Tapezine #2: The Analogue Journal
Zine, Cassette Tape, Jesse Lafleur, jesselafleur.ca, $15
The second issue of the colourful and aptly titled Tapezine combines eerily candescent sounds with audio-rendered computer codes. These can be used to reveal photos and text — it’s a revolution of the zine as we know it!
Side A sports vocal mix experiments, like John Darnielle’s nasal tone over a Bad Western track, or Chanteclair introducing a bit of outer space. Then Side B hits, and The Union Argus play a beautiful ambient hymn, “Obfuscated,” which sounds like a grand, out of tune piano ringing through an empty wooden house in the afternoon.
The second half of this tape is a mindfuck for the digitally impaired, but I successfully download the right SSTV app, and soon the screeching pockets of noise begin to translate. I am having a blast watching the squirrelly sounds decode into patterned images, as if from some secret source invisible to the human mind. It is a space station in my bedroom, and I am receiving messages from the beyond, and/or from the bedrooms of Gart Darley, Alex Warner, and Emily Fin — a few of the artists on Side B.
Leaning over the edge of my own bed, I watch my cellphone draw green, red, and pink streaks as it sits on top of my tape player. I recognize that the images that I receive may not be precisely the ones intended. For one, the quality of my tape player (which I mostly use for “natural sleep inducement” tapes) may be quite low. The process of watching the evolution of sound into image and text, with whatever nuance the listener — and their spotty tape player — brings, seems to enact a core philosophy of print zine culture: each reader (and listener) becomes a participant, and anyone with a tape player can join. Unless you have a phenomenal sound system, you may end up with a few streaks yourself — and this is absolutely as beautiful as it sounds.