High Bias is a new book charting the journey of the cassette from its invention in the early 1960s to its Walkman-led domination in the 1980s to decline at the birth of compact discs to resurgence among independent music makers.
The cassette tape was revolutionary. Cheap, portable, and reusable, this small plastic rectangle changed music history. Make your own tapes! Trade them with friends! Tape over the ones you don't like! The cassette tape upended pop culture, creating movements and uniting communities.
Scorned by the record industry for "killing music," the cassette tape rippled through scenes corporations couldn't control. For so many people this technology meant freedom – to create, to invent, to connect.
Music journalist Marc Masters introduces readers to the tape artists who thrive underground, concert tapers who trade bootlegs, mixtape makers who send messages with cassettes, tape hunters who rescue forgotten sounds, and today's labels which reject streaming and sell music on cassette. Their stories celebrate the cassette tape as dangerous, vital, and radical.
Marc Masters work has appeared on NPR and in the Washington Post, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, and Bandcamp Daily. He is author of No Wave.
University of North Carolina Press, 224pp, 15.2.cm x 22.9cm, paperback, 2023
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