When I was little, my folks were cool enough to give me a record
player and a bunch of random records. These would prove to be formative,
just like everything else I heard – themes to tv shows, cartoon music,
anything on the radio. I listened to everything with equal interest, but
tried to manipulate the picture as soon as I found some way to
My folks had an 8-track player. I’d pull the cartridge in and out,
trying to match the ‘weeerp’ you’d get when you plugged it back in with
the beat on the record. I loved Blue Rondo ala Turk by Dave Brubeck, but
liked it even better when I could spin the record backwards and control
the speed with my fingers. As soon as I got ahold of 2 tape decks, I’d
make my own jacked-up radio plays, interspersing wrong-speed variations
on TV commercials I’d recorded with weird dialog my friends and I would
make up. These recordings are sadly lost – sad for me, anyway.
I started making tape-pause collages back then too. Grab a blank
tape, and record tiny bits and pieces of songs, editing the song(s)
together on the fly. You have to remember what all you’ve recorded if
you want any continuity, but that’s not always the case: sometimes it’s a
game of exquisite corpse. I’d forgotten about this until the mid 90s,
when the internet brought me John Oswald’s Mystery Tapes. I really dug
these, and loved them for their composition-by-deletion economy which
generated new sounds.
So this is a collection of pieces I constructed, rather than played,
and might be the most out-there of these comps, so far. I don’t know –
let me know. Here’s the rundown:
Brother Reed O’Berne brought me a short film to score, a little piece my
brother had shot (if I remember correctly). Timing the edits in the
audio to those in the film yielded new rhythms and ideas.
The Yamaha MT-120 4-track dominated all of my time for a while, and I
experimented like crazy. This is my attempt to distill what, at the
time, were 2 of my favorite pieces of music: Pithoprakta and Metastasis
by Xenakis. These textures would alternately alienate or envelope
whoever I played them for. Here’s a condensed version of what I liked 20
years ago, coupled with my attempt to compliment said textures with my
Tape pause on FM. Listener’s guide: listen for the new melodies and beats that happen accidentally.
Ryan Dignan and I were collaborating on sounds for Megan Griffith’s
First Aid for Choking, this being one we recorded but did nothing with.
The woman speaking through the shortwave is a nun recounting a
particularly stressful trip to Miami, wherein the stewardess tries to
calm her with alcohol. “You.. need… something…”. The percussion is an
exercise Ryan created for his elementary school class using a tupperware
cup or yogurt container…
I used to have this great schedule: “4 10s”: 4 ten hour days, with
Fridays off. I’d sit in front of the piano 9-5, recording any keepers I
stumbled into. The cover of the March edition was taken during this
This weird line, somewhat tied to serialism, was in an old notebook, one
I found sometime in the “4-10s” period, and I made a little piano piece
out of it. My friend Barret Anspach and I (we may get that trio going
yet!) recorded a variant at our practice space, applying a few more
rules to the composition, creating the phasing you hear here.
In this bit from William Weiss’ Emergency Pants collection, we hear the
protagonist’s attention drift while he does the laundry, fantasizing he
is winning a blueberry pie.
Tape pause on AM, in AZ. Listener’s guide: Ignore the clicks, listen to
the bass, kick and snare in this one. This is what happens when I wait
in the car while someone runs into the store ‘real quick’.
Matt and I make this collage of tape, Native American flute and gtr one
night in Lake City. It reminds us of the womb so much, we name it this.
Tape Pause on FM. There’s something about FM radio transmitting 80s
buttrock that just.. has it’s own flavor. Listener’s Guide: Follow the
guitar, at least in the beginning.
Depicting the freezing landscape of Chelyabinsk, Siberia, Russia in
1998. I lived there for two months. Csound, Shortwave, stretched bird
Tape pause on FM. Listener’s guide: I think the flutes work with the choral stuff..