On December 31, 2007, I closed Demo Universe for what I thought was the last time. After 20 years of reviewing unsigned and self-released recordings, I was worn out and ready to move on. I’ve not written a music review since.
Flash-forward to 2016 and we’re preparing to renovate our basement. Of course, this means cleaning out a basement packed with 30+ years of crap and ephemera. Among the items dragged into the daylight were four cassette tape display boxes, each holding 100 cassettes. At the height of my “career” — 1988-1997, when I was writing the “Independents’ Day” column (as Andy Glass) for The Musicians Exchange, the “Demorandum” column for Alternative Press, and churning out hundreds of reviews for Demo Universe — these display boxes hung on the wall over my desk.
Most of what I reviewed in those days was mediocre, at best, but some of it was outstandingly creative and exciting, if not always sonically pristine. The cream of the crop went up on the wall, along with tapes by my friends on the fertile East Village music scene of the 1990s, live recordings by my own bands and others, and assorted oddities.
By the time Demo Universe closed up shop (with close to 3,000 reviews in its database, and a waiting list in the hundreds), I hadn’t listened to any of this stuff in years; there was always something new to hear. And while I had long mused about one day digitizing them, nothing ever came of it until Carole bought me an Ion Tape 2 Go portable tape-to-MP3 converter as a stocking stuffer last Christmas. I had no excuse for not trying it out, and I did, which led me to two conclusions: 1) Now was the time to finally start digitizing my collection, and 2) the Ion converter was not up to the task. So, I scored a vintage Pioneer CT-F9191 deck on eBay; got an inexpensive but well rated Behringer UCA202 digital audio converter; hooked it all up through my aging iMac running an old demo version of Reaper; and set to work.
As of this writing, I have about 20 cassettes digitized. I will be uploading them to my Soundcloud stream, and posting them here, with cover scans, credits, and commentary. After this official launch of the project, my goal is to add one or two a day. Wish me luck.
I thank you for visiting this blog, I hope you enjoy the sounds you find here, and I welcome your comments. This Universe is OPEN!