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Image of the Week: Cassette Tape Loop

The word “tape” has long since moved from specific physical reference to metaphor. Most tape loops and mix tapes and tape recordings today are entirely digital, and the word “tape” serves as an aura-enhancing vestige of a time and place way back when and where those metaphors originated.

In the past year, the cassette tape has seen something of a resurgence, in large part thanks to the development of dedicated cassette-tape record labels. It’s also popped up in furniture design and illustration (and even as a Marc Jacobs USB-hub gadget), but in most cases when the cassette appears it’s as a totem of a time long gone.

Below is an image of an elegant cassette-tape loop constructed by Marc Fischer, a member of the duo Unrecognizable Now (whom I wrote about last month: disquiet.com).

As he explains it, it’s based on an earlier design, and his attempt involved using as much of the interior cassette space as possible. It’s lovely how the familiar mechanisms of a cassette tape appear in a slightly unfamiliar setup, how the looping device retains the structural integrity of the original, and simply builds upon it. This isn’t nostalgia, and nor is it ironic; it’s a logical step forward for a device that time hasn’t quite forgotten.

More on Fischer’s tape-loop experiment at unrecnow.com/dust. He’s promised audio examples in the near future.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • about

  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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