Tape Music (Stereo)

Instrumentation: Stereo electronics
Duration: 7:14
Premiere: 5/20/13
Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyrna Beach, FL

Program Note:
Tape Music is a meditation on tape as a collection of materials that are emblematic of our throwaway culture and yet can be used to mend items that would otherwise be thrown away themselves. It is also a nostalgic tribute to the genre of tape music that persists despite the ongoing changes in playback media. The initial spur for Tape Music came from an NPR broadcast about the exploitation of Nigerian workers in China, who spent their days packing products for shipment. As I heard the sounds of boxes being taped up, I immediately decided to compose Tape Music.

I made recordings of myself at The Sound Studio (Charlottesville), assisted by engineer Mark Graham, while ripping, cutting, squashing, and otherwise playing with a wide variety of types of tape, as well as taping boxes and then slashing the tape. The different mics were isolated on different tracks to maximize the sonic potential and then individually processed using RTcmix. The original verison of Tape Music is for 5.1 surround-sound, while it also exists in this stereo version and in quad. In addition, a different piece, Tape Music∞ is scored for any number of participants (each with a roll of tape, a cardboard box and a blunt pencil) and stereo playback. Both the electronic and participant versions were premiered at the Third Practice Festival in Richmond, VA, on 11/12/13.