10 Favourite Cassettes with Nico Niquo

Ahead of International Cassette Store Day happening this Saturday, we had a chat to Melbourne’s Nico Niquo, someone who is no stranger to cassettes, having recent releases through international labels Orange Milk and Phinery. He told us about his favourite 10 cassettes for you to play, rewind and repeat - here they are in alphabetical order.

A.R.T. Wilson - Overworld (Self-released)

Andras’ music sounds effortless and sublimely chill, but I’m sure a lot of precision and care goes into it. This tape is probably the most spacious and restrained thing he’s put out, but I don’t think it’s a case of it being emptier than his other tracks – in fact I think he benefits greatly from the space that envelops these delightfully dimply little keyboard sounds.

Dolphins Into The Future - “Ke Ala Ke Kua” (Ediçōes Cn)

Most work by Lieven Martens Moana under his own name or one of his many aliases taps into my main “guilty pleasure” – aimless, field-recording-heavy ambient and drone track that contain more Pacific Island samples and rainforest sounds than original sounds by the composer on his array of tinny, endearing keyboards. And all credit to him – he does it all so well, merging deeply hypnotic gestures with darker motifs and colours that are compellingly transportive. The title track of this release is my favourite of his.

Donato Dozzy - K (Further)

Breathtaking ambient techno – I marvel at Dozzy’s ability to use repetition and slow development so fluently, it never feels forced or overbearing, and everything seems to happen for a logical reason, but in ways you wouldn’t have anticipated. I think he perfected it on his album Voices From The Lake (with his frequent collaborator Neel), but it’s this tape – in particular the first track – that I love the most of his work.

Felicity Yang - Sun/Moon (Habitat)

There’s a bit of sentimental attachment to this tape, as Felicity studied with me at university and was one of the first in our little crew to put out a physical release in our time there. Sentimentality aside, this is one special release. It’s pretty hyperreal and hypnotic, and after it’s pretty brief runtime it leaves a lot of food for thought

Foodman - Shokuhin (Orange Milk)

Probably one of the most important and influential releases for me, in both a musical and a logistical sense. Shokuhin was the first Orange Milk release I came across, and introduced me to a world of yet undiscovered freedom and experimentation, something I was deeply yearning for subconsciously. As with pretty much everything Foodman’s been responsible for, it’s pretty wack (very wack) – but that’s all part of the charm. His collected discography is probably one of the most unique I’ve ever come across, and this is my personal favourite.

Huerco S. - Untitled (Opal Tapes)

There’s three tracks on the A-Side of this release that illustrate Huerco’s skill in constructing scuzzy, dreamy techno – but as far as I’m concerned, it’s all about the B-Side for me. It’s an unbroken, ever-changing twenty minutes of dreamy synth arpeggios under a plaintive cry of a melody. It was a real outlier in his catalog until his most recent album indulged in a similar area of his craft – but this is still the one I come back to the most.

Infinity Frequencies - Into The Light (Dream Catalogue)

The Infinity Frequencies approach to composition is pretty straightforward and predictable, but does much more than many of their auto-associated vaporwave peers. The eerie atmosphere and beauty specific to their work is the main attraction to me, and this cassette is one of the best at illustrating this peculiar world of music.

Oneohtrix Point Never - Betrayed In The Octagon (Deception Island)

I always find naming my favourite release by 0PN pretty tricky, because they’re all so special to me in different ways – but in terms of his earlier catalog (mostly released on cassettes or CDs I think), this is my pick, particularly the two-part “Woe Is The Transgression”, which is both understatedly beautiful and almost comically haunting.

Pender Street Steppers - Life In The Zone (Mood Hut)

These guys are pretty big now, and I think it’s clear to see why their breezy and slightly lo-fi and earthy sound really drew people’s attention on this really long mixtape (of all originals I believe…?). A little clunky in parts but that doesn’t mean a thing when the tracks are so damn good.

Tourist Kid - A Circulation (This Thing)

A special one from this year – my friends and I had been pretty stoked on Tourist Kid’s debut for a while when one of us had it passed along to the rest (I can’t remember who gave it to who first), so it was exciting to see it come out through the Melbourne staple of This Thing. The third track blows my mind – it sounds so simple in its ingredients, but they’re put together in such a compelling way. Equal parts envy and admiration.

You can catch Nico Niquo live this Saturday for Cassette Store Day at Polyester Records, Melbourne, alongside Culte and DJ/CJ’s Healthy TapesNice MusicFallopian TunesComfort35 and Dream Home. More info here.

FeaturesLee Hannah