In 1987 and 1988, I was a trainee working with a group of largely incompetent painters and decorators…. Papering walls, doing odd jobs, accidentally pulling down the odd ceiling, and once in a while being ordered to take a door off its hinges and burn it because the customer was so dissatisfied with the painting. Invariably, we’d have the radio on, and Voice of the Beehive tracks such as I Walk The Earth and Don’t Call Me Baby would keep us as enthusiastic as was feasible. When this Album – Let It Bee – was released in June ‘88, combining existing hits with new or lesser known songs, I bought it straight away. Continue reading
I first became aware of The Smithereens in the mid 1980s when they played live on a UK ‘alternative entertainment TV show’. I’m guessing it was probably Saturday Live, but if not, it was certainly a variety format because I remember one of the comedians cracking a rather cheap, desperate and poorly-executed joke about the lead singer’s comb-over. Continue reading
Classy look, classy tape. This is TDK‘s MA-X Type 4 metal bias audio cassette, from 1988. Metal tapes as a breed reproduced the best frequency range of all the four types, as well as accepting high volume levels without running into distortion. This tape has certainly made a great job of preserving an ‘album’ of my own songs, as recorded on a home multi-tracker in 1988. The multitracker (a Tascam Portastudio – see HERE and HERE for more details) would not allow the use of metal tapes, so the track-building itself would have to be done on a chrome (CrO2) cassette. However, the final stereo master would be recorded from the Portastudio onto a separate stereo cassette deck, which did allow the use of metal tapes – hence the option to employ this TDK MA-X 46.
A few years on from the TDK Super Avilyn tape I photographed for THIS POST, the TDK SA cassette had evolved into what you see here. This is a 1988 example, and despite less than four years’ timespan between the two variants, the one depicted here looks markedly different from the 1984 version on that link. The multi-track (Portastudio) format recording this tape preserves is from the early 1990s, so I’m guessing that won’t have been the first material I put onto it. Typically for a TDK SA, the sound is very good.
The cassette’s ‘anti-resonance’ build is denoted on the shell, and this was something various manufacturers seemed to get quite excited about. However, I found it hard to consider as anything much more than a gimmick. If a cassette was made properly, it really shouldn’t have problems with resonance in the first place, so the boast always seemed to me like the manufacturers were trying to get us to regard basic standards as some kind of bonus.