An art project using 30 cassette tapes


Photo by Status Frustration

As you may know, instead of making a New Year’s Resolution, I’m doing twelve different things for thirty days each in 2010.

My first 30 days, which started just a couple of days ago on January 2nd, is a 30 day detox.

My second 30 days will be quite different. 

From the 1st of February for 30 days, I will make one C90 compilation cassette per day. The compilations will conceptually bring together two places: Britain, my adopted country – and New Zealand, my country of origin.

The idea is to create sister cities of sound – at least in the minds of the recipients of those tapes.

I have selected 30 cities and towns from each country, and have paired them up. Each tape will have a British town on one side, and a New Zealand town on the other.

The sound of the city
The music that I select need not necessarily come from or be about that particular town (though that may sometimes happen), but it will be inspired by my feelings, thoughts and impressions about that place.

Just as Lawrence Ferlinghetti writes about a Coney Island of the Mind – I have an ‘Imagined Auckland’ that is a separate, distinct, but related concept to the actual Auckland I grew up in. And of course, each of these places has a specific meaning to me, which I will endeavour to express through the medium of 45 minutes of other people’s music – and I will contrast, connect and contextualise that music and that town with 45 minutes of music inspired by the city on the other side.

The music featured on these tapes may come from any genre or period. There may be some very weird stuff in there, and there may be some music that you’re very familiar with. Anyone who knows me well will tell you that I’ll put a great deal of thought into the selection and running order of every cassette.

You can own one of these
I will send each compilation tape to a different person in a different place. I will prioritise people who live in one of the towns on the tape in question, but that’s not essential. If you want the Manchester/Wellington cassette for whatever reason, but you happen to live in New York, that’s absolutely fine.

I’d like all of these tapes to find good homes. You must have a way of playing the cassette if you’re going to ask for one. These are not for putting on a shelf, they’re for listening to.

There will be only one copy of each cassette. I’ll take a photo of each one and I’ll post it to a blog – but I will not reveal the tracklist or the name of the recipient. The only people who will know what’s on that tape are me, the person who gets it in the post, and anyone that person chooses to play it to.

If you’d like to receive one of the cassettes, please drop me a note (dubber@gmail.com) and let me know which one you’d like. There is no charge for the cassette, but I will ask you to send me a stamped, self-addressed, bubblewrap envelope when the time comes (assuming that’s practical – it’s hard to buy UK stamps elsewhere).

So… if you’re interested, get in touch and let me know which one you’d like. I will start making and sending out the tapes from the 1st of February 2010, and if you’re the person who’ll be receiving the tape, I’ll let you know where to send the self-addressed, stamped envelope so I can get it out to you.


    London photo by otrocalpe           Auckland photo by Light Knight

Here’s the list of tapes I’ll be making (and I’ve crossed the ones off that have already been taken):

TAPE 01
> London side
> Auckland side

TAPE 02
> Birmingham side
> Manukau side

TAPE 03
> Manchester side
> Wellington side

TAPE 04
> Glasgow side
> Hamilton side

TAPE 05
> Sheffield side
> Tauranga side

TAPE 06
> Edinburgh side
> Dunedin side

TAPE 07
> Liverpool side
> Christchurch side

TAPE 08
> Leeds side
> Hastings side

TAPE 09
> Bristol side
> Napier side

TAPE 10
> Cardiff side
> Nelson side

TAPE 11
> Coventry side
> Rotorua side

TAPE 12
> Nottingham side
> New Plymouth side

TAPE 13
> Leicester side
> Whangarei side

TAPE 14
> Sunderland side
> Invercargill side

TAPE 15
> Belfast side
> Palmerston North side

TAPE 16
> Newcastle upon Tyne side
> Gisborne side

TAPE 17
> Lincoln side
> Kaitaia side

TAPE 18
> Plymouth side
> Te Awamutu side

TAPE 19
> Stoke-on-Trent side
> Cambridge side

TAPE 20
> Wolverhampton side
> Blenheim side

TAPE 21
> Swansea side
> Whanganui side

TAPE 22
> York side
> Timaru side

TAPE 23
> Oxford side
> Taupo side

TAPE 24
> Bath side
> Porirua side

TAPE 25
> Blackpool side
> Masterton side

TAPE 26
> Chester side
> Tokoroa side

TAPE 27
> Wrexham side
> Levin side

TAPE 28
> Scarborough side
> Waitakere side

TAPE 29
> Swindon side
> Lower Hutt side,/SPAN>

TAPE 30
> Stratford-Upon-Avon side
> Kerikeri side

PS: No, I haven’t paid royalties or sought clearance for any of the tracks I’ll be using. Sue me.