Thursday, February 5, 2015

Cassette Review: Ray Zinnbrann "TIME TUNNEL 1983-1988" (Illuminated Paths)

[$10 // Edition of 25 //]

I'd be hard pressed to admit that one of the biggest reasons why I like this cassette so much and am just so overall fascinated by it is because it is from the mid to late 1980's.    At that time I was still quite young, but cassettes were a thing I'm just not sure how readily available the means to record on them were because I do remember a time when you couldn't record onto a cassette but the players still existed.  

There exists this raw, punk quality to the sound of Ray Zinnbrann which combines with the lo-fi sounds of a home recording.    It's rough fuzzy guitars that can become rather fast paced ala Cafeteria Dance Fever, TSOL or Guttermouth.    One song turns into a rap and he mentions J Dilla over human beat-boxing.    Through instrumental numbers of doom the pace can increase to find a spot somewhere between Bouncing Souls and Nirvana.    it's something that as it stands, for the influences it has, maintains a level of sincerity that cannot be matched and based on that merit alone this should be an instant classic.

My biggest piece of this puzzle though is the time frame.   Most lost cassettes come from either the late 1990's when people were still making cassettes despite the impending compact disc takeover and then in the early 2000's as well because that was when the cassette almost became extinct for something like ten years.

What strikes me as funny though is that when thinking of and pulling out these reference points of other musicians, I can't imagine this actually being influenced by, say, the rough demos of Nirvana that were on that "With The Lights Out" boxed set because that wasn't even created until long after this.  

Thinking about it in that sense though shows you just what it can mean to be truly ahead of your time.   That notion gets tossed around a lot, and perhaps too much even, but this is a perfect example of an artist ahead of their time because you think it's influenced by closer to modern artists yet this came first and who knows if it even influenced the modern artists.  

Listening to this is like finding a cassette from the 1900's that had music on it that could be classified as the rock n roll sound made most famous by Elvs Presely and it being noted that he and other contemporaries could not have possibly had any knowledge of its existence.   Except for the fact that, you know, that would be impossible (A cassette in the early 1900's?  Nope.) and this is not only an entirely possible scenario here but it is in fact sitting right in front of me.

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