Awesome tapes from Africa!

Posted by on January 7th, 2011 § 0

Believe it or not, the title of this entry does not spring from my (misplaced?) enthusiasm for cassette tapes.  Not directly, anyway.

Meet Brian Shimkovitz, recently spotlighted in the Fader for his blog called (what else) Awesome Tapes from Africa.  In some ways, it would appear that Mr. Shimkovitz (Brian?) and I are brethren in our efforts simultaneously to preserve the cassette tape as a medium and to digitally disperse the contents of cassettes.  His project differs from the Listening Project superficially, of course: he collects music from all over Africa, which he then digitizes and shares on his blog.  He also draws opinion in different ways.  By sharing the contents of his tapes, Shimkovitz provides a new forum for the voices of these artists, but also makes his own point about recording media, the music industry, and access.  As the music works its magic on his readers (and listeners, I suppose), Shimkovitz’s project begs for comments; in the Fader video, he speaks specifically of the different opinions and voices that have entered into conversation on his blog.  No need to take my word for it, though… that’s what links are for.

Incidentally, it sounds a little bit like the sound for the video might have been recorded on a cassette tape, but perhaps my ears betray me.

Audacity and Audaciousness

Posted by on November 11th, 2010 § 1

I’ve had this one up my sleeve for a little while, so I think it’s about time I shared it with you.  When I describe the Listening Project, I’ve come to anticipate the question, “Why cassette tapes?” and the inevitable follow ups, “Why not go digital?” and “How are you going to convert to digital?”  I usually just reply that I have my ways and it isn’t that hard.

Now I have proof: Testing!

Behold!  A little while ago I made a quick recording to test out the tape recorders when they arrived.  As you can hear, I was a little over excited and started speaking too early (always wait at least five seconds), but you’d better believe that this digital recording was once (and actually, still is) on a cassette tape.  You’ll also probably notice that I am the most interesting and loquacious person alive.  You’re probably expecting me to say that I did this by magic… especially given my tendency to attribute most things to magic (see earlier posts).  I aim to surprise, though, and I will tell you the secrets: (1) male-male audio cables, (2) a free Audacity download, and (3) Digital Bits.

This post was sponsored in part by parentheses.

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