[1981] – ‘Cassette’ Mix (2005)


‘Cassette’ is the sixth of nine mixes from the ‘1981’ box set to be posted here at Musicophilia (the first five can be found here, with detailed information about the project at the first mix, ‘Feet‘).  The mix began with a focus on the lo-fi and twee strains of post-punk in the box’s 1st edition.  By this, the 4th edition revision, the disc had mutated into something rather broader.  There’s still a commonality of unabashedly amateur means, a certain ramshackle sensibility, and a decided quirkiness that means you’ll mistake none of it for, say, Echo & The Bunnymen.  But stylistically and sonically, ‘Cassette’ became one of the most eclectic mixes in the set.  Partially this can be credited to its ‘Miniatures‘-like emphasis on brevity: 35 artists and tracks in its CD length means it never lingers any one place too long.  But in the odder, proto-home-recording edges of post-punk, limited means did not shape the aesthetic as much as with later, more voluntarily “lo-fi” music.  So here you’ll find cassette-trade-worthy takes on perfect pop, bristly punk, electropop, DNW, proto-Indie, Rock in Opposition, avant garde feminist art-rock, with an emphasis on the scruffier, scuzzier end of early synthpunk.

There are a few “known” names here (now, whether they were so much at the time): The Clean, Felt, Tall Dwarfs, Half Japanese, The Fall, Television Personalities, and the Violent Femmes.  But this disc almost certainly has the highest percentage of any ‘1981’ disc of unknowns-to-be-known-later and pretty-much-always-unknowns.  The artists you do know, but in early permutations or flying solo: Laughing Apples feature Andrew Innes later of Primal Scream; Ben Watts shows up here solo, best known as one half of Everything But the Girl with ex-Marine Girl Tracey Thorn; Biting Tongues included Graham Massey, later of 808 State; Plasticland is here in their earliest iteration (with Brian Ritchie of the Femmes), as are Aztec Camera.  There are Midwesterners (including many Hoosiers) like Social Climbers, Dow Jones & The Industrials, Dancing Cigarettes, Amoebas in Chaos, Philosophic Collage, and Human Switchboard; West Coasters The Beakers, Nervous Gender, Monitor, and Voice Farm; and excellent New Yorkers Thick Pigeon.  Not American are the 49 Americans, a well-connected London artist-amateur coalition that included David Toop; along with other Brits like Ludus (sometimes known for being Morrissey’s pals), The Fall-related Blue Orchids, recently-reissued Diagram Brothers, and Flux of Pink Indians; lovely French Young Marble Giants doppelgangers Fall of Saigon; and Germans Der Plan and the very reissue-worthy Neonbabies.  All this, on two sides of the elusive C80: the perfect sound for your new Walkman or Stowaway.  Full tracklist and download link after the “more…” link.

1 9 8 1  |  Cassette

01  Clean, The – Billy Two  [2:22]
02  Fall, The – Lie Dream of a Casino Soul  [3:09]
03  Dow Jones & The Industrials – Ladies With Appliances  [2:22]
04  Ludus – Mutilate  [2:33]
05  Nervous Gender – Fat Cow  [2:37]
06  49 Americans – Love at first sight  [1:23]
07  Plasticland – Office Skills  [1:43]
08  Beakers, The – Four Steps Toward A Cultural Revolution  [1:29]
09  Felt – Something Sends Me to Sleep  [2:54]
10  Work – Duty  [1:02]
11  Fall of Saigon – Blue Eyes  [2:00]
12  Blackouts, The – Dead Man’s Curve  [3:26]
13  Scapa Flow – Somewhere  [2:41]
14  Dancing Cigarettes – Mr  Morse  [1:23]
15  Amoebas In Chaos – Designer Genes  [1:28]
16  Tall Dwarfs – All My Hollowness to You  [2:20]
17  Monitor – Amphibious  [3:04]
18  Dolphins – She Took a Long Cold Look  [1:20]
19  Blue Orchids – Bad Education  [2:28]
20  Watt, Ben – Departure  [1:34]
21  Neonbabies – Profi  [Edit]  [3:20]
22  Voice Farm – AM City  [Edit]  [1:31]
23  Laughing Apple – Wouldn’t You  [2:16]
24  Social Climbers – Hello Texas  [2:09]
25  Der Plan – Das Insekt  [1:30]
26  Biting Tongues – Reflector  [2:40]
27  Flux of Pink Indians – Sick Butchers  [2:27]
28  Aztec Camera – Lost Outside The Tunnel  [3:29]
29  Diagram Brothers – Bricks  [2:43]
30  Human Switchboard – I Used to Believe in You  [3:56]
31  Half Japanese – My Knowledge Was Wrong  [0:55]
32  Television Personalities – This Angry Silence  [2:38]
33  Philosophic Collage – Toxic Poppies  [1:32]
34  Violent Femmes – Waiting For The Bus  [Demo]  [2:07]
35  Thick Pigeon – Silhouettes  [3:23]

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9 thoughts on “[1981] – ‘Cassette’ Mix (2005)

  1. Thanks for letting me know, Phil–they all seem to work for me, even when I clear my cache, but I guess I can’t be sure. . .

  2. That does suck. Always hate to find out beloved rock stars (“even” punk-rock-stars) are assholes and creeps or even criminals–but it’s not really surprising. Still, doesn’t ruin the music he made however many years prior.

  3. Actually Giblet, the 49 American’s mainman IS American!
    Knew him quite well back in London Late 70’s and early 80’s…He was a good friend of Nag and Bendle (The Door & The Window) and then also had running the Japanese American Toy Theater with Kazikho (from The Frank Chickens) who would do a version of say ‘On The Road’ with… yip toys!

  4. Ha, that’s funny! I’ve “spoken” with him via MySpace a year or two ago, seemed a lovely person–and I still didn’t know he was actually American. Sounds like such a fun scene, theirs–would’ve liked to have seen people like David Toop acting silly! I like the Door & The Window–can’t remember if I’ve mixed them. . .

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