<p>There’s just an erase head between you and infinite possibilities… on cassette tape.</p>
There’s a growing population that will agree that cassette tapes were the height of the physical medium for music. Records are sweet, and sound sweet, and are great to collect, but they’re heavy and not so portable. CDs are designed to deteriorate. mp3’s are clearly the most convenient choice, but those aren’t physical at all, are they?
Tapes are awesome because, not only are they storage devices for music, you can manipulate the sounds on tape directly. This is the concept that Son of Salami’s music relies on. By disabling the erase head, which clears the tape of content before you record onto it, Salami creates his compositions by layering tracks directly onto the tape.
A byproduct of this is that you are unable to hear the track you are recording over, so imagine recording vocals without being able to hear the backing track. Not a singer? Imagine drawing a picture of a bowl of fruit with your eyes closed. Don’t like fruit? Imagine getting hit in the head with an apple. There, now you hate fruit even more.
But let’s get back on track with a Son of Salami song that uses this method.
Yes, yes, we all hear the hints of Wesley Willis and Ariel Pink, but it’s clear that Son of Salami’s process is much more painstaking. But it must be so rewarding to discover little tricks like this one.
Also, if you hold down fast forward completely while recording, you can record audio that can only be heard properly while playing in fast forward and backwards in rewind. When played at normal speed the audio sounds like big bass rumbles. This is a fun trick for leaving subliminal messages in songs.
Brilliant, and kind of scary at the same time. How great is it that this guy exists, is rather prolific, and likes to share his knowledge of recording on tape? If you’re interested in trying his technique out for yourself, here are some instructions straight from Son (as far as we’re concerned, the only son) of Salami.
To locate an erase head on a portable tape recorder, hit eject to open the tape door, then stick your finger in to the to left corner and you should feel a small metal lever. While holding that down press record and play. Up should pop two heads. The smaller one to the left is the erase head. Remove it however you want. I always use a steak knife.
To hear more of Son of Salami’s music, check him out on his Soundcloud.