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THE KEN CLINGER INTERVIEW Don Fioretti
Ken Clinger is one of the most prolific and creative artists in the cassette community. He has 35 solo cassettes as of this writing,...
DF: How did you get started in cassette networking?
KC: Strangely enough, by buying a cassette deck. I was living in San Francisco at the time (1983), and was at one of the stereo stores buying a second cassette deck so that I could make compilation tapes of pieces that were on other tapes. While I was looking at the cassette decks, there was another guy there who was looking in the same area. He ended up getting a dubbing deck, which interested me, as they were fairly new at that time.
We both ended up buying our respective decks at the same time, and started walking in the same direction from the store. At a stop light we both shifted our heavy boxes at the same time and laughed. He asked me what I was going to do with my new deck, and I told him about the compilation tapes I was making. He said he was making copies of his own tapes to send to other people. I assumed he was a "professional musician" of some sort, but he started talking about trading tapes with people who did all kinds of things on tape, and I got excited.
I had experimented with tape recorders in the past, but hadn't heard of anyone else doing this except for goofing off at parties or avant garde composers doing tape pieces. He told me there was a magazine called OP (the forerunner of both Sound Choice and Option) just for people doing things with cassettes. I stopped at his place and he loaned me several cassettes that he had gotten by trading.
When I got home and played the tapes, I was delighted to find that the range of recording was from hissy "bounced" multitracking using cheap instruments and toys to recording studio quality. Also the range of styles from intentionally stupid to pretentiously sophisticated pleased me. There was room for anything!
I went to City Lights Bookstore, where I'd been told I could find OP, and took my copy home. My favorite part was the cassette reviews, and marked all the ones that said "trades accepted" or "trades preferred."
Then I nonchalantly began making my own first tape, made up of excerpts from my own past tape experiments. I mailed out copies to the addresses with modest little notes saying that I hoped they would find my tape "acceptable" for a trade for their tape. So it all happened within one week, as if it were my inescapable fate.
Typed by Cheryl Vega 8-13-95