Introducing Tone Deaf Tapes – Chicago’s Underground Tape Label

Searching for unique and experimental sounds that push the boundaries of ambient music? Look no further than Tone Deaf Tapes, a Chicago-based record label founded in 2021.

Tone Deaf Tapes is a record label that embraces the unconventional, offering a platform for local Chicago artists in unique ambient genres. As they continue to release captivating music and support emerging talent, their influence on the music industry is set to grow.

In this blog post, we will delve into the origin, history, and recent releases of Tone Deaf Tapes, offering you a glimpse into the innovative world of this thought-provoking tape label.

“We’ve seen the label evolve from a humble project into a platform for local artists to showcase their talent.” – Tony Assimos, Owner of Tone Deaf Tapes

Tone Deaf Tapes was founded by owner of the Chicago-based record store, Tone Deaf Records.

Origin and History

Established in 2021, Tone Deaf Tapes was a passion project that took root at their Chicago-based record store Tone Deaf Records, inspired by a colleague who runs Trouble In Mind Records and manages a tape label on the side

Tone Deaf Tapes was a way to affordably release music from their favourite local artists, with a  focus on ambient, drone, experimental, and more. Pressed once and in small batches, all their tape releases are exclusively limited and once they are gone, they are gone.

“It all began with my own collection of droney ambient guitar instrumentals, recorded during the pandemic. A friend shared his music with me, and I was hooked. That’s when the idea to release both of our projects took shape, driven by a DIY spirit – dubbing tapes at home and crafting covers from a humble copy machine.”

These humble beginnings marked their first two releases, but it wasn’t long before they realised that the DIY approach had its limitations.

The Pants “Self Titled” cassette was the first ever release on Tone Deaf Tapes.

The Growth Phase

The label truly took off with the next two releases: Midnight Minds and Prokharchin. These were a step up from their previous efforts, featuring proper tape duplication and professionally designed covers, courtesy of a friend with expertise in the field.

It was at this point that Tone Deaf Tapes began to gain traction and resonate with a broader audience. These two releases not only turned out exceptionally well but also sold decently, showing the potential for growth.

Ardea Herodias‘ by Prokharchin features modular synthesizers, keyboards, and vocals on a limited edition cassette.

Staying True to Their Roots

Whilst the label was gaining momentum, they remained loyal to their core values, keeping things local and working with people they knew and loved. This commitment has led the label to have around 5-6 releases in the pipeline, all from local talents who share their passion for music.

However, they also faced challenges akin to those encountered by larger labels, such as finding distribution and generating interest in lesser-known artists using an older format like tapes. It’s undoubtedly a tough road to travel.

Double Headed Channel‘ by Nicholas G. is a beautifully captivating ambient album.


Although still in their early years as a tape-only label, Tone Deaf Tapes has been consistently delivering captivating and thought-provoking music to their listeners.

Their unwavering commitment to supporting independent artists and fostering a sense of community within the music industry is truly commendable. Through their carefully curated releases and engaging events, they have created a platform for underrepresented voices to thrive. Furthermore, their dedication to promoting diversity and inclusivity in music reflects their belief in the transformative power of art. By championing artists from a wide range of backgrounds, Tone Deaf Tapes continues to challenge norms and reshape the musical landscape.

Please consider supporting and following Tone Deaf Tapes via the following platforms:


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