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I am again not doing NaNoWriMo this year. My streak continues! Um, yay? But I think I will try the LJ post-a-day trick I've tried for the last few years, inspired by quickcasey and his doppelgänger quetico.

I started a new phase of the tape digitizing and archiving project I started in November of 2012. Originally I was working with tapes I recorded on my first four-track cassette recorder, a Fostex X-15 which I purchased in 1987, I think. So those tapes were recorded in the later 1980s and early 1990s, and were interesting artifacts, I guess I would say. I put a few of these tracks on my Soundcloud page as an experiment, and they're still there, for better or worse.

Today I started working with tapes recorded on my second beast, a Tascam Portastudio 414. This one recorded tapes at double the regular speed of cassette players, 3 3/4 inches per second versus 1 7/8 inches per second. The faster speed gives better quality recording, but also renders the tapes unplayable on any other equipment but the Tascam. My goal now is to pipe the Tascam into my CD recording deck, do a quick-and-dirty mix, and commit this analog stuff to digital. I don't expect to get anything immediately usable, since the recordings will fall into one of these categories:
  • Unfinished songs, including snippets of guitar licks that were cool but subsequently ignored;
  • Unauthorized cover songs that I was only having fun with;
  • Open mic performances recorded at Xhedos Cafe by jjfmi or perhaps even at Gotham City Cafe.
The likelihood of anything rising to the level of Bob Dylan's basement tapes is vanishingly small if not negative. But I may recover a song or two that I can rework to make it useful again. I enjoy revisiting these and rediscovering the odd really cool bit I forgot.

It's a project that needs to be done now if it ever does. The tapes are deteriorating and so is the machinery. So I'll see what I get, and report on anything cool.



( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 2nd, 2015 02:41 am (UTC)
Darn this LJ. No fave button. We actually have to reply with something.
As far as I'm concerned, Casey is the mask I hide behind. The good shepherd, as it were.
Nov. 2nd, 2015 02:44 am (UTC)
As if anyone believes you anymore. Your auto-biography reads like bad fiction. If I am a figment of your imagination, at least I don't inspire the villagers to get the torches and pitchforks.
Nov. 2nd, 2015 04:28 pm (UTC)
If you pups don't behave, I'm turning this journal around and don't think I won't do it!
Nov. 2nd, 2015 06:33 am (UTC)
It sounds like a really interesting project. It must be rather a blast from the past for you. Do you come a across much that you completely forget about?
Nov. 2nd, 2015 04:49 pm (UTC)
I did find forgotten gems with the original project (rough gems, I must add!). I think there are a couple with the new phase that I'll find as I go. So many of my tapes are songs that ended up on my CD releases -- practice runs at recording, basically -- and I'm actually not listening to them this time, just because they've been superseded by "final" versions. Last night, I found some of the guitar snippets of ideas, which I had forgotten and are pretty nice.
Nov. 2nd, 2015 11:24 pm (UTC)
Charlie - you got your 4-track equipment working? I remember you had borrowed mine a few years ago because you had no way to play those tapes (only to find that my Tascam deck wasn't working either). If you took yours in, where? I have a similar collection I'd like to digitize, while the tapes exist.
Nov. 3rd, 2015 12:17 pm (UTC)
I have no idea, btw, why that came out as "anonymous", but that was me who wrote that.
Nov. 4th, 2015 02:51 am (UTC)
I remember ... I think your Tascam deck runs at normal tape speed, right? The one I'm working with is double normal speed -- I would lend it to you if it would be any help. I haven't taken either deck in for service, so the old one is still pretty much dead. (Unless I take it apart and somehow make it work again, which I wouldn't count on.)
Nov. 4th, 2015 03:14 pm (UTC)
Mine has 2 speeds (normal and high) - you had borrowed it some years ago with the intention of undertaking your current project, but the playback function locked up on mine. I've been meaning to take mine in to get it running again, if only to be able to digitize the tracks I recorded with it - not sure who even works on such antiques.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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