This favorite little thing in life goes back so far that I’ve forgotten when. Somewhere in the 80’s, back before I noticed girls or had my first 8-bit Nintendo game I found this in the house. There was no planning or plan with borrowing it from dad’s office and using a blank tape. I remember using the q – tip to try and clean the tape heads with alcohol. I remember my fascination with its mechanism and the fact that I could record myself doing little skits and singing songs. Like any child with a favorite toy it was me, cross-legged in front of the recorder, holding down play and reverse to make that screeching sound that everyone hates while I scanned for the intro. Eventually there was a second machine which had the high speed feature. Novelty of making myself into one of the Chipmunks lasted for a bit.
The use of the machine lasted to today. There is something about the solid reliability of tape that digital can’t match. I’ve used multitrack digital but it always feels like I get lost in the engineering role. I’ve used tape 4 track of course, and had so many Type 2 tapes for this but what I remember is doing a really lofi song recording with two machines recording over and over until the first track was like a distant echo. Every detail of that magic machine was a curiosity. The smell of its speaker, the buttons I never understood to use. Something about the recording process was so interesting as well, which I still find in the recording process. When it’s recorded it’s like the songs enter their own universe with strange phantom sounds and foibles. Mix tapes of songs are like a musical diary.
Oh and with the band…yeah I’ve got a couple tapes of them (switched to digital more recently out of convenience but am considering returning)
And as a kid who also liked things like Robotech and Tron there was this idea when creating any kind of battle. It’s supposed to be a gun thing from Star Wars. It just looks like…well…two pencils and a tape.
Those days are past but the use of my tape recorder still remains as the primary songwriting platform to this day. The tapes of songs are great as they can’t get lost somewhere in the bowls of a hard drive, just somewhere in my desk. I still have the Walkman that after recording a multitrack song would take it for a “test drive” walking through Cook Street Village with headphones to see if the song felt right outside of the home recording environment and see what I could change or add. And of course, for anyone who knows about my band Cookeilidh or the blog post on being a celtic bassist, yes…i still have where it all started…with an extra whimsical ” o ” 🙂
Created by TomPogson.com
Created by TomPogson.com