Scan It and See via Todd, the Lookout re-issue of the first MTX album on cassette ("Lookout Classix presents...") This was issued when Making Things with Light, the first MTX LP on Lookout came out in 1990. Todd says: "Originally released in 1986 on Disorder Records, this was re-released by Lookout Records. Discogs says 1990, which is probably true for the LP, but I suspect the tape was 2-4 years later judging by the presence of a barcode." It's possible that this cassette was indeed manufactured 2-4 years later, but I wouldn't necessarily take the bar code as an indication and allow me to explain why. Even though UPC codes had been in use for some time by 1990, their inclusion on record artwork was weirdly controversial, especially in punk rock circles. It is really hard to re-conjure or to understand fully the angst and outrage caused by what was really just a cataloguing and inventory tool, but people tended to get really upset about the barcode, calling it a "fascist flag" and invoking Biblical "mark of the beast" rhetoric. I'd guess it was because the "punks" were really all hippies underneath, striving against capitalism and questing for the purity of authenticity, an all-rice diet, a single cool glass of water and other far out outta sight stuff. "Down with commercialism," we'd say (in the context of this commercial product we were trying to sell you that you were trying to buy with your filthy lucre.) It's a funny old world and it was old and funny back then too, maybe even moreso. Anyway, anti-capitalist ideals aside, the exigencies commercialism on the little pseudo-record business level weren't really relevant to the sort of business that had need of such tools, and it's true they didn't come into genuine use till a bit later in our world. These records weren't generally being sold in situations where scanning UPC codes tended to happen. Making Things with Light and the first LP re-issue were on the pre-UPC code side of that barrier. However... well, my memory here may be a little fuzzy but as I remember it: Jon von was a trickster. And when he was doing the MTwL artwork he had the mischievous idea of including in it a phony UPC code swiped from a box of tampons (if I remember correctly.) The idea was that someone might accidentally scan one some time and hijinks would ensue. I never heard that any such hijinks did ensue. But maybe they did ensue. I just looked at a copy of MTwL that I have lying around and there is no code on it, so either the tampon plan didn't happen, or it actually was removed in later editions when UPC codes started to be used in earnest on Lookout releases and not just as stunts. I know Lookout and distributors used to put barcode stickers on the records that had no printed-on codes (which again provoked un-imaginable angst and rage... for some, it was a hill worth dying on, apparently.) Whichever it was, it is possible that Todd is right and that this barcode means a later date for the manufacture of this cassette. But it could just as well be the result of a Jon von gag, a code for some other product. Preparation H? Underoos? The possibilities are limitless. You'll just have to scan it and see. #music #punkrock #hippies #minds

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