The demise of the cassette tape was never fully experienced in my kitchen or in my wife’s car over the past number of years. I have about ten tapes set aside which still get played to bits, most of them are compilations but there are also a few albums in there too, such as Iron Maiden’s ‘Live After Death’ which comes out with the paintbrushes and Masters of Reality’s peerless ‘Sunrise on the Sufferbus’ which pops out the odd day.
The compilations were either made for my wife when we were still a-courting, or were made for long-since forgotten long journeys. One called Vintage Mix is a particular favourite, as it soundtracked so many journeys on foot around Dublin and Galway, and then in the car to gigs, festivals, piss-ups and holidays. But one compilation that has almost been worn out due to its constant playing is a treasured 120 min cassette (the Rolls Royce of tapes) recording of Portishead’s BBC Essential Mix from the 23rd April 1994.
I bought it in the old Roisín Dubh in Galway in 1996 for a fiver off some (long-forgotten) short-lived acquaintance, and since that fireplace exchange the tape has always ended up in whatever car or kitchen I lived in. A few days ago it came out of the drawer and popped into the remaining tape player in the house, to be followed by a couple of Andy Smith ‘Document’ CD’s. There is a definite touch of Andy’s mixing and musical taste to the Portishead mix, in fact I’d say he was responsible for most of the tracks here and some of them have even turned up on his own mixes over the years.
I’ve downloaded the Portishead mix on a variety of formats in recent years but none have come close to that tape, which despite being played a million times, still sounds better than any digital format.
But you can’t share tapes, so here is a Soundcloud of that classic and very classy mix.