Wednesday, August 13, 2014

CASSETTE REVIEW: Captain Mission “Analog Space” (Kassette Kult Tapes)

                This is the first release on Kassette Kult Tapes, which is a new cassette based label started by Hal McGee who, if for nothing else, should be known because of the whole Museum of Microcassette Art project he has that I am trying my hardest to review all the releases for one day.    So what you need to know going into this is that even though it’s the first release you shouldn’t be too worried as to the quality as it in the hands of a veteran cassette artist.   Also, I’m glad to see some physical releases from Hal McGee, who I hope would one day release some of the MOMA cassettes in a physical capacity (Wishful thinking)

                As you visit the website for this, it tells you all about how the cassettes are individually dubbed, j-cards are printed in black and white and it even details the cassettes being used here.    It’s one of these things that is an example in how you should go about starting a cassette label, should you want to do so, without having your quality suffer.     Essentially, despite the fact that Hal McGee seems to be putting these altogether himself, they do not feel like it and have a most excellent quality to them in terms of packaging.

                “Analog Space” begins with what sounds like a space shuttle launching, which seems only fitting given the cassette title itself as well as the artist name.   There are elements of synth and static in here, also some 8bit and it just gives off that vibe of Space Invaders which is somewhat expected based upon what you know going into it (artist/title)  

                Amidst drum machine beats are some distorted patches of synth, which can also bring out a clearer sound not too unlike a dial tone.   It feels a little bit like a cop out to imagine this music as being so closely related to what the name of it suggests, such as I should have come up with something a bit cleverer and less directly implied, but it is what it is and that’s what I hear.   This could have been called something that had absolutely nothing to do with outer space and I’d hear the exact same things. 

                There is a distinct portion at the end of the first side that comes out sounding like “Flight of the Bumblebee”, which admittedly does not have to do with space so much, but it also does parallel Doctor Who as well and that brings us back out there.

                While the music of Captain Mission has some modern touches to it, on the whole it does sound like something that would have been released in the heyday of cassettes and thus on cassette originally.   Playing around with modern music and finding what does and does not work on this medium is always fun, but when you have something that just fits so perfectly on cassette you cannot help but love it that much more. 

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