Local Artist Releases New Musical Project on Repurposed 8-Track Tapes


A few of the 8-tracks Michael Weber has repurposed. - COURTESY OF MICHAEL WEBER
  • Courtesy of Michael Weber
  • A few of the 8-tracks Michael Weber has repurposed.
Backbeat, the latest project from local musician Michael Weber, merges his passion for music, film, unique media and all things vintage. Specifically, Weber has created his own pseudo-1960s television special featuring his band as the live guest and repurposed discarded 8-track tapes to create what he’s calling the first ever video 8-track cartridge with a USB port that can be viewed on modern smart TVs and computers.

The video 8-track cartridges come preloaded with Backbeat, plus a 20-minute bonus featuring mini-doc showcasing unseen footage of Weber's early forays into music, including playing with Counting Crows at age 9.

“As a young toddler, some of my first influences were watching old videos of artists' appearances on vintage TV shows," says Weber in a press release. “I was enamored with the bold colors, unique set design, artsy camera work and of course, the iconic performances. With this in mind, I decided to create Backbeat, a throwback television special featuring my musical project, the Michael Weber Show, as the guest and myself as the program's quirky host (in a time capsule throwback disguise). To further add to this ambitious project, I personally built the sets, engineered/mixed the live music audio, and directed/edited all of the film and graphics. Even the show's funky theme music is a composition of mine from my 2020 'Quarantunes' series.”

Drawn to the idea of creating tangible art, Weber decided the best format was an old format (sort of).

“In fact, I never feel that my artistic endeavors are entirely fulfilled until I can hold them in my hands,” he says. “In the digital age of streaming, this experience has become significantly reduced. My idea to counteract this is to collect unwanted 8-track tapes destined for the landfill and repurpose them into USB hard drives. This way, I'm able to tangibly share my project in a distinctively retro manner and sustainably repurpose an outdated medium.”

To view the film, those who purchase the video 8-tracks can connect the cartridges to their smart TVs by flipping out the cartridges' USB tabs, connecting the provided USB extension cable to their smart TV and following their TV's on-screen prompts. The video can also be viewed on a computer.

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