Oh, that magic moment when you pushed two buttons – record and play – enabling you to record whatever you liked: top 40 songs for your beau, potential hits for your future record deal and messages for family overseas. The compact cassette, as it is officially known, helped democratise music in the 1970s and is now experiencing an unexpected revival.
Philips staffer Lou Otten, generally viewed as the medium’s inventor, talks about its development and global success thanks to his relaxed attitude towards competitor Sony. Underground icons Henry Rollins, Thurston Moore and Ian MacKaye laud the humble cassette tape, which has now been discovered by young bands and music venues as a hip analogue music medium. The spaces between Otten’s understated anecdotes and current fans’ enthusiasm is fabulously filled by excerpts from the warm sound of tapes from back in the day.