By now, most of you are likely familiar with Record Store Day, at least in name, if nothing else. The annual international event was created 10 years ago as a means for promoting independent record stores and the purchasing of physical releases in an era where music has become largely digitized and sales of physical media was plummeting. To get people into brick and mortar shops, various special and/or limited edition releases and reissues are pressed specifically for RSD with various in-store events and giveaways taking place, depending on the individual shops. Partially inspired by Record Store Day, “Cassette Store Day was created in 2013 by a group of record labels based in the UK,” with the major difference being that, while RSD has maintained a focus on supporting independent music retailers, CSD was formed with the specific intention of supporting and promoting the Cassette Tape format itself. Meanwhile, while Record Store Day takes place each year on the 3rd Saturday of April, Cassette Store Day falls in September. Even more specifically, it’s actually today (October 14th, 2017).
Every year, the Cassette Store Day website will feature a full list of official CSD titles being released, along with a list of retailers who will be carrying them and participating in the event; although, in viewing the locations, I know for a fact that it isn’t entirely complete. I’d imagine that list of official titles is more thorough than the one for shops, but even then, there will still be other releases offered outside of it, official or otherwise. One particularly impressive release that you won’t find on the CSD list arrives via a collaboration between cassette label, Megatapes, and Lakeshore Records, the folks behind successful scores and high profile soundtrack releases for projects like Stranger Things, Moonlight, Black Mirror: San Junipero, Master Of None: Season 2, and Drive. The new merger is yielding something a bit different, this time around, as the standard original soundtrack formula is eschewed in favor of the new rescoring of a bona fide horror classic.
Last year, West Virgina-based musician/composer, Dallas Campbell, teamed up with the UK‘s Robin “OGRE” Ogden — known for his compositions and sound design for video games and digital media — to release Beyond The Infinite, an “alternate score” to Stanley Kubrick‘s cinematic masterpiece, 2001: The Space Odyssey. The duo’s sonic re-imagining, which took them 2 months to create, spanned the entire 134-minute runtime of the film, offering a fresh interpretation fueled by analog synths; something which Campbell has amassed a large collection of over the years. The original music that was used in 2001 falls within the public domain, and the pair decided to look into a list of other films unrestricted by copyright to determine their next foray into the re-scoring world. They quickly settled on George Romero‘s genre-defining 1968 zombie flick Night Of The Living Dead.
Due to an error on a substitute title card which didn’t have a copyright claim printed on it — a practice required at the time — Night Of The Living Dead immediately entered into the public domain upon its release. It is unfortunate that Romero and his co-writer, John Russo, were never put in a position to maintain control or reap the rewards for their brilliance and vision like they deserved to be, but there have been benefits to that massive error for the rest of us. Most people are likely unaware of just how historic the film has proven, in that it laid out the very blueprint for what we now recognize as the modern zombie: undead creatures rising from the grave with an appetite for human flesh. Prior to that, the ghouls had been presented primarily along the lines of the victims of voodoo mind control sort. The benefit of the motion picture being released royalty-free nearly 50 years ago is that it has allowed endless others to pull from Romero and Russo‘s model and build upon it to expand the genre further, unrestricted by fear of legal repercussion. It has also allowed Campbell and OGRE to not only score directly to the film, but actually add their soundtrack to the footage and upload the video in full for public consumption. It also allows them to now sell that music in a physical format.
Collaborating remotely from their respective locations across the Atlantic, the two composers had a false start before settling on the impressive 100-minute synth-driven score that they ended up with, which mirrors the action and tone within the film to a remarkable degree. Their limited edition cassette release for the rescore pays tribute to the electronic tools that they employed, both through its extensive list of analog synths printed on the inner side of the 4-panel J card, as well as in the outer packaging, which consists of a “blood-splattered modular synthetic Norelco box with Zombie-Apocalypse Roland System 100 slipcase.” Released in a limited run of only 100 copies, the tapes come in a transparent black shell with artwork by John Bergin and include a download card. You can order the tape now at the Megatapes bandcamp page, or over at the OGRE SOUND bandcamp where you can also listen to the audio. They cost $12.
Check out the product images below followed by a video of George Romero‘s Night Of The Living Dead in full with the OGRE & Dallas Campbell rescore.