Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tape Loops and Phasing

I performed a number of shows last year using only 1/4 tape machines, a sine wave generator, homemade oscillator and echo units (borrowed from Derek Madison and Andy Dordevic). These performances used sound-responsive light boxes triggered by layers within the music to hypnotize and pacify the audiences. Repetition became more entrancing with the element of visual interaction... shadows, reflections, small fluttering variations all completely in sync with the rhythm. In a dark room (or abandoned factory) I thought this was pretty wonderful. The amount of organization required, however, to keep track of twenty little bits of tape with different things on different sides all played back at different speeds through different machines, inside a psychedelic kaleidoscope with sweaty hands and people chattering away at you all powered by a rumbling generator that was putting out a variable voltage was a little daunting. Things tended to go wrong, or off the charted path, at every performance and real-time compromises were necessary. I have recorded a two dimensional sampler of some of these bits at home where I can keep track of the process better, but it's not the same without the flashy lights and throbbing noise, I fear, and I may have lost some of the good tape loops which are generally only about a foot long and impossible to store sensibly.

This piece uses two stereo 1/4 reel to reels, one 1/4 mono reel, two Roland Space Echos Re201 and a cassette of Rozasia practice. All material on the tape loops was created by me at some point in time between 2000 and now, although I sometimes cut out of found tapes to make my loops. No other sound processing or live instrumentation was used. It ends when I had to put everything away and go to work.


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