echo ''."\n";

Found tape archives reveal snippets of human history in the strangest of ways

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

When we heard about Nervesandgel's ambitious project to get sounds from friends last week, we started looking into the idea of digitized found sound recordings. A few days later, we finally crawled out of the Internet's rabbit hole with some interesting results and a peek into the private lives of people we've never met.

The basic premise of found cassettes is an age-old noise musician's trick. Hitting up garage sales, thrift stores or you parents basement and ransacking unmarked cassettes often leads to incredibly interesting sounds. Sweet Thunder specializes in distributing these types of recordings in an ongoing weekly project.

There are some truly remarkable finds hidden in here, like a recording of a man in 1957 reading astrology, or a little kid's band called Human Skab, recording his demo and talking about how he wants to make a lot of money. There are hours upon hours of entertainment hidden in these archives.

On that same note, we also came across The Voicemail Project, which, as the name implies, is a collection of unusual voicemails people have left on other people's machines. Included are accidental recordings, like this one of a kid accidently pocket dialing his mom and leaving a message about smoking pot.

Hidden inside these archives are glimpses into the psyche of real people across several decades. Captured on tape are kids doing the news, deer calling instructions and so much more. There is an abundance of resource material for musicians looking to include something a little more quirky and strange in their mix.

Now if we could just find someone with a copy of the crazy religious cassette, "The Reality of Hell," that someone used to leave around Denver, we'd be all set.

Follow Backbeat on Facebook and on Twitter at @Westword_Music.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.