Tag Archives: Cryptic Carousel

What Can I Help You With: Making Cassette Tapes with Cryptic Carousel

Some of Bauer’s audio electronic equipment: resistors, transistors, and various tools Bauer uses to engineer custom audio-visual gear. Photo by Cole Girodano
“I just liked tapes. I thought they were cooler than CDR’s, and I wanted to stay DIY.”—Bauer

It’s Tuesday afternoon at Cryptic Carousel’s headquarters in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, and Corey Bauer is hard at work, doing what he does on most days: making tapes. Today, it’s a batch of 50 cassettes for San Francisco-based avant-folk duo Dire Wolves. The group, who are old friends of Corey’s, are putting out their latest release on Cryptic Carousel, which, in addition to serving as an audio and video production company, also functions as a small record label.

Cryptic Carousel has emerged as one of the the most successful DIY cassette tape production businesses in New York, offering a wide-ranging number of services and equipment in addition to cassette and VHS tape dubbing, including products like modified Walkman players, custom microphones, and oscillators. As the website states, the company specializes in the “design, production, manufacturing and distribution of esoteric video and audio related materials.” As the only employee, Bauer works with artists directly to produce short-run releases of cassettes in quantities that typically range from 50 to several hundred tapes per order. He runs the business from his apartment and spends most days in a similar fashion: answering emails, designing labels, toying with graphic design in photoshop, corresponding with manufacturing facilities and various companies he partners with and, most importantly, synching, dubbing, and hand packaging tape cassettes.

Apart from a few residencies here and there, including a recent stint at Brooklyn’s Silent Barn, Bauer has learned his trade entirely on his own, largely through trial and error and from years of tinkering around with analog gear as a hobby.

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