Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Erase Heads: The Telltale Tape

Here's a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, or at least an obscure record in a sleeve in my apartment. From the Watergate era (the record's undated, but I'm guessing 1973 or -4) comes a re-enactment of what might really have been on that tape that so famously suffered an 18-minute gap.

The recording is engineered to sound just like an audio environment captured by bugging; the mikes are away from the actors, the traffic and the squeaky cabinet door and blender are coming through loud and clear, and you're forced to lean in to hear the dialogue.

It's not parody and it's not really satire – just some guys trying to do a good impression of what they think went down in the Oval Office between Nixon and Haldeman on the day everyone thought he egregiously implicated himself.

Not a lot of information survives about this record; Dr. Demento's played it a couple of times on his show (played carefully, I should think, since the dialogue is full of a lot of good old Nixonian cocksuckin' motherfuckin' profanity), but I still can't confirm who produced it or who's doing the voices. Is Phil Austin playing Nixon? It doesn't sound like his Nixon impression on Roller Maidens from Outer Space. Is Frazer Smith in there? And Haldeman sure sounds like Michael Gwynne. I've queried Smith and Gwynne and if they respond I'll update this post.

Audio & artwork

DISCLAIMER: To the best of my knowledge, this work is out of print and not available for purchase in any format. If you are the artist and are planning a reissue, please let me know and I’ll remove it from the blog. Also please get in touch if you’ve lost your art &/or sound masters and would like to talk with me about my restoration work.

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