“The medium is the message” A quote from philosopher Marshall Mcluhan that has been beaten around & thrown into any substantial discussion surrounding cassette tapes. A rhetoric that holds true when one decides to scratch the surface on the execution of releasing music via tape. The sheer amount of thought, precision & hands-on application from the initial stages of production extends beyond the sale of the product, but continues with the listener as time, patience & appreciation are required to yield satisfaction.
Albeit the tape community, just like vinyl-collectors, can be shrouded by mis-representation & a few bad-eggs, the crux of why tapes still make a strong case in the music community today is down to the versatility of its creative outlay. It’s a chance for the artist or label to lay down any number of sonic ideas, whether it’s new material, a crunchy compilation of tracks or a synthesis of both. It’s with this conviction that has lead German label Kashual to three profound releases, the latest being from White Material’s DJ Richard.
Roman Ćinske chatted to both Kashual label boss Reilg & DJ Richard about their recent release.
Who’s apart of the Kashual label & was there any specific reason behind starting your own label?
Reilg: I started Kashual 2 years ago. The idea was to set up a label that leans towards an “art direction”, creating a nice package around music whilst following an experimental direction. Kashual is dedicated to all types of music; if I like an artist or a track, that’s the most important [for me], regardless if it’s a punk artist or a soundscape track.
It was interesting for me to do a tape release because it’s a rare medium, old school but fascinating. We grew up with it, it’s a part of our music knowledge also.
The first release was a deep & slow house 7″ by Scherbe, followed by three tapes; also from Scherbe, French artist Helmut Wang and now with DJ Richard.
Dj Richard’s tape, Terror / Erebus, is a two track release pursuing an ambient and noise direction.
We also did a collaboration with label from Dusseldorf, VFMM with a new 10inch which is a various artists such as Bufiman and RVDS.
What do you have planned for the label over the next few months?
Kashual has got exciting releases with NYC duo Georgia and a VHS release with visual and live artist Ahmet Schachbrett from Dusseldorf.
I’m pretty happy due to Kashual will be featured on Airbag crafworks website soon, along with plans to host more Kashual parties too.
Where can people find your music?
You can find Kashual releases online on our website or soundcloud, we’re also stocked at Bass Cadet Records, The Record Loft, Oye Records in Berlin,Tactile in Frankfurt and Syncrophone in Paris.
And we hope more very soon.
You spent a bit of time being back home in New York late last year, how was that?
DJ Richard: New York was New York. Thanks to Mutual Dreaming! I’m originally from Rhode Island, so i spent most of my time there.
Have you noticed any changes in your production (methods or otherwise) being influenced from moving cities?
The biggest change i have noticed is that I am simply able to commit more time towards production, living here in Berlin. I also work a lot faster. Some days i’ll end up with 3 or 4 recorded tracks.
Are these tracks made with the intention of being released or are they more for building a catalogue of sounds, loops, ideas etc for future releases?
When I started working on the tape, i had the second segment from the A-Side finished. I had considered releasing it previously but couldn’t find the right place for it. So I expanded on it.
I have trouble making catalogues of sounds for later use because its hard for me to not just turn it into a track. Sometimes I’ll revisit sounds and work them into something else, but I generally just move on to new things.
Tell us about your release with Kashual.
From the beginning, the idea for this release was to make two side-long compositions that featured zero percussion. Everything was made digitally with synthesizer and sampler. Partially inspired by the Northwest passage in the arctic. I was really excited to be asked to do a tape release, because for me it was a way to get back to a format I’ve appreciated for a long time. Way before i was collecting vinyl, i was crazy about tapes. In Rhode Island, where i grew up, most of my friends or musicians i was a fan of were predominantly releasing their music on cassette.
I’ve heard similar things about Detroit, where music was recorded & shared through tapes at markets or gigs. is the tape culture still strong in Rhode Island amongst artists?
Definitely. Tape releases greatly outweigh other formats.
For listeners who aren’t familiar with production, what is different about using cassette tapes?
For me the biggest difference with tape is the inability to instantly skip track by track. With a CD, digital file, or even a vinyl record, its easy to just scrub through a release in any order that you want. With a cassette, skipping around isn’t an exact science.
Why do you think there has been an increase in tape production?
In general I think there has been a big shift back to physical formats for releasing music. Personally, managing digital files is a nightmare, so I 100% prefer a physical object. Tapes are cheap are easy, maybe this is something people are just remembering.
It also seems to reflect a persons attitude towards the instant accessibility of music; people take the time to go digging at a store or share, collect & find cassette tapes compared to downloading a gig worth of charts.
I generally stay away from this discussion. Maybe the renewed interest in tapes is reactionary, I don’t know. I’m just glad people still use them.
Are there any tape releases that caught your attention lately?
Everything on Price Tapes and Gross Domestic Product, two cassette labels based in Providence, Rhode Island.
The one i probably listen to the most is: Bernard Herman – “1000 Masks,” released on Gross Domestic Product in 2013.
Terror & Erebus // VFMM Manifest 002 available now