At the Front Lines of the Cassette Invasion

posted on 10/2012   By: Last Rites

Early reports can now be confirmed: the invasion is upon us. A long dead relic of the past has arisen, back to claim the throne it once sat upon. The cassette -- that deteriorating, misshapen and oft-entangling demon of past horrors -- has returned from the pit whence it was rightfully cast, recruiting minions through subterfuge and infiltrating our musical infrastructure. No one is quite sure how this happened, but police are linking the monster’s release from obscurity to a secretive group known only as El Sótano de las Abuelas Kvltas.

Rumor has it that El Sótano was able to acquire an old machine from wandering gypsies, a device that retired librarian Janet Worth described as a “deck.” While it could not be confirmed at press time, the machine was thought to produce sound when one of these foul cassettes was inserted, like some act of deviant mechanical fornication. “It was a mistake that history meant to erase, a grotesque remnant of evolution’s past,” cited historian Gerald Yinsh, continuing, “Only a truly misguided human being, through unspeakable rites, would dare attempt to resurrect such a thing. It is abomination.”

But resurrected they were. Representatives from the cassettes state that their presence is peaceful. They claim to have returned only when they were wanted, hoping that they would be welcomed as liberators by those who felt trapped by the flat, overly precise digital age. Some relate their return to a similar resurgence of the record, an even more ancient and archaic being than the tape itself, but Yinsh feels differently. “Records never truly went away, and with properly accommodating equipment, are actually quite kind to our senses, almost nurturing.” Yinsh went on to describe records’ relationships with a music consumer as symbiotic, but would only reserve one word for the invader: parasite.

Long-time record store owner Jim Ferguson knows all too well about these parasitic tendencies. “I remember liking the tapes when they first came to town,” he said when recalling their original reign. “They came with the promise of more music in my car, which was really nice of them… but after a while, they… changed…” Ferguson then broke down in tears, but amid rambling and weeping, he recalled horror stories of how the cassettes to whom he showed nothing but affection would slowly, methodically destroy the music he loved, and even go so far as to attempt to murder his car’s tape deck. “They killed Robert Fripp, they killed Robert Fripp,” he wailed in a fit of recalled terror. “The damnable vermin even attacked my Cutlass from the inside, spewing itself out like some sort of twisted mechanical xenomorph. No mercy… no mercy whatsoever.”


 

Dale Jinkowski, town menace and known child pornographer, has a different view altogether. “Frankly, I think we should welcome the tapes back into our lives,” he stated with an empty grin, “I always liked the way that the song titles were often listed on the cover so I could tell which album had the hits. And mix tapes? Oh, I made good use of mix tapes…” Another to voice support for the invasion is Christian Hurdle, DIY label owner and show promoter. “I personally can tell that cassettes offer a superior listening experience because I hear it with my magic ears.” Hurdle went on to state that the cassette gives him a more involved listening process beyond just hitting play in iTunes. “I mean, what am I supposed to do, just enjoy the music for how it’s written, performed, and recorded? Please, it’s the process that matters, not the content.”

Despite these views being the minority, the cassette’s ill-begotten rebellion is gaining steam and zombie-like support. In response, Jim Ferguson, ashamed of his emotional fragility during his first interview, requested a follow-up. But when granted he simply handed over a simple statement, calling it a warning and call-to-arms for “the reasonable, moral common good.” Here is that statement:

“I call on thee, good citizen. The tape menace means only to feed on our beloved music and sense of self-worth, growing in power with each play-through, rewind, and dub. Do not let the threat spread, as you will find yourself in auditory bondage. Do your part: Smash a tape.”

Ferguson’s rallying call is already forming into a resistance, but the enemy is not at rest. At press time it was believed that El Sótano was planning its next step, mobilizing a long defunct gang known as Da8Trax and reportedly doing preliminary research on a video format that, according to witnesses, “looked like a shiny LP.” Furthermore, El Sótano’s propaganda has been spotted all over in recent weeks, all appearing in a purple hue that some believe is the result of a machine simply called a “ditto.” While the existence of such a device could not be confirmed, the threat is undeniable.

 

 

 

 

[Zach Duvall*]

*Thinks that resurrecting cassettes is a very, very stupid idea that really can't be justified logically, but not quite as dumb as releasing records that can't actually be played...