cassette versus vinyl

Cassette Versus Vinyl (Old School Smackdown)

Featuring 3 British artists who are chalking up a reputation for their take on the ephemera of pop music: Horace Panter on demotape / mixtape; Morgan Howell on vinyl; Chris Barton on cassette.

Meet the artists


Horace Panter

Horace, co-founder of 2-Tone Records and legendary bassist of The Specials has had a front seat in the music business for many years. He’s toured all over the World which has given him a unique insight into how all manner of musicians operate. For this show Horace has chosen the recording ‘demo-tape’ as his subject. A musician’s tool as important as any in the pre internet world. Nile Rodgers agreed and promptly bought the ‘Good Times’ piece for his studio wall.

Each of the paintings is researched to find recording studios, addresses, old phone numbers etc. Some have been harder to find than others. Horace spent the best part of a week trying to find the details for Wizard Recording Studio where The Undertones recorded ‘Teenage Kicks’. “I spoke to all sorts of official people, museums and record stores in Belfast until, finally, I found Terry Hooley. His response was “sure, I have a bunch of those cassettes in my garage... hang on a minute”. A couple of minutes later I had all the information I needed from the man himself.”


Morgan Howell

Morgan decided some time in 2008 that he was going to leave behind the world of advertising and reinvent himself as an artist. He chose a subject matter near to his heart and fortunately for him, most everyone over the age 40 - The 7” single. Since his first sculptural 3D Supersize paintings were D-noticed at The Royal Acedemy, he has sold his pieces to a long list of record companies, music impresarios and artists including Neil Diamond, Ozzy Osbourne, Ray Davies, Elvis Costello and Johnny Marr to name but a few.

“Inevitably, you start playing the game of what you’d commission him to paint. At the moment I’m thinking Billy Preston’s “Billy’s Bag”, on the UK Sue label, with that fantastic paper bag listing all the label’s artists. Or maybe the Reflections’ “(Just Like) Romeo and Juliet” on Stateside. No, it’s got to be Kenny Dino’s “Your Ma Said You Cried in Your Sleep Last Night”, with my then-girlfriend’s name inscribed in nail polish on its HMV/United Artists label 51 years ago. Now there’s a record that deserves to have its portrait painted.”


Chris Barton

Having helped create creatures that walk and talk for such films as Star Wars, The Fifth Element and Harry Potter, and then working in Formula One motor racing with world champions Brawn GP, Chris turned his artistic talents to a new challenge – painting and fabricating larger than life 3D replicas of vintage music cassettes.

“Thus far, of the many pieces I have done, I haven’t built any duplicate cassettes - each one has been unique. It’s amazing that for something that follows the same basic format, that there is such a variety out there. I don’t know how many different manufacturers versions there must be. It’s one of the things keeps my interest in the form.”

The cassettes are astonishing in themselves, but it’s when you get to the cases with their hand painted, acrylic on canvas inlays of such musicians as Miles Davies, Bob Marley, David Bowie and many more, that you realize he’s been one hell of an artist all along.

Dave Finkel of ‘New Girl’ fame is amongst the many collectors on both sides of the Atlantic who own Chris’s creations.


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