Kurt Cobain's freaked-out mix tape


Well. That was…interesting? Yes, Interesting is what I’ll go with.


Honestly, I thought it pretty great!

He explored a lot of ideas in there and the lo-fi production, over driving the cassette makes it all work for me personally.

Doing this back in the 80’s was a lot of fun. Get whatever you can find… turntable, reel to reel, modded cassette players, and a basic sound board and go for it! Decks that would pause and start back up were valuable. Many would glitch the audio, or have other problems. Good ones were pretty seamless. Modding one to get rid of the erase head was fun too. Lay down some audio, roll it back, drop some more on top, etc…

I’m happy somebody found and shared this. Like a blast from the past.

A production like this can be hard to relate to if you’ve not lived in those times. Some computers were up to the task of manipulating audio, but mostly it was analog means for most people. That would include basic effects one can do on a sound board, or using reel to reel and actually cutting tape to splice things together. Putting your thumb on the source deck would vary pitch, and we all know what happens with turntables.

While it may seem like just this collage, and it is mind you, there is just some raw exploration and expression in there. Cutting out magazine photos to make things is a great analogy. People will be intrigued by how they are juxtaposed, or what parts were kept, combined… What I heard on this was lots of ideas, vibes, some effects, and in general just exploring audio, seeing what felt like what. Was is spooky, twisted, funny?

Some free form radio programs would air audio projects like this. Some were just bizzare, soundscapes, vocalizations, themes, and a quiet listen on a dark night would just take your mind places, trigger memories.

That’s what this is, and that’s what it did. I’ve got lots of vivid memories of that time, “dawn of digital”, just before “rip, mix, burn” where analog still ruled and a day spent producing something like this was a day of musing over possibilities to come, trying to get emotions and overall feels out of your head and onto something others can share. Great fun!


i wish lennon had lived long enough to have met cobain.

This spew part is appetising! Also according to the vimeo post you embedded, which was from a person who claims to have been given a copy of it by Kurt, this was made in 1986.

PS: this reminds me of a must-have book for any Nirvana/Kurt Cobain fan: Journals. It’s basically just scanned pages of Kurt’s diaries and notes and features some winners like this one:


Also reminds me of this recentish (2009) production: Exile - Radio where the whole album is made from taken radio transmissions in the LA area. Pretty cool. When it came out the dude did a live performance, with one of the inputs being live (at the time) radio transmissions, meaning he literally didn’t know what he was working with until he was working with it. Here’s the full studio album:

I personally love the track that starts at 2:55. Obviously much cleaner production considering it was made 20 years later than Kurt’s. It’s also pretty hilarious the people on vimeo asking the dude for a better quality version. It came off a tape ffs!

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