Monday, November 09, 2009

Ode To The Jolly Cassette: They were a much better friend than the 8-Track cartridge as we could record our music on them. In their day they were, and in some ways still are (almost) the perfect way to record our tunes.
Yet there seems to be no 100% foolproof method of recording which cannot suffer damage either physically or through neglect. 78rpm records broke easily, vinyl LP's can be scratched and warp if not stored vertically; tapes stretch and became chewed up in the sound heads; and even the supposedly indestructable CD has its downsides, especially those burned at home; which can hop, skip and jump, or the laser just refuses to pick up the track to play them.
Tape has another setback in that over a period of time, the magnetic oxide which holds the recorded sound decays and falls off. Thus, the rather archaic method of baking the tapes in a warm domestic oven; an extremely exacting practice as you can imagine; to stick the oxide back on, is normal practice in the recording industry.
And when the CD was developed and just about everything was re-released in far superior quality, some of the actual Master Tapes were found to have been previously recorded upon, subsequently wiped, and then re-recorded on again. Apparently, Cream's 'Disraeli Gears' Master Tapes were found to be in this category, amongst others, whereas it would be assumed that every band paying for studio time would have brand new tape as a matter of courtesy.
But apparently, someone invented an everlasting match, but the match industry bought the patent and locked it away in a safe. The match industry didn't need an everlasting match any more than the music industry needs indestructable vinyl, tape or CD's; because they can't make money on products which last forever.
Everything wears out eventually, including us.