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Musical Content: The resurgence of the cassette tape is, in part, a by-product of 80s nostalgia. VHS and 8-bit games are gaining attention from a younger generation, while vintage synthesizer sounds are popping up everywhere from indie tapes to major label releases. Michael Pike’s project, Astrokade, seems to channel that nostalgia, both the good and the bad, into Holograms. At its best, the tape seems to draw inspiration from Harold Faltermeyer’s Fletch soundtrack and Frank Zappa’s Jazz From Hell. At it’s worst, the tape seems to draw inspiration from Harold Faltermeyer’s Fletch soundtrack and Frank Zappa’s Jazz From Hell. And that’s a problem; sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
Luckily, there’s more to the record than that, and Pike delves less into kitsch and more into sonic exploration. On these tracks there is contrast and depth, plus an excellent ability to sequence. If he sticks to his strengths on forthcoming releases, he’s bound to produce a personal record, worthy of repeated listens. Keep an eye on Astrokade.
Packaging and Sound Quality: The tape case and artwork is reminiscent of 80s VHS releases and video games and will keep the tape secure inside. That’s good because the C-38 cassette seems cheap. The tape’s window is a thin sheet of flabby plastic. If not kept in the case, it will certainly become damaged. Sound quality is pretty good, perhaps sounding a bit distant at times.
Available from Kitchen Dweller Records.