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Magnetic Remanence: Another Paris Tape Run

february 19, 2012.

paris tape run 2 tapes

This is not a photograph of the case of a drugs runner, filled with illicit merchandise whose street value on black markets world-wide would be a pecuniary fortune in comparison to which my near to unbearable debts will amount to little more than a pourboire, and which would allow all of us to spend the rest of our lives in - probably also little bearable, but certainly hardly imaginable - wealth.

It is a photograph of the case of a tape runner, as it could be seen on January 18th during an A Maïzing KKWNE web radio session in a small sixth floor sans ascenseur apartment in Paris XX, where I met up with the second (that came to be after the first) Paris Tape Run's curators Anton Mobin and Julie Rousse. And with Rinus van Alebeek, the tape run's initiator and re-animator of the Staaltape cassette label, on which the sounding results of a continuing series of cassette tape runs (Paris, Brussels, Berlin...) are being released.

Staaltape and its parent company Staalplaat originated in the alternative music and art scene of Amsterdam in the early 1980s, when, inspired by the first ever Dutch DIY cassette music overview & catalogue (Cassettes in Nederland, that I wrote & compiled for the 13th issue of Vinyl magazine in April 1982), Geert-Jan Hobijn decided Staalplaat would stop being a second hand vinyl record squatters-shop, and concentrate on the then very new medium for independent music production and distribution: the cassette, the mp3 of the 1980s. (Dutch viewers can read all about the early history of Staalplaat and Staaltape on pages 339-343 of Ultra, my upcoming book on the rise and fall of Dutch experimental post-punk pop music in the years 1978-1983.)

It was a curious warp & twist of time, to find myself thirty years later somewhere in Paris facing a case full of brand-new hand-packaged Staaltape cassettes, each single one of them being an analogue labor of love: Rinus hand-packaged & painted every single one of the forty and some tapes, and provided each one with a small paper inlay/index typed on a mechanical type writer. Almost all of the tapes in the case were gifts: Rinus gave them to the artists -| rive droite side :such:, fusiller, (nox factio), dinahbird, anton mobin | rive gauche side xiuhcoatl, perrine en morceaux, bérangère maximin & colin johnco, jassem hindi, julie rousse |- that were part of this second Parisian Tape Run, in return for their contribution.

It makes every single copy of these Paris Tape Run tapes unique & priceless, even though it is still possible to get copies at Staalplaat's, for as ridiculously little as five euros... If only I'd be able to earn some spare money, as a night porter, for example, or even as a drugs runner, God knows I'd buy all of them.

Most copies, still packed or already played and unpacked, will be somewhere around Paris now, the source of all of its sounds and music. The tape's official release party was at the Instants Chavirés in Montreuil, on Friday January 27th. As by then Rinus had left the French capital, I had the honor and pleasure to act as the master of ceremonies on that fine and festive occasion, that brought all of the participating artists together, for ten short performance in the order of their appearance on the tape. It made the scene of the Instants look as if it were the Mission Control for our first steps on Mars...

prt2 Instants

prt such prt perrine
prt anton mobin prt julie rousse

It was a highly memorable evening, indeed, thanks to all participating artists, that gave us lots of good noise and laughter. Instants chavirés, indeed (on, but, and not in the least, also behind the scenes), richly topped with bourbon, beer & snacks.

paris tape run artist lounge paris tape run artist lounge
paris tape run artist lounge

Equally memorable, though far, far, far more sober & austere - with respect to equipment, sound, drink, food and temperature - was the Magnetic Remanence event that took place ten days earlier, on January 17th, at the wonderful-but-cold-in-wintertime La Générale Nord-Est on the avenue Parmentier in Paris. It brought all of us Diktat-eurs together again, for one of our rare performances.

MR Diktat

You can listen to the full (some 20+ minutes) recording of Diktat's Magnetic Remanence performance at La Générale as a KKWNE podcast, courtesy Anton Mobin. It is a recording worth your attention. Well into its sixth year of existing & performing, Diktat is approaching mastery, which (unsurprisingly, I'd say) comes with a continuing limitation, and efficiency in use, of its means.

diktat shadow diktat shadow

Meanwhile my 'dictaphonic equipment' continues to degrade. Only one of my Sony dictaphones is working properly. I used it to record my principal sonic material for this Diktat performance. That was the day before the concert, on the high speed train from Amsterdam to Paris, where I was seated next to a journalist of a big Dutch newspaper and two fans, who all were invited by Leonard Cohen's record company to attend the presentation of the artist's new CD, that evening of January 16th in the French capital.

There will be no repair or replacement. I probably will just let nature take its proper course, and degrade the little machines into oblivion. Eventually there'll be nothing left but little unsounding boxes, that I then may move back and forth, train-like, on wooden tracks, like I did a couple of days later (on January 22nd) in Le Bouillon Belge, where Rinus van Alebeek and I were Hollands Spoor...

Hollands Spoor

[ The plastic native American was part of the set-up at Le Bouillon Belge, in honor of zeromoon/violet/Jeff Surak, who had come flying over from Washington for a short European winter tour with Rinus. ]

Other tape events that same week (January 17th-22nd) in Paris included a short live unplugged performance at Radio Aligre FM's Songs of Praise emission and an A Maïzing KKWNE web radio session at Anton Mobin's, all of which, of course, could be followed as an illustrated stream of Soundblog tweets.

Here's a short chronological digest.

radio aligre
Bangkok dictaphone

tags: cassette, magnetic tape, Diktat

# .417.

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