Wednesday, April 8, 2009

DICTAPHONIA Microcassette Compilation call for submissions

Please contribute to the DICTAPHONIA Microcassette Compilation.

Send a recording on a microcassette that is at least one minute in length and no longer than three minutes.

You must send your contribution on a microcassette. I will not accept submissions in any other format - no CDR, no standard cassette, no mp3 or WAV, etc.

Do not send more than one contribution. If your submission is longer than three minutes it will be rejected. Do not send a tape containing a recording longer than three minutes and ask me to choose three minutes for the compilation.

Your submitted microcassette should be recorded at the Standard Play (SP) speed of 2.4 centimeters per second - NOT at the Long Play (LP) speed of 1.2 centimeters per second. If your microcassette recorder has two tape speeds, choose the higher/faster one. The compilation will be mastered at the SP speed, so if you submit a microcassette that was recorded in LP speed it will sound speeded-up.

Your submission should be recorded specifically for this project and I prefer (but do not require) that you make your original recordings in the microcassette format. One of the emphases of this project is to highlight the microcassette as a unique audio art format with its own unique properties.

Participants are urged to bear in mind the particular and peculiar characteristics of the microcassette format, such as limited dynamic range (usually 400-4000Hz), low fidelity, and tape noise and hiss. Most people who hear the compilation will be listening to it on their cheap portable hand-sized microcassette machines which have a speaker that is about one inch in diameter. Also remember that there might be a two-generation loss in sound quality from your tape to the master to the copy. Your submission should be composed and created for optimized transmission under these conditions. You might want to avoid submitting a piece that contains subtle shadings, colorations, and nuances, or quiet passages.

If you do not yet own a microcassette recorder (alternatively called "dictaphone") but would like to participate in this project you can usually purchase one on eBay or at second-hand shops for a small amount. Most recorders come with a built-in microphone.

Any and all styles are welcome.

Here are a few suggestions for submissions, keywords, and possible themes:

lo fi, lo tech, minimalism, harsh noise, tape collage and cut-ups, minimal synth, micro metal, loner punk anthems, feedback modulation, erotic confessionals, spoken dream diary excerpts, kazoo solos, soliloquies, street rap, 8 bit chiptunes, recordings of street musicians, surreptitious recordings of private conversations, voice beat-boxing, circuit bent sounds, ravings of lunatics and insane people, minimal electronics, no-input mixer, pedal noise, outsider folk songs, children's and toy instruments, answering machine messages, everyday sounds, public transportation sounds, urban noise pollution, machine sounds, shitnoise, construction sounds, plunderphonics, free improvisation, broken instruments, prepared guitar, shortwave and AM radio static and tones, video and computer game sounds, spoken word whatever, beatnik bongo rave-ups, tapes of your lover or spouse cheating with someone else, doctor's consultation notes, barnyard sounds, interviews with nursing home residents, broken and skipping records, dada, fluxus, micro-dub mash-ups.

Send your microcassette to:

Hal McGee
1909 SW 42nd Way
Apt. E
Gainesville, FL

I will not return your tape to you.

Submissions will be added to the microcassette compilation master in the order that they are received.

Each participant whose submission is used will receive one complimentary copy of the compilation, with an option to purchase additional copies at cost, which will likely be very inexpensive.

When you send your submission please include a piece of paper clearly stating artist name, track title, and your postal address.

The DICTAPHONIA Microcassette Compilation will only be available in the microcassette format. Not online, not on CDR or cassette.

After contributor's copies are sent out the compilation will be made available for sale, and for trade.

No deadline. If I receive more than enough contributions for a 60-minute tape I will probably publish an additional volume or volumes depending on interest.


  1. Great idea to track this via a blog! I sent you a tape yesterday, "Keeping My Hand In"... hope it makes the cut!

  2. i'll be delivering one hand delivery to yr door...:D <3

  3. Jesi, I will not accept in-person delivery of submissions. You must mail your tape to me. No exceptions. Please re-read the instructions, everybody.

  4. Thanks, DaveX. I am looking forward to your submission, "Keeping My Hand In". Everybody should check out his article about the compilation, his submission for the compilation, and his history of using microcassette as a unique audio art form on his blog, Startling Moniker, by clicking on the startlingmoniker link in the first comment above.