Instrumentation: 5.1 Surround Sound
Third Practice Festival, Richmond, VA
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, the genre that developed when electronic music was encoded on magnetic tape, and one that persists despite the ongoing changes in playback media. Whether used merely to pack other, more permanent objects, or to extend the life of items we care about, such as a favorite book, the found sounds of these humble materials form the substance of this piece.
The initial spur for Tape Music came from an NPR broadcast I heard about the exploitation of Nigerian workers in China, who spent their days packing products for shipment. I heard the sounds of boxes being taped up, and immediately decided to compose Tape Music. Composer Scott Barton and producer Mark Gresham assisted me in recording myself at The Sound Studio in Charlottesville, Virginia, where I ripped, cut, squashed, and otherwise played with tape, as well as taping boxes and then slashing through the tape. –JS