ITEM 144: assorted music cassette tapes with handmade covers
Found on: 6/15/15
Materials: hard plastic, polyester film, cobalt, iron oxide, paper
Damage/wear: none
Provenance: tapes made in Japan, recorded in the US
Factory/production details: These tapes were made by Sony, Maxell, TDK, and Denon. For details on Sony, see Item 113, Sony portable Trinitron color TV. For details on Maxell, see Item 098, home VHS recording of Point Break (1991). For details on TDK, see Item 107, box of TDK MF-2DD multicolor double-sided floppy disks with a letter inside
Denon is a company that started out as Denki Onkyo Kabushikigaisha, part of the Japan Recorders Corporation, in 1910. It participated in a series of mergers over the course of the 20th century, ultimately becoming a brand name owned by Nippon Columbia. (The insert in the Denon tapes has a Nippon Columbia Co., Ltd. address.) It began producing audio cassette tapes in 1964. In 2001 Denon was spun off as a separate company; it continues to make consumer audio equipment.
Date or date range: 1990s
Still in production: no
Rare: yes
Still attainable from: nowhere
Value: arguably priceless. Blank cassettes were $3-4 ($7-8 adjusted for inflation) for a pack of three in the 1990s.
Use: This is – possibly only part of – someone’s music collection. It’s mostly comprised of punk and alt-rock albums recorded in the 1980s and 90s but with some exceptions (one classical cassette, some jazz, Velvet Underground etc.). The musicians represented range from well known (Nirvana, Sonic Youth) to local / less well known (Sister Double Happiness), with one original recording (Stephen Bartholomew Clarke). The owner of these tapes made the covers from Xerox-ed images, cutouts from magazines, and in one case a luggage tag. The owner also hand-wrote the titles on the tapes as well as the track listings on the provided inserts (Figure 10). 
The following is a list of the tape image, tape type, and music for each tape.
1. dialogue bubble saying “Cause in New York City” / Sony HF90: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Kicking Against the Pricks (1986) and From Her to Eternity (1984)
2. halftone image of a man’s head / Denon HD6/100: Prince, The Black Album (1994) and unknown albums/songs by Rapeman and Blind Idiot God
3. black and white watercolor of a person’s head / TDK AR90: UT, In Gut’s House (1988)
4. tribal figures / Maxell XLII90: Firehose, If’n (1987) and Michelle Shocked, The Texas Campfire Tapes (1986)
5. red abstract composition / Sony UCX-S90: various jazz artists, Bethlehem’s Best (1958)
6. “How to Keep Your Friends” / Maxell LN46: unknown Nick Cave album
7. woman’s nude back / Maxell XLII90: The Jesus and Mary Chain, Psychocandy (1985) and Hüsker Dü, Candy Apple Grey (1986)
8. blurry animal image (donkey?) / Sony UX Turbo100: Sister Double Happiness, Heart and Mind (1991), Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey, Mavericks (1980), and Sebadoh, Smash Your Head on the Punk Rock (1992)
9. surfers / TDK SA90: Breeders, Pod (1990) and Bongwater, Too Much Sleep (1990)
10. two young men standing / TDK SA90: Anne Be Davis, Scouts Deposit (1990) and X, More Fun in the New World (1983)
11. silly man holding a beer / Sony HF-290: Minutemen, Ballot Result (1986)
12. abstract oblong white shape with black background / TDK SA-X90: The Whitefronts, Roast Belief (1986) and Minutemen, Project Mersh (1985)
13. drawing of a city / unknown tape type: Stephen Bartholonew Clarke, Seven Songs (1992), possibly an original recording
14. man signing “L” and “M” / Denon HD8/100: Tone Loc, Loc’ed After Dark (1989) and Ice T, Power (1988)
15. man with sombrero / Maxell XLII-S90: Tindersticks, Tindersticks (1993) and a few songs from Railroad Jerk, We Understand (1993); case is broken
16. Nicholas Africano painting of a man / TDK SA-C90: case indicates U2, October (1981) and Cramps, Off the Bone (1983) but cassette indicates Toy Dolls, Dig That Groove Baby (1993)
17. child ballerinas / Maxell XLII90: unknown albums by Poster Children and Yo La Tengo
18. yellow desert / Denon HD8/100: New Orleans Opera (band), Fire Party (1996) and Exene Cervenka, Running Sacred (1990)
19. photo of Linton Kwesi Johnson / TDK AD-C90: Linton Kwesi Johnson, Dread Beat an’ Blood (1978) and Bass Culture (1980)
20. painting of a man with a watch / unknown tape type: unknown music by Stravinsky and Beethoven, Piano Sonata Opus 3 (”and stuff”); the Stravinsky side of this tape has been painted gold
21. green wiggly lines / TDK SA90: unknown album by Fugazi
22. late check-in luggage tag / TDK SA90: De La Soul, 3 Feet High and Rising (1989) 
23. D.O.A. movie poster / TDK SA90: John Zorn, Spillane (1987) and unknown album/songs by Universal Congress Of (jazz)
24. colored in xerox of men standing / unknown tape type: XTC, Homo Safari (1979)
25. people underwater / TDK SA-C90: Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground and Nico (1967) and Pink Floyd, Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967)
26. Muybridge studies / TDK SA90: Pixies, Surfer Rosa (1988) and Velvet Underground, VU (1969)
27. messy colorful painting of a face / TDK SA90: Thinking Fellers, Loveyville (1991) and unknown album by Number One Cup
28. image of Run-D.M.C. / TDK SA-C90: Run-D.M.C., Raising Hell (1986)
29. man with windblown hair / Maxell UDS-II90: The Pogues, Rum Sodomy & the Lash (1985) and If I Should Fall from Grace with God (1988)
30. person with mullet / Maxell Epitaxial XLII90: Camper Van Beethoven, Telephone Free Landslide Factory (1985)
31. gun advertisements / TDK SA90: Big Black, Songs About Fucking (1987) and Earth Atomizer Let’s Go (1985) and Scratch Acid, Just Keep Eating (1986)
32. industrial outdoor scene / Maxell XLII90: Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation (1988) and music from the film Wings of Desire (1988)
33. Mike Tyson KO’d magazine cover / Maxell Epitaxial XLII90: Hüsker Dü, Flip Your Wig (1985) and Sonic Youth, Bad Moon Rising (1985)
34. skull graffiti / Maxell Epitaxial UDXLII90: Hüsker Dü, Everything Falls Apart (1983) and various songs by The Replacements
35. white with blue and purple border / TDK AD-C90: The Art of Noise, (Who’s Afraid Of?) The Art of Noise! (1984) and Run-D.M.C., King of Rock (1985)
36. leaf / Maxell XLII-S100: Blind Idiot God, Undertow (1989) and Big Boys, No Matter How Long the Line is at the Cafeteria, There’s Always a Seat (1985) and Fun, Fun, Fun (1982)
37. painting with scales / Maxell XLII90: Pavement, Wowee Zowee (1995)
38. utility pole / Denon HD7/100: John Doe, Meet John Doe (1990) and Exene, Old Wives Tales (1989)
39. young girl running / TDK SA90: Nevermind (1991) and Unrest, Imperial f.f.r.r. (1992)
40. ski masks / TDK SA90: Dinosaur Jr., You’re Living All Over Me (1987) and Pixies, Bossanova (1990)
41. men in suits singing or yelling / TDK AD90: Sonic Youth, Evol (1986) and The Church, The Blurred Crusade (1982)