Archive for the ‘Cassette pets’ Category

The Cure ‘Seventeen Seconds’ UK Cassette (Fiction, FIXC004, 1980)

Friday, August 31st, 2012

In selecting the items that appear on this blog, there’s no particular rhyme or reason. Sometimes I’ll choose to focus on genuinely rare and elusive items, other times go into almost forensic detail in displaying the contents of a particular re-issue or special edition – and on occasions like this, choose something that is not especially rare or unique but just has a little something odd from the more common release.

Cassettes are often one of those things that people could care less for. And with good reason – for a good long while they were (in the UK at any rate) very much the poor relation of the format family – often more expensive than the vinyl LP, but coming with only a a bare minimum of packaging – lyrics? inner sleeve? picture label? poster? gatefold? Nahh… just a simple J-card inlay with nary so much as any picture apart from the front. And more often than not hissy in the sound quality department. Little wonder they had their detractors.

This particular Cure cassette is a prime example of the bare minimum of packaging. (Not, I hasten to add, that the original vinyl LP pushed the boat out either, it didn’t even come with an inner lyric sleeve initially.) To be fair though, cassettes did have their moment in the sun for a period in the ’80s with the advent of the Walkman – then fold-out lyrics inserts, chrome quality and extra tracks would regularly be added as enticements.

The Cure 'Seventeen Seconds' cassette

^ The Cure ‘Seventeen Seconds’ cassette


‘From Brussels With Love’ compilation cassette (Les Disques Du Crépuscule, TWI 007)

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Where does one start on ‘From Brussels With Love’? Something of a who’s who of low-key, left-field acts, mostly contributing original, unreleased material, from the minimal synth jingles of John Foxx that bookend proceedings through a demo version of Thomas Dolby’s lush ‘Airwaves’, a healthy outing for Factory acts including A Certain Ratio, Kevin Hewick (with New Order backing him on this outing), Durutti Column and even Factory’s resident producer, Martin Hannett, contributing a piece. Harold Budd, Gavin Bryars and Michael Nyman feature too, along with an interview with Brian Eno himself, whose ‘Obscure Records’ label unite all three in some form.

There have also been numerous re-issues over the years on LP and CD, with variations in tracklisting and sleeve designs – further info on those on the website entry. The most recent re-issue, a CD from 2007 on LTM Publishing (Les Temps Modernes) LTMCD 2479, is the most faithful to the original cassette release.

I’ll let the pictures do the talking on the cassette packaging. This is my own copy, I believe there were variations to the original cassette release, such as including a badge.

'From Brussels With Love' cassette package front cover design

^ ‘From Brussels With Love’ cassette package front cover design

'From Brussels With Love' cassette package back cover design and cassette

^ ‘From Brussels With Love’ cassette package back cover design and cassette


The Cure: ‘Faith’/’Carnage Visors’ UK cassette (Fiction FIXC6, 1981)

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Long before the CD age, cassette tapes were the lucky medium which would find itself carrying bonus material, such as the occasional cassette-only bonus track, remixes and so on. (For another such example, have a look at New Musik’s ‘Anywhere’ cassette from a previous entry.)

The Cure 'Faith'/'Carnage Visors' UK cassette (front)

^ The Cure ‘’Faith’/‘Carnage Visors’ UK cassette (front)

In the case of The Cure’s 1981 album ‘Faith’, the cassette came with a whole extra side-long piece, ‘Carnage’ Visors’, which was the soundtrack to the stop-motion movie that The Cure showed on their 1981 ‘Picture Tour’ live dates. A slower, wordless, meandering piece with wave-like builds and peaks, the piece managed to attract The Cure comparisons to Pink Floyd in contemporary reviews. Built from guitar, keyboard, bass and drum machine, its sonically in the same space as much of ‘Faith’ and ‘Pornography’, those Pink Floyd comparisons no doubt just down to the ambitious side-long sprawl of its length.

The Cure 'Faith'/'Carnage Visors' UK cassette (back and cassette)

^ The Cure ‘Faith’/‘Carnage Visors’ UK cassette (back and cassette)


Side by side: Associates ‘Sulk’ UK / European / US variations

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

If you are a fan of the Associates then ‘Sulk’ needs no introduction, being easily a high water mark for them and their particularly unique take on pop – but the variations on this release cause some confusion and probably you have a different idea of what exactly constitutes this album depending on when or where you bought it…

^ Side by side: Outer and inner sleeves of the original UK (left-hand side) and later European issues of 'Sulk' (right-hand side) on vinyl

^ Side by side: Outer and inner sleeves of the original UK (left-hand side) and later European issues of ‘Sulk’ (right-hand side) on vinyl

For me, the definitive version is the one I bought just after it came out in Britain;

‘Sulk’ (Associates/Beggars Banquet, ASCL1, vinyl LP)
Side One:

  1. Arrogance Gave Him Up
  2. No
  3. Bap De La Bap
  4. Gloomy Sunday
  5. Nude Spoons

Side Two:

  1. Skipping
  2. It’s Better This Way
  3. Party Fears Two
  4. Club Country
  5. nothinginsomethingparticular

A few notes before moving on… prior to the album’s release, ‘Party Fears Two’, ‘It’s Better This Way’ and ‘Club Country’ had all been released on singles – the versions on this album edition are all different to any from the singles. (more…)

‘Dreams and Desires’ tape (Pleasantly Surprised, PS006, 1984)

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

‘Dreams and Desires’ was one the ‘Pleasantly Surprised’ series of various artist cassette compilations that appeared throughout the first half of the ’80s, this particular example hailing from late 1984. The sleeve design clearly has a nod and a wink to the Joy Division feel of ‘Closer’, while musically the selection is something of a feast for fans of the 4AD label, with demo/instrumental versions to be found from several of the then current 4AD stable.

Cassette - 'Dreams' side

^ Cassette – \’Dreams\’ side

Cassette - 'Desires' side

^ Cassette – \’Desires\’ side