Cassettera: Sensationnel

Almost from its commercial introduction followed by cheap home recording technology, the modest cassette has been the champion of the underground music scene. The underground cassette network was just flourishing globally throughout the late 70s and 80s, as reported in a slew of independent music journals and fanzines. It seemed as if all you had to do was write to a handful of individuals expressing some interest, and your name would get attached to mailing lists all over the world and cassettes would come rolling in from *everywhere*.

When the CD-R and mini-disc appeared, the urgency behind cassettes seemed to evaporate, with the expected bastions remaining to proliferate the cassette culture. But now, as the collectibility of those old cassettes skyrockets, and renewed interest in the medium surfaces, Jukebox Heart launches “Cassettera” to celebrate those inconvenient little boxes of music.

Starting this series is a track from one of the releases in the highly sought after series “Sensationnel,” a “cassette-magazine,” as the genre became known for its included graphic components, based in France in the early 1980s.

The above image is a large wraparound cover that housed a thick magazine, the cassette
and several other graphic inserts.

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The Sensationnel cassette-magazine series was a much lauded publication produced by the French label Illusion Production, home of the band DDAA. They were issued in very limited quantities, and are priceless. I’ve just got the one edition, Issue number 2, and it is a wonderful collection of the European underground of the time, circa 1982. There were five issues in the series, each with specially designed packaging and of very limited quantity, all including xerox artwork from every artist participating in the project. The track presented here is from a performer known as Lady June, where she tells an allegorical story of meeting a talking turd and all of the hazards that go along with that. I’ve also included her graphic contribution to the packaging as well. Click on the arrow above to hear the track.

The tape itself is somewhat in poor repair and tends to drag against the motors of any cassette player it is inserted into, but I managed to get a reasonable, if somewhat warbly, play-through for you.

Image of the original cassette

Image of the cover of the
accompanying magazine.

Lady June’s artwork , as seen as
a page withing the magazine.

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