Cassette is quality and quantity

Each year has its own perfect summer soundtrack, the kind of music that blends seamlessly with the bells of ice cream trucks and the nighttime songs of cicadas.

The 2005 edition, Cassette’s Beautiful California, has come out just as the summer is dying, but that’s no reason not to listen to it. After all, in Miami it’s always summer.

Recorded over several months on a laptop by UM student Devin Smith and released on his own label Atomisk Records, Beautiful California subscribes to the notion that brevity is the soul of wit, with 35 tracks spread over 36 minutes. Delivered in bite-size, easy to chew chunks, the tunes include everything from irresistible sunny instrumentals to party songs in unusual time signatures to love ballads for inanimate objects.

Sequenced with the catchiest songs at the front, the most intricate songs in the middle and the mood pieces at the end, the album flows effortlessly from track to track, the product of five days spent deciding the final song order.

Brimming with whimsical humor, rhythmic complexity and inventive sonic touches, its ambitiousness never gets in the way of a memorable melody, with sing-along choruses practically hurling themselves out of the speakers.

Matt Gajewski can be contacted at