Human Barbie Shows the Magic of Recording to Tape in “• nineteen80 •” [Music Video]

With the rise of computers and digital sound it’s really rare to find an artist who still values the raw process of making a record to tape. Many artists use completely digital midi sounds, and even auto-tune the vocals past the point of recognition leading the songs to be synthetic and often emotionless. Thankfully, there are a few gems left in this world who are still doing analog recording and making sounds that are truly authentic in sound and instrumentation.


Human Barbie is one of those amazing artists with true talent who is making a record the real way. Every single instrument on his song “• nineteen80 •” was recorded directly to tape and contains no digital processing or effects. It’s all analog! It’s all beautiful and it feels truly magical. Human Barbie is a breath of fresh air in this industry and we truly hope that his process inspires other artists to go back to the old school days of making an analog record.

The record that Human Barbie has made contains the purest emotion. The emotion cuts through on every single line that leaves his lips and hits the microphone to the tape. The emotion even comes through on the guitar and the piano and all of the instruments featured on this beautiful and chill track.


The recording has a warmth and depth to it that is impossible to get on a digital recording. The recording process and incredible songwriting abilities truly set Human Barbie apart from other artists. His true talent is completely exposed on his flawless performance. The music video for “• nineteen80 •” gives a brief explanation of the process of recording to tape. It’s impossible to not love and appreciate this gorgeous song. Enjoy the video on YouTube, we truly hope that it inspires artists:

We asked Human Barbie to dive into the process of recording to tape:

“We recorded this track in two phases – we did the drums first at Matt Brundrett’s rehearsal space w/ a four mic setup that you can see in the video. I printed the drum tracks onto my 16-track reel to reel, a Fostex B-16, and then did all of the other tracking live – I have a little apartment in a zen temple that I converted into a recording studio. I used almost exclusively dynamic microphones, and hit EQ and compression before going to tape. Once the basic tracking was down, Angela came by and we did the backing vocals simultaneously on that big ribbon mic from the video (an AEA r88mk2)! During the mix, I used exclusively spring reverb (I have a few that I use to create a big, spacious stereo sound), and tape echo (an Echoplex EP3). The whole thing was super fun – recording to tape, everything feels really alive, there’s a sense of urgency and uniqueness to each take, knowing that you can’t go back and fix things.”

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Written by Ryan Cassata

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