The evolution of record labels can be strange. Remember the old days of early digital when labels were migrating from LP to CD? Or a handful of years later when we were going from CD to MP3? Of course not. You’re like 12 years old. But trust me, this all started just a few decades ago, and now, interestingly enough, mirco-labels, and even the lager indie powerhouses, are adopting what some would see as a sort of de-evolution in format, or at least an obscuring of the idea of technological “advancement,” by releasing music on cassette tape (did you order your Deerhoof vs. Evil cassette yet?).
Just take Important Records’ new sister imprint Cassauna for example. Important, which is currently celebrating 10 years of mind-blowing existence (now with a shopping cart — finally!), has developed a subsidiary label whose sole purpose is to release music on cassette. In fact, Cassauna has already released six tapes — one being a collaboration between Pauline Oliveros & Michael T Bullock, another being a new release by Aki Onda — and have plans to release more later this year by the likes of Keith Fullerton Whitman, Ezra Buchla, Tashi Wada, Richard Lainhart, Gaspar Claus, Zachary Watkins, and Deceh 3.
So why the cassette label? According to John from Important:
About 12 years ago, I “released” two cassettes while working at a record shop. When I started Important, I had planned on starting a lathe label, but the lathe was quite daunting to learn. I recently sold the lathe and bought a small letterpress and a couple stacks of refurbished Nakamichi two-headed decks that were once part of a professional dubbing rig in Vermont.
Important’s place in modern experimental music can’t be overstated, which means this is something to wet the bed over, readers. And hell, Important itself continues to release some fantastic shit, too. What’s on schedule for the first quarter of the year? No less than albums by Arnold Dreyblatt, Vampillia, Maurizio Bianchi & Francisco Lopez, and Julia Kent. Also look for releases by Master Musicians Of Bukkake, Ellen Fullman, Asva, Christina Kubisch, Larsen, Eliane Radigue, and other “important” records later this year.