Cassette Store Day debuts in Philippines on October 13

Photo by NIKKI BONUEL/cnnphilippines

By Rick Olivares/abs-cbn.com – Just can’t get enough of retro stuff? Well, it is time to rewind once more because vinyl isn’t the only music format that has comeback from the grave. The cassette tape is back in a big way and this coming Saturday (October 13) the Philippines will officially join the international community in celebrating Cassette Store Day.

A spin-off from the massively popular Record Store Day that is also responsible for the resurgence of vinyl, Cassette Store Day is on its sixth staging after it was started in England by several independent labels.

Cassette Store Day Philippines will be celebrated at Spindle Hole Records, Unit 14 Penthouse Level, Creekside Mall, Amorsolo Street, Makati City.

Organized by United Cassettes Philippines along with other independent dealers, the first ever local Cassette Store Day will find the exclusive and limited cassette release titled, “Leaving.”

“Leaving” is a compilation of music from Filipino indie artists such as Joe-Chu, Tim Awa, Na Mo, Brandon Cueto, Memoryville and others to name a few where the songs range from indie pop to lo-fi to pop punk.

And that begs the question — are cassettes back in vogue?

According to event organizer Kurvine Chua who is also the man behind United Cassettes Philippines; an independent music label that releases music not only from Filipino artists but also from all over the world exclusively on cassette, the medium has gained traction.

“You’d be surprised at the number of bands who are now opting to release on tape,” said Chua. “For one, it’s much cheaper on cassette than compact disc or vinyl. And it is a lot faster to produce.”

But it isn’t like people have gone out and bought Walkmans or tape decks en masse, is it?

“It’s picking up,” succinctly put Chua, who himself records music under the moniker, Memoryville. “The underground punk bands all over the country never stopped releasing music in this format and it’s great to see it spread to other artists.”

When the 1980s ended, a total of 83 million tapes were sold in the United Kingdom alone. It tapered off with the arrival and popularity of the compact disc in the 1990s and seemingly disappeared come the new millennium with the advent of downloads and streaming.

In 2012, a total of 4,000 tapes were purchased in Great Britain. Since 2013, the inaugural Cassette Store Day, that number has increased dramatically. By the end of 2017, close to 20,000 tapes were sold in the UK alone. And it has picked up all over the world.

It has certainly helped that artists such as Lana Del Rey and Jay Z have released limited editions of their albums on tape. “The Guardians of the Galaxy” films have done much to revive the medium as it prominently featured a tape and a Walkman. However, the bulk of sales and releases are from independent artists.

For the first ever event in the Philippines, in addition to the “Leaving” compilation, quite a few titles that will be sold at the venue will be from independent and underground artists.

These include Tim Awa (a post-rock/math rock artist based in Lucena City) that we wholeheartedly recommend. There too is Congratulations Deluxe from Na Mo that was released last August 2018. The album was conceptualized as a post-apocalyptic album filled with passive-aggressive inspired songs. If you liked Squid 9’s new cassette album release “Circuit Shorts,” you are sure to like Na Mo’s “Congratulations Deluxe.”

If night music and introspective meanderings are to your liking, then you must give Brandon Cueto’s three-song tape, “Countless Times,” a listen.

“All the titles are available in limited quantities,” bared Chua. “If they do well, then we can produce more.”

In addition to the sale of tapes from United Cassettes Philippines and second-hand tapes from the Magat brothers, Spindle Hole Records will sell cassette equipment. There will be Cassette Store Day merchandise available as well for sale Topping off the event will be live performances from Memoryville, Wendil, Kino1998, Joe-Chu, pcastless, savedhistory, Ernest:Hope, and Brandon Cueto. The live performances begin at 2pm.

The proceeds from the sales of “Leaving” will go to the Save Palawan Seas Foundation.

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