Caspar – Sonic Uke

(cassette, 1993) No.0409

Download Album HERE

Note: the album cover featured is the one I was sent by Chris. A different album cover is shown on his website (included in the gallery below).

GAJOOB Review by Bryan Baker, 11/28/1993:

A Raw and Rowdy Ride of Pure Fun

In the world of lo-fi, DIY recordings, few tapes capture the sheer joy of creation quite like Caspar’s “Sonic Uke.” Released in 1991, this cassette is a testament to Chris Ballew’s (Caspar) ability to turn limitations into opportunities for boundless creativity. As Ballew himself puts it, “I had so much fun making this tape I could barely stop laughing.” And boy does it show!

From the very first track, “Sonic Uke” immerses listeners in an electrifying blend of raw edged punk and heavy rockabilly influences. The tape’s vibrant energy is palpable and infectious, making it impossible not to get caught up in the unrestrained musical spirit that Ballew brings to each song. Recorded away from his Boston studio using only a dictaphone mono recorder and a borrowed component deck, Ballew’s ingenuity shines through in every note.

The creative process behind “Sonic Uke” is as fascinating as the music itself. Employing a technique he dubs “creative bouncing,” Ballew initially laid down tracks on his rudimentary recording setup. Upon returning to his 4-track studio, he skillfully wove three additional tracks around the original dictaphone recordings. The result is a cohesive, dynamic soundscape that defies its humble beginnings.

There’s an authenticity here that’s often lost in more polished productions. You can practically hear the laughter and spontaneity that went into every riff and rhythm. This cassette isn’t just music; it’s an experience—a snapshot of an artist having the time of his life and inviting you along for the ride.

“Sonic Uke” is a must-have for fans of lo-fi punk and rockabilly, as well as anyone who appreciates music that brims with raw enthusiasm and unfiltered creativity. Chris Ballew’s playful genius makes this cassette a standout gem in the DIY music scene.

Media: cassette.

PRICE: free download.


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I am Briyan Frederick (aka Bryan Baker), probably best known as the publisher of GAJOOB and a founder of Tapegerm Collective I’m collecting all of that and more on dabodab, where I write about and document my life as a graphic arts professional, songwriter, experimental recording artist, zine and web publisher, local and personal historian and silver creative. read more.

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I feel vaguely confident that this song, created entirely out of other peoples’ loops (in the spirit of the competition) is the only one like it in this collection.Fluffy Porcupine