If your first record player didn’t have a picture of Big Bird on it, you ain’t punk
Vinyl will never die—that’s obvious. The sound is rich and warm and the size is perfect for cover art—a 12-inch jacket is basically a poster and EPs make lovely little accents when displayed.
My last band sold cassettes at our EP release show, even though (except for a bonus song), it was available online for free. Due to the cost-effectiveness of the medium, cassettes never really left the punk scene, and with labels like Burger Records blowing up, it wasn’t much of a novelty (not that there’s anything wrong with novelty). Our drummer (an artist), even drew the inserts, so there was an added bonus of hand-drawn art to the purchase.
And I’ve seen more experimental formats for music, like a pencil and a cassette with all of the tape unwound sold in a mason jar. The idea was to use the pencil to roll the tape back up into the casing, as part of the experience. At least three bands I know have (half-jokingly, half-serious) declared their intentions to either release 8-tracks or mini-cassettes, so I’m familiar with the use of esoteric mediums for music, even the guy who made an Edison wax cylinder out of his own ear wax. Eeww!
Ottawa band, Hilotrons, however, have outdone us all, releasing nuggets of music on plastic records that only work for an all-but forgotten children’s toy. The Fisher Price record player is actually a simple wind-up music box, and each indestructible little plastic record is a spool that triggers different notes. What you get is the creepy, tinkling tones featured in the video below.
I want to be disdainful of this (if only because that’s my habit), but like I said, there’s nothing wrong with a little novelty, and the band seems to be approaching the project like a sort of self-effacing performance art—they only made five and sold them as a special package. It’s clever, really. In a time when the purchase of a physical medium has become all but a niche hobby for vinyl enthusiasts, this sort of takes the piss out of the last dying gasp of “tangible” music and its increasingly anachronistic hardware.
Anyway, I’d rather buy one of these than a CD!