Thirty years after its recording and just 10 days since R.E.M. broke up, the band’s exceedingly rare 1981 “Cassette Set” demo tape — 400 copies were sent to labels, clubs and journalists — has surfaced online, giving many fans their first taste of producer Mitch Easter’s original mixes of “Radio Free Europe,” “Sitting Still” and “White Tornado.”
Cleaned up and posted by The Power of Independent Trucking blog, the six tracks — full takes and studio goofs of each of the three songs — are taken from one of the original cassettes made of the April 15, 1981, session at Easter’s Drive-In Studio in Winston-Salem, N.C.
This recording is the basis of the original 7-inch release of “Radio Free Europe” on Hib-Tone Records, featuring a mix, famously disliked by R.E.M., by label owner Johnny Hibbert following some overdubs by the band. Also not happy with those results, Easter himself offered another mix for consideration at the time, which later was included on Eponymous.
Below, you can stream Easter’s original mix of “Radio Free Europe” off the “Cassette Set” demo tape. You can download the entire cassette, in high-quality FLAC files, and read a fuller history of the tape’s lineage and how it came to be online at The Power of Independent Trucking — the blog that last year offered a similarly cleaned-up set of newly leaked Smiths demos.
R.E.M., ‘Radio Free Europe’ (Original Mitch Easter Mix) by Slicing Up Eyeballs
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