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Inside the Oh Sees’ year-long effort to put their albums on 8-track box sets

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Creating box sets from scratch

Photo by Julia S / 5Seven Records

6D彩票网开户The Oh Sees’ latest release is a 12-album box set in an unexpected format: 8-track tapes. It’s the culmination of a year-long effort by Seattle-based DIY label , which restored vintage 8-track tapes and transformed them into albums from musician ’s bands, variously known as Oh Sees, Thee Oh Sees, and OCS.

8-track tapes are a long-retired magnetic tape audio format that predates the cassette and was used as a more portable alternative to vinyl records to play in cars and on boomboxes. Though cassettes are having a second life through sales of older albums and the , 8-tracks have been out of the market since the early 1980s and haven’t really made a comeback in stores like Urban Outfitters, which sells CDs, vinyls, and cassettes.

6D彩票网开户No manufacturers make 8-track tapes today, so the entire box set had to be created by tracking down existing tapes and then turning them into new releases. 5Seven Records founder Maximiliano (who prefers not to disclose his last name) brought together more than a dozen artists and designers to create the box sets from scratch. Together, they worked on everything from creating art for the tape covers, making an accompanying zine, and crafting a custom-fit box to hunting for specific colors of 8-track tapes and restoring them to a listenable quality.

6D彩票网开户5Seven Records is more akin to an art collective than a music label. It’s run by volunteers around the world to release music for bands they want to support on unconventional formats like floppys, video game cartridges, and VHS tapes. The 8-track project initially came about as a one-off experiment by Maximiliano to gift to the Oh Sees when they stopped in Seattle on their tour. After stumbling across 8-track tapes in a 25 cent bin at a local record store, he made several custom-labeled 8-track albums with the band’s music recorded onto it and dropped it off at their merch table the night of the concert. Dwyer loved the tapes and asked Maximiliano if he would be willing to make an official release for the band.

“I obviously instantly said yes,” Maximiliano tells The Verge via email. “Although I didn’t know the first thing about how to make a music release.”

6D彩票网开户Over the next year, Maximiliano brought together volunteers to help 5Seven Records make the project a reality. That included Dwyer as well as illustrator who’s designed album covers for the Oh Sees.

The completed box set Julie S (5Seven Records)
  • All twelve tapes from the box set Julie S (5Seven Records)
  • Kathy and Dave, a couple based in Texas were recruited to recondition and record every single one of the 1200 8-track tapes by hand. 5Seven Records
  • Rob at Stoughton Printing checking the colors for the box 5Seven Records
  • The hard-to-come-by transparent 8-track cartridges 5Seven Records
  • The accompanying zine made for the set Julie S (5Seven Records)
  • 6D彩票网开户Though the group was able to repurpose old tapes for their project, the whole set’s packaging needed to be created new. There was no record of there ever being an 8-track case for 12 tapes, never mind being able to find a hundred of them. So Maximiliano reached out to several printing and manufacturing companies until he found in Los Angeles, which happened to have some huge fans of the Oh Sees and agreed to take on the project.

    6D彩票网开户Another challenge they came across was that different record labels would have different molds for their cartridges, so tapes wouldn’t fit correctly in each slot of the box set. After sending six prototypes back and forth in the mail, the final result was a colorful box set that represented the aesthetic of both the music and the era of the 8-track tape. And the cartridges fit snugly, too.

    6D彩票网开户Despite the DIY nature of the project, the final product is a professionally crafted result that reflects the dedication and precision the artists put into the entire box set. The ‘70s-inspired lettering, art, and design of the labels on the cartridges go the extra mile in making the release seamlessly appropriate for the format.

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    6D彩票网开户Copies of the handmade box set . They were sold for $420 each, priced to cover the cost of creating each unit.

    For buyers, these releases may be more of a way to show that they love the band than something they actually want to listen to. found that about half of the people who buy vinyl records don’t even listen to them. With streaming and downloads being the way that most people consume music now, a tangible album you can hold in your hand is more of an avatar or trophy for being a fan of an artist. In this case, knowing each tape was handmade, cut, and dubbed to fit the album length brings back the not-so-long-forgotten art of physical media and the work the went into it.

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