Shogun Assassin O.M.P.S or: How I Bought A 10$ Cassette Tape

What in the hell is wrong with me.

I avoided the cassette thing for so many years. Cassettes sound like crap, they are overpriced, overly hip, and you can’t find anything worth buying that cost less than 6 bucks. But here I am, listening to the mono hiss through my little, throwback QFX radio/cassette combo. I fucking love it. I am a manic collector of music so it makes sense that I should have every possible medium for playing any and all random shit that I find. Mp3 (etc.) is too easy to ignore; CDs are inherent to my generation; I’ve never questioned vinyl for it is the spinning soul of souls; and the radio is my oldest friend. But cassettes were something that I let go of without a second thought.

Until now. Now, I’ve returned to you, my little plastic friends. For it was on you that my mother recorded mix tapes that exposed me to every genre under the firmament. It was on you that I carefully crafted heavy metal mixes and forced my middle school girlfriend to listen to them — it wasn’t long before she was forcing her own metal mixes on others. It was better than therapy: pick a person, write out a mix list, spend 2 hours recording (while you listen!), cover up ‘Memorex’ with a thin segment of masking tape, then write ‘Fuck You…’ and the name of whomever the tape is for. I should have saved every love, hate, lust, and boredom tape that I made. I am passionately jealous of everybody who saved theirs. It is a crime that I did not.

Anywho, today I purchased the Shogun Assassin Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, originally recorded by W. Michael Lewis and Mark Lindsay under the name, ‘The Wonderland Philharmonic’, circa 1980. Originally mixed and recorded at Icon Studios, the cassette was re-issued for the 2015 Cassette Store Day (yes, there is a Cassette Store Day: look it up and go next year) by One Way Static Records, a leader in cult and horror soundtrack re-issue. Apparently only 300 copies were distributed worldwide, so I guess I’m a tad bit cooler now.

The sound is great even on my little 20$ QFX Boombox. Somehow, Moog synth doesn’t sound right on anything other than analog. I sat through the sample dialogue despite having heard it 800 times in the opening to GZA’s Liquid Swords. The rest is a synth lover’s daydream. It rings bells like John Carpenter, Giorgio Moroder, Goblin, and Keith Emerson if they were to score a Kurosawa film. The Shogun Assassin O.M.P.S would be great to write, read or draw to, or just sit around in a dimly lit room and smoke weed at. Not to mention that it’s the soundtrack of an incredibly violent movie. If I were to rate things with stars or thumbs or whatever, I would give it two blood-soaked samurai swords up.

So I payed 10$ to listen to music on a archaic sound device. Fuck it. It’s cool, it’s fun, and it keeps me off the streets. To all you tapeheads out there: keep on collecting, trading, and growing out that pinky coke nail to wind up you’re next cassette.

Davis Van Luven

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