Music

Friday, 26 September 2014 | MYT 12:00 AM

Paying tribute to cassettes and local music

Malaysian independent record shop gets on board Cassette Store Day 2014 celebrations with exclusive tape compilation.

Stop. Pause. Fast-forward. Rewind. Mohd Radzi, the owner of independent music store Teenage Head Records, loves the whirring sound of a cassette deck roller. He can spend hours fixing up and respooling battered cassettes and running them through his 1990s-era tape player at his record store in Subang Jaya, Selangor.

“Cassette tapes are still a big deal to some music fans. I love them! Cassettes were easily tossed aside when people switched to digital music formats and today they have disappeared from music store racks completely. Major labels here started phasing cassettes out from 2009. Yet the tape format has garnered a cult following with DIY labels like Noisemongers and Cactus Records here actively putting out new releases on tape,” says Radzi, who mentions that his store will be taking part in the international Cassette Store Day celebrations this Saturday.

This Saturday, marks the second annual Cassette Store Day, a worldwide spin-off on April’s increasingly popular Record Store Day. Over 300 exclusive cassette releases are planned for this year’s edition, which will be celebrated by nearly 250 independent stores worldwide, mostly from the US and Britain.

In Malaysia, Teenage Head Records will be part of this global cassette-loving party with its own exclusive cassette release – the Tales Of The Insomniac Raksaksa tape compilation.

In love with cassettes: Promotional poster for Cassette Store Day at Teenage Head Records store, in Subang Jaya, Selangor, on Sept 27. The store will also host a gig to launch Tales Of The Insomniac Raksaksa, a cassette-only compilation of music by Malaysian artistes. Event details below. – Facebook/Teenage Head Records

The store, which is heavily stocked with vinyls and CDs, has been partial to the unsung cassette format since it opened in April. With nearly 1,000 cassettes (new and pre-loved) tucked neatly in box trays beneath the vinyl racks, you have say Teenage Head Records has a sizeable collection on sale.

“This Tales Of The Insomniac Raksaksa cassette is only available at Teenage Head. It is also a collaborative effort with (online radio channel) Radio Raksaksa,” says Radzi, who excitedly points out the compilation’s A-side/B-side setlist of 19 tunes coming from a diverse range of Malaysian and Singapore independent bands.

Whether previously issued tracks or rare recordings, the indie/punk/alternative cast on this compilation, featuring Nice Stupid Playground, Astreal, The Oddfellows, Carburetor Dung, Azmyl Yunor, The Fridays, Couple, Maharajah Commission, Keladak, Ferns, Mystery Tapes, The Panda Head Curry?, Swampy Zombie Fever, Free Deserters, Civil Disorder, Radio Gravity Lame Post, Evert, The Drives and Sunday Workers, is a commendable one.

“New bands, classic acts, lost friends ... we rounded them up. This tape will be a special treat for Cassette Store Day here,” adds Radzi. “It’s all about creating some excitement! Nothing like coming to the store to find out more, and to hang out with other tapeheads.” 

Radzi mentions that Radio Raksaksa initiated the idea for this joint compilation project. Lean Siang Yew, better known as Siang, and Kling Klang (Chang Onn Yen), from Radio Raksaksa, did the groundwork by contacting the bands, designing and manufacturing the cassette and even registering the compilation on the official Cassette Store Day website.

“Most of the tracks on Tales Of The Insomniac Raksaksa have been released before. In fact I purposely wanted to reintroduce older bands and older songs in this compilation, including bands that are no longer active,” says Siang, who enjoyed making this project a reality.

“I was hoping for 20 bands but along the way I realised they could not fit into the tape anymore. I was thinking of double cassettes at one stage but that might delay the process and increase the cost. So I decided to forget about it,” he adds.

“Cassette Store Day was definitely a key inspiration to get this compilation out. Yes, if sales are good, we may proceed with more releases. There are some ideas being discussed,” says Kling Klang, who is hoping this cassette release will spark more Teenage Head Records/Radio Raksaksa tie-ups ahead.

Tales Of The Insomniac Raksaksa will be released as a regular format tape as well as a deluxe package presented in a tin can with bonus material.

An in-store gig, featuring Pastelpower, Warren Chan (Ferns), Azmyl Yunor and The Panda Head Curry? and Mystery Tapes, starts at 1pm at Teenage Head Records this Saturday to coincide with the release of the Tales Of The Insomniac Raksaksa cassette. Other limited edition cassette releases, from Pastelpower and Obedient Wives’ Club, will also be available.

Cassette Store Day 2014 celebrations happen this Saturday at 1pm onwards at Teenage Head Records No. 20, Jalan SS14/1, Subang Jaya, Selangor. Browse: www.facebook.com/teenageheadrecords. Call 03-5613-0020 or 017-621-0346 if you have DIY cassettes/pre-loved tapes to sell on the day. Email: teenageheadrecords@gmail.com.

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle , Entertainment , Entertainment , Music , Malaysia , Cassette Store Day 2014 , Teenage Head Records , Tales Of The Insomniac Raksaksa , cassette , compilation , Malaysian artistes , independent , local , Mohd Radzi

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