The clunky old cassette format is downright fashionable again, one of many throwbacks enjoying a kitschy revival. The nostalgia is not without cause: cassettes hearken to a different time in the enjoyment of music, when gifting a mixtape was among the fondest gestures of communication. To share music was an active, involved process requiring research, creativity, endless tweakery, and in times of desperation, scotch tape to cover punched protection tabs.
However, this cassette-only split EP team-up by Mondo Deco and Honyock is different from most current tape drops. The bands are taking a truly authentic approach to a cassette release.
Forsaking the convenience of modern digital recording, the two bands tracked to an ancient narrow-width prosumer tape deck. The process was old-school DIY cheap, right down to their reuse of previously tracked tapes. Oh, and of course to look the part, they made it all in a garage.
The EP has a rawness and intimacy often lacking in releases produced nowadays. Digital production techniques offer advanced recording and editing sorcery to even the most lowly-of-budget bedroom musicians, methods not yet imagined during the height of the humble cassette.
Mondo Deco frontman Jeremy Greene characterized the difference in taping: “There are fewer chances to second-guess ourselves just because it’s convenient. Honestly, it’s been nice to take away options and learn to trust our gut responses to solid takes again.”
Tape-hiss, flutter, and other unmissed remnants and artifacts of the cassette era have resurfaced on this recording. Yet, there is something instantly familiar about the sound. In spite of the inherent obstacles (or perhaps because of said obstacles), the bands have carved out something sonically evocative of early independent recordings. And it is that character -- not the cassette medium itself -- that is the most sweetly nostalgic quality of this EP.
The EP, titled Supercassette H/MD, is scheduled for release April 22, 2016, with a celebration that night.