to say, though, that cassettes have never stopped being used and that this "resurgence" is some kind of myth coming either from clueless people and people in marketing so they can boost their sales. Sales and interest for tapes did decrease in the 90's but they still were a medium of choice in many underground scenes like metal, punk or noise for instance (and those scenes didn't use to cross over and mingle much back then...)

And regarding mixtape, I can assure you people still make them and they're vital parts of the scenes I'm telling you about for instance. I still make and trade mixtape, and I still have and listen to plenty of them I got from all over the world.
gruebleengourd
Euro Trash Bazooka wrote:
Sales and interest for tapes did decrease in the 90's but they still were a medium of choice in many underground scenes like metal, punk or noise for instance (and those scenes didn't use to cross over and mingle much back then...)


The big thing about the 'cassette revival' is that it has taken hold for music genres outside of the metal/punk/noise scenes. There was certainly a continuance of 'tape culture' in those scenes, but it wasn't something a non dedicated fringe fan would be into.

Nowadays it seems like almost anything available on bandcamp has a cassette option for physical media.
Plumbstone
JediDJ wrote:
I heard that psy trance music played from DATs in the 90s at big raves.
But exactly dunno if that system had varipitch.
Never saw such machines.
Maybe just rumours.


Before DATs became the norm at psy trance parties, Sony Professional Walkmans(men??) were pretty much everywhere. Using vinyl in the heat and dust in India or Thailand was impossible without ruining all your records and probably your decks too.

The Sony portable DAT didn't have varispeed so it was pretty much impossible to beat match which is probably why Psy Trance tracks have such long intros and outros. The professional Walkman on the other hand did have varispeed so with a bit of practice it was pretty easy to beat match with out a complete car crash. A bit of a nightmare having to FF and rewind to find tracks but it did have a counter which helped.
JediDJ
Cool. Didn't know that.
Thanks for bringing the light on this one.
Of course later, Pioneer arrived. The CDJ 500s ?
For some reason nobody liked them back then.
I had a chance to play some tunes on these.
Very workable horses.
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