No need to knit your own royal wed­ding, you can get it on tape

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Opinion -

I’VE AL­READY got the com­mem­o­ra­tive tea towel and mug and, as you read this, I’m fu­ri­ously stitching my way through Fiona Goble’s ge­nius book Knit Your Own Royal Wed­ding. But the real fun be­gins at 1pm to­day when The royal wed­ding goes up on iTunes just min­utes af­ter the sac­ri­fi­cial daugh­ter of an air-host­ess plights her troth to a mem­ber of a rich Ger­man fam­ily that doesn’t have a good track record when it comes to deal­ing with pho­to­genic “com­mon­ers”.

Kate and Wills go­ing di­rect to iTunes is ex­pected to crash the sys­tem as gazil­lions rush to the site to have and to elec­tron­i­cally hold the en­tire ser­vice from West­min­ster Abbey com­plete with mu­sic from the Lon­don Cham­ber Orches­tra and the Royal Air Force’s Fan­fare Team. Just be thank­ful that El­ton John hasn’t been asked to do a turn.

The real break­through though with the wed­ding is not the al­most si­mul­ta­ne­ous iTunes cash-in, but the phys­i­cal for­mats be­ing used to re­lease the record­ing. There will be the CD and the de luxe more-money-than-sense spe­cial edi­tion dou­ble CD, but the big sur­prise lies in the news that the wed­ding and the mu­sic will also be re­leased on cas­sette tape.

While you may think that this is be­cause those who are ex­pected to buy this non­sense are all over 80 years old, let’s give the happy cou­ple the ben­e­fit of the doubt and be­lieve it’s be­cause the cas­sette for­mat is very “on trend” these days and, in more ways than one, is more “con­tem­po­rary” than tweet­ing your ac­tual vows.

To put this in per­spec­tive, prac­ti­cally no one re­leases on cas­sette any more. The fi­nal blow came ear­lier this year when Sony dis­con­tin­ued its once ubiq­ui­tous Walk­man.

So cas­sette is the new vinyl. Most peo­ple know that the sound from an ana­log cas­sette is not just su­pe­rior to that of a CD but is a thou­sand times bet­ter than the tin-canny din MP3s make. Go into the mu­si­cal un­der­ground out there‚ (the real one, not the one writ­ten about in style mag­a­zines) and you’ll find that TDK and Max­ell are the only names to drop.

The weird rea­son for the re­vival is the num­ber of young peo­ple buy­ing old cars. At first, they stared at the weird de­vice called a cas­sette player in their piece of junk and thought of it as be­ing de­light­fully retro. That was un­til they lib­er­ated some cas­sette tapes from their grand­par­ents’ col­lec­tions and ac­tu­ally lis­tened to the sound qual­ity.

They dis­cov­ered a whole new way of lis­ten­ing too be­cause, un­like with CDs and MP3s, they couldn’t just flick from song to song in at­ten­tion-deficit dis­or­der style. So many al­bums get lis­tened to the whole way through which, fun­nily enough, is how it was meant to be.

It’s their “out­sider” sta­tus cou­pled with their recher­ché value (be­cause they’re not be­ing made any more) that has mod­ern mu­sic’s bleed­ing edge yearn­ing for the TDKs. Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore spiffily says, “I only lis­ten to cas­settes,” while bands such as Deerhunter and Dirty Pro­jec­tors con­tinue to re­lease on the for­mat.

There is also the pre-Nap­ster/ pre-down­load charm of the C60. It was only when the record com­pa­nies digi­tised mu­sic for the CD for­mat that they wrote their own re­tire­ment notes. Ana­log was al­ways a far su­pe­rior sonic ex­pe­ri­ence to dig­i­tal, but when the switch-over came the la­bels weren’t be­ing run by au­dio­philes but ac­coun­tants.

I don’t think Wills and Kate are re­leas­ing their nup­tials on the cas­sette for­mat as a ges­ture of sol­i­dar­ity with the in­die un­der­ground, but hey, it’s a start.

Cas­sette tapes: the new vinyl

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.