The Damned – Anything (CrO2 Audio Cassette)

The Damned - Anything Cassette 1986

Made at the height of the chromium dioxide era, this pre-record, released on the MCA label, forms a nice little nugget of nostalgia. With its black shell, silver paper label, and green tape leader, the cassette looks, as well as plays, like a quality product. Continue reading

Philips Chromium Dioxide Audio Cassette: Für Elise

Philips Chromium Dioxide Audio Cassette

This is another really nice example of a high quality chromium dioxide pre-recorded cassette tape. It’s a Philips compilation entitled Für Elise – The Magic of the Piano, which includes works by a raft of composers including Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Mussorgsky, Schumann, Rachmaninoff, Mozart, Liszt, Chopin, Brahms, Schubert and Gershwin. Continue reading

The Type II Chrome Bias Audio Cassette

The Type II high bias audio cassette is actually much older a development than many people realise. The rise of the Type II tape is generally associated with the 1980s, but in fact, it was introduced, with a chromium dioxide (CrO2) tape formulation, at the dawn of the 1970s.

Chrome tapes were, technically, a big advancement from the start. Du Pont’s chromium dioxide formulation gave an undeniable increase in high frequency response over the often rather muffled tone of the existing Type I ferric cassette. This meant much better definition – a major improvement in fidelity, and an ability to preserve all the zing and sparkle at the treble end of the original sound.

Classic 1980s BASF Chromium Dioxide Audio Cassette

A classic blast from the past, in the shape of a mid 1980s BASF CR-E II cassette. A real chromium dioxide formulation, and for many, the epitome of the high bias tape.

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Belinda Carlisle – Heaven on Earth Audio Cassette (1987)

Belinda Carlisle - Heaven on Earth Audio Cassette (1987)

For some reason, the solo career of ex-Go-Gos singer Belinda Carlisle always made me think of Feargal Sharkey – the ex-Undertones singer whose solo work had taken off slightly earlier in the decade. They were both characters from the late ’70s alternative (punk-orientated) rock scene, with a similar rapid vibrato in their voices, who turned to the mainstream in the middle of the 1980s and stormed the UK charts in major fashion. Continue reading

Aswad – Live and Direct Audio Cassette (1983)

Aswad - Live and Direct audio cassette (1983)

That music dealing with the issues felt by disillusioned and disenfranchised youth had such a presence in the early 1980s, says as much about today’s environment as it does about that of three decades ago. The issues are still there, but it feels today almost as if the music business has tried to fence off the disaffected as some kind of ‘worthless market’, unable to provide a sufficient return on a record company’s investment. Continue reading

Branded Woolworths Chrome 90 Audio Cassette

Branded Woolworths Chrome 90 Audio Cassette

Another good find, in the shape of this Woolworths Chrome 90 audio tape. Unlike the Woollies Chrome 90 and Ferric 90 I photographed in their cases for previous posts, this one actually has branding on the cassette shell. Once again, the shell is different in design, so it’s not just a matter of whether recognition was added to the cassettes – Woolworths looked to be using a range of different manufacturers. I don’t know whether this tape was made before the others, or shortly after, or even in between – but it’s clearly a 1990s offering. Somewhere between 1994 and 1998 I’d guess. It’s hard to be more specific, because the recordings now on the cassette evidently aren’t the first. Continue reading

1989 Memorex CRX IIS 60 Audio Cassette

1989 Memorex CRX IIS 60 Audio Cassette

Memorex was a very shaky brand, with a poor reputation among some circles of aficionados. But Memorex tapes did sell, with the average consumer most probably buying them on the strength of the slick TV advertising they utilised. The UK’s TV ads of 1982 initially alerted me to Memorex tapes. Continue reading