Saturday, May 19, 2007

My "New" Shiny 4-Track Player

I was out and about browsing for new music the other day. Of course, I found some. I can always find new music if I make an honest effort. I went to Cash Converters (a really neat + tidy pawn shop) where I bought 4 CDs and got the 5th one free. I went around the store to see if I could find anything interesting or unique. I came across something that I never though I would find in Canada. It's a Muntz 4-Track Player. Now, if you know nothing about these units, they pre-date the 8-track tape. If you know nothing about 8-track tapes, they pre-date MP3s. Nuff said.

I was surprised that this unit (likely made in the 1960s) was in such nice shape. It's covered in what looks to be chrome, and it was only ten bucks! This is a unit that mounts under your dash board. Even the mounting bracket is chrome! Needless to say, I bought it.

Now, as with most things I buy used, it comes with its own share of problems. First of all, it doesn't have a connector plug with cables so I can hook the speakers and power up. Second, I don't own any 4-track tapes. Well, I did once when I was 7 years old. But back then, I didn't know what the heck it was. It didn't sit in the 8-track player right, and it didn't play. So, I promptly destroyed it.

Other than that one time, I have never seen any other 4-track tapes. Since I need a tape to test how well this unit works, I decided to make one out of an 8-track tape. I have enough shitty tapes laying around, so I plucked one of my favorites:

I'm a huge fan of Roger Whittaker, and I have great respect for his work. Unfortunately, the track arrangement on 4-tracks is different than 8-tracks. I won't get into too many technical details, but I needed to record music on programs 1 and 3, while erasing programs 2 and 4. This should essentially give me a somewhat decent tape that will play on the 4-track player.

Now, since I couldn't keep Roger's wonderful lullabys for testing purposes, I decided to record another one of my favorite bands over top:

I took the time to record four Judas Priest songs: Screaming for Vengeance, You've Got Another Thing Coming, Desert Plains, and Living After Midnight.

After recording the tape, I had to give Roger's album a new title:

Now, to get a bit on the technical side, a 4 track player has its pinch roller built into the machine which pops up at the moving of a lever, and pushes the tape against the capstan in order to move the tape. An 8-track has the pinch roller built into the cartridge itself, so you just pop the tape in and do nothing. For this 8-track to work in a 4-track player, I removed the pinch roller and used my trusty dremel tool to cut a hole in the bottom of the cartridge.

I buggered this one up once by removing the post to hold the tape in place, so I had to destroy another 8-track: "Dick Nolan sings Folsom Prison Blues and other Johnny Cash Songs".

Just as a side note, I chose a black cartridge because the black plastic seems to hold up much better than other colors (ie yellow).

After putting my new 4-track Roger Whittaker album together, I tried it out in the 4-track machine. It stays nicely in place, and the pinch roller engages flawlessly.

Stay tuned for Part 2 when I actually do some work on the machine.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Raving Loonatics

Sometimes, I'll come across something so goofy that I need to buy it. This was one of those tapes. I found it in a thrift store. It combines three things: Rave Music, Superheroes, and Sermons. The entire tape is rave music with clips of sermons mixed in (and I thought I invented this genre with my Canned Peaches project!)

The concept of the "band members" and the artwork is just plain silly. It looks like four superheroes on the cover. What's even more rediculous is their names: MC Luvthelord, Good Guy Guy, DJ Bonus Beats, and Rolf the German Loopmeister. Although I understand that Christian music of any genre (even death metal) aims to create a wholesome, religious alternative to the mainstream, these names sound like they were created by some 50 year old losers who failed miserably to understand the rave scene in the 1990s (Rave in a barn? See the insert!)

In my opinion, the entire tape is unlistenable. But the album artwork is definately something to behold!

Hear a Clip!'

Buy The Album!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Introduction c/w video!

Hello, and welcome to the grand opening of Classical Gas Emissions! I might as well give credit where credit is due... I was inspired to start this thing because of another blog which I enjoyed immensely:

The idea of featuring the worlds stranges, horrible, stupid, and most unique creations appealed to me greatly. I've been collecting strange and bizarre things for as long as I can remember. I'll be featuring some of the best stuff that I've got in my vast collection of audio, video, and other junk.

Anyway, I figured I'd start this off the right way. Back in 1992, I went through my "Public Access TV Show" phase. Doesn't everyone? There were such memorable shows as Cooking with Fran, Math with Marty, You & Your Dog, along with a slew of people who thought they made fantastic tele-evangelists, including one of my high school teachers. Yeah, he heard about the broadcast from his students on the next day. They usually found his TV show when they couldn't find shit to watch on TV.

However, I'm going to present one of those special moments for me. This was one of those moments when I couldn't get a tape in the VCR fast enough to record what I was seeing. It was on a TV show called "Johnny Sizzle's Entertainment Watch". It's stuff like this that my blog is based on. Stuff that's too bizarre to be true. Stuff that's so unique that nobody will ever see it again. I present you with a song by a (former) local Winnipeg band called Mental Note. Just watch and you'll see why I taped it.

On a side note, this is my first EVER submission to youtube. If any of you have tips on creating better videos for youtube, please let me know (I'm using Nero 7)