What to do when you need to send someone a staaltape release.
I have a small amount of tapes at home. German shipping costs permit to send multiple tapes up to a weight of 500grams for 3.70€. This is worldwide. Unfortunately this also means that the shipping cost for 1 tape is 3.70.
I can’t offer discounts on an order of three or more tapes, because the price of the handmade releases (both Berlin Tape Runs, both K-tapes) is already at a low given the amount of time I need to produce one single tape.
There are packages and you also have the possibility to make a selection of the tapes that you can see in the pictures below. Find the shopping cart here.
It takes time. It takes so much time that the tape has sold out. But that is the beauty of it. Understanding arrives always later. First there was intuition. You missed the tape, or you have it, or you don’t care. All is good with me.
You might want to care for these words:
The tape is presented to us as “combinations that produce meanings above and beyond anything the individual parts may have had.” I think this is highly significant; it might indicate something about how we shape our culture, assigning meanings to individual fragments of experience. Maybe nothing really happens to us at all, unless we can turn it into stories or fictions of some kind. After all, every sociologist and his wife are always telling us we need narratives to “make sense of the world”, as they so patronisingly put it. What interests me about this tape by Ben Roberts is how we stand a chance of seeing that very same process in action. If he has done this, it’s a remarkable achievement.
Read the complete review here.
Twelve new copies of Midori Hirano’s And I Am Here, a release I continue to like for the otherworldly tunes, its simplicity and its kindness. In the artwork you’ll find some quotes from previous editions. I tried to manufacture a cheaper edition, cheaper because of the used material.
They will be available at the staalplaat shop very soon, and at one of Midori’s performances. Or get in touch with her in person.
Please note that there doesnot exist no such thing as a digital album of this tape.
Staaltape is a cassette-only label.
“On Staaltape something is somewhat bigger,”
says FdW in Vital Weekly
He writes about the Slow Slow Loris release.
“There is a fine element of repetition in this music; a cold and clinical bang, reminding this listener of the cassettes he heard in the 80s. Slow Slow Loris is an ancestor to that old school industrial sound.”
“I quite enjoyed this dark synth-heavy industrial pop noir. It is along the lines of many current darkwave acts, except that Slow Slow Loris still sounds old-fashioned, with their analogue synthesizers in what sounds like a basement studio.”
In the process of dubbing now are three releases, Jeff Surak’s All Gold, Midori Hirano’s And I Am Here (5th edition) and Slow Slow Loris’ From Monster till Mourning. Most probably a brandnew release of which I will do the full announcement later this month, will be added to this batch.
These tapes become available at the staalplaat shop in Berlin, of course also here (postal) at my address before the end of January.
In the coming weeks I will make a list of earlier staaltape releases that will be re-issued. The Audiozine#1 Glenn Branca will be one of them, albeit with different cover art, because those xray pictures I used are finished.
C50 cassette, chrome quality. Recorded directly onto tape with a Marantz CP430.
Comes with a booklet, designed and produced by Angie Yeowell and Robert Heim.
Ed Pinsent stepped out of the elevator, after a ride up to the roof to look at the aeroplanes descent or climb up to the nearest cloud. It was twenty minutes to go up and twenty minutes to return to street level again. The loudspeakers in the elevator transmitted Midori’s tape.
Here’s what he wrote in The Sound Projector when he came back home.
“And I Am Here (STAALTAPE) by Midori Hirano is the latest cassette tape to arrive from Rinus van Alebeek’s Staaltape label. We have heard instances of classical pianist Hirano’s work before, namely LushRush and Klo:Yuri, both on the Japanese Noble label, records which I’m sorry to say did not endear themselves wholly to me; her work seemed too cloying, sentimental, verging on the twee. To be blunt, her first album was so wispy it struck me as “an avant-garde attempt to make an Enya album” at the time. However, she’s worthy to be included in the Staaltape inner circle, and was one of the many contributors featured on theBerlin Tape Run 2 cassette, so I will attempt to restrain my acerbity.
And I Am Here works well as a good assembly of sounds, namely unadorned field recordings mixed with short passages of music, either Hirano playing an out-of-tune piano, or singing, or both. The notes here indicate that she regards the piano itself as a “found object”, much like the field recordings are “found sounds” on one level. She embraces the fact that the instrument is “strongly detuned”, and there are no efforts to overcome this obstacle. Right there I must admit it’s an improvement on the studio-based process-heavy albums from 2006 and 2008, which just seemed to have one too many interfering layers of additional elements, particularly from her computers. More to the point, And I Am Here works because it integrates the musical passages into the imaginary landscape created by the field recordings, so the tunes are not set aside as “art”, but are rather to be heard as part of the overall continuum of life. Conversely, the field recordings start to sound more like music in this context; and in support of this she has certainly selected some highly positive and user-friendly sounds, evoking sunny days, good weather, children at play. None of the urban squalor or menace which might be conveyed using recordings of factories or over-crowded streets.
At the end, I personally find her tentative voice an irritant, and her minimal piano tunes still appear maudlin to me, but as noted I do appreciate the more rugged and raw abstract tendencies on this assemblage, which I find preferable to her slightly over-produced studio works. As a statement, this cassette is concise and direct with its moments of distilled beauty. At best, moments of the tape are as strong as Eno’s Music For Airports, a comparison I do not make lightly; it’s got the same centre of stillness and calm. 18 copies only in this first edition; I received this copy 10 February 2015. I note from the most current page of the Staaltape website that it’s already up to a fourth edition.”
From this fourth edition there is only one copy left at the staalplaat store in Berlin (mailorder too).
Keep an eye on this blog for the announcement with pictures and all of the upcoming release:
Jeff Surak – All Gold
On this picture the first packing of Jeff’s tape. Pictures of booklet and ultimate packet still to come.
I will start working on a new edition, probably with slightly different artwork. Pictures of that ongoing process will be published on staaltape’s twitter account, appear also in the sidebar at your right.
FdW wrote a review in Vital Weekly:
“Midori uses here field recordings from Europe and Japan, which she uses as a backdrop to her piano playing, and that piano is a found object itself, so it detuned a lot over the years. It makes it all wonderfully poetic and intimate music. You hear some birds twitter outside and down the hall someone is playing this detuned piano.”
“It’s a bit like one of those releases on the Japanese Flau label, but with an even more lo-fi approach when it comes to recording. Nothing about this is perfect but that’s the beauty of it. Like someone recorded this on a cassette over some time, sticking random events together. Excellent release, so let’s hope there will be a second, bigger edition.”