Archive for the ‘tape’ Category

Recording in progress!

November 19, 2015

Last year, I purchased an old Tascam Portastudio 414 on a whim. One of the DJs at the station had got it from a pawn shop, intending to record their shows– enthusiastic, but probably not the best tool for the job. Seeing it, I was filled with fun ideas– I generally enjoy working with physical media, but tape will always be special to me. With a vacation from work in mid-swing, I decided it was finally time to get some tape rolling.

So far, a lot of my ideas are working out. I’m remembering some of the ins and outs of working with tape, and having fun with the various eccentricities of the medium. I’m also taking my good sweet time, so don’t get too excited at these little snippets– there’s a fair chance that none of this will make the cut. This is also recorded directly to my phone, via a set of headphones off the Portastudio, so forgive the fidelity. Enjoy!

Liveblogging! “It’s Too Damn Early,” 4/7/12

April 7, 2012

Blue Sausage Infant — Afflicted By the Wind Disease (from “Manitou,” on Alrealon)
Blue Sausage Infant — Hosebag
Oubliette — Falls of Rauros (from “Tol Brandir” cassette on St. Petersburg Institute of Noise)
Blue Sausage Infant — Abdominal Frost
Jazzfakers — Flying Carpet Transport (this, and next three, from “Experi-MENTAL Compilation 2,” on Alrealon)
Invisible Hand — Evader
Violet — Blatta Blyad
The Expanding Man — Interpretation of Dreams
Baculum — East End Boys (from split, double cassette release Pregnant Spore/Baculum, on Phage Tapes)
Philip Gayle — The Queensboro Bridge Song (Feelin’ Slumpy) (from “Babanco Total,” on Public Eyesore)
Philip Gayle — Bi-curious Marsupials Underneath The Panels For the Walls of Purgatory
Philip Gayle — The Indexicality of My Middle Finger
Philip Gayle — Naked Brunch
Philip Gayle — Pajama Turtles
Seth Ryan — RCT 1-3 (from split, double-cassette release with Brandkommando, Seth Ryan, Fear Konstruktor, and Disgust on Phage Tapes)
Hobo Cubes — You Made Me Feel The Past (from “Inscriptions vol.1,” on Sacred Phrases)
Head Boggle’d — Diesel Power (from Head Boggle’d/Fossils split cassette on Middle James Co.)
Crank Sturgeon — Fuchs-Octubre (from “Fuchs-Octubre,” on Psych Form Records)

“ITDE” 12/18/10

December 18, 2010

I’ve had some solid response to last week’s call for scummy cassettes and ill-advised recordings. If making a tape ever got you beat up, and you managed to keep it on “record,” I want to hear it. I’m playing a Teddy Ruxpin tape right now– in stereo, with the audio data track. Thanks, Trash Ant!

So send those tapes (or microcassettes, or CDRs, whatever) to:

WDBX c/o DaveX
224 N. Washington St.
Carbondale IL 62901 USA

Sensible Nectar — Neurological Problem (from split w/ Casket at the Altar, on Violent Noise Atrocities)
Sensible Nectar — Liplike Structure (from “Tectonic Grind,” on Rainbow Bridge Recordings)
The Adjective Noun — The Adjective Noun3″ CDR #1 (from self-titled 3″ business card CDR set of 4, on Obsolete Audio Formats)
The Adjective Noun — The Adjective Noun 3″ CDR #2
Abortus FeverRecycled Tape (excerpt)
HarS — 50/50 (from “50/50” limited edition c30)
Zipperspy — Recycled Tape (excerpt)
Teddy Ruxpin — The Wooly Whats-It Parade
Unknown — Deep Mind Tape, Astral Projection Side 2 (excerpt)
Unknown — Progression, August 1979
The Adjective Noun — The Adjective Noun 3″ CDR #3
Warm Climate — Saltwater Simplified (from “Camouflage on the River Wretched,” on Stunned)
Warm Climate — Trespassing
Warm Climate — We Wish You Rain
Warm Climate — More Wretched
DaveX — Free Air (from “Free Air” limited c60)
Captain Beefheart — Electricity
@c — Composition #77, pts. 1-6 (from “0°-100°,” on Monochrome Vision)

Reviews for 12/8/09

December 8, 2009

Matt Weston – “Seasick Blackout” – 7272 Music

This is not an EP. It’s a three-track, sixteen-minute treasure, filled to the brim with Weston’s signature percussion and electronics. If Tom Waits was an orca (a drunken orca, natch) then he’d make music like “You’re Not That’s Right,” which opens the disc. Off-kilter, sobbing kettle drum noises issue mournful wails amongst the careless clattering of tin. “I Just Saw Fog and Dust” brings us to a clearing in an electronic cuckoo forest, where Weston is a one-man Arkestra. Amazingly, this doesn’t seem too hyperbolic as I listen to it for the umpteenth time today. But really, nothing compares to the final act, which I have described poorly as sounding like an ocean liner AND a freight train capsizing in the Arctic. “This October, All Octobers” is Weston’s opus– an arresting and majestic work of musique concrète that not only evokes nostalgic disaster and sci-fi film, but simultaneously re-awakens listeners to the immense power of sound. Most highly recommended.

Tomoko Sauvage – “Ombrophilia” – and/OAR

I’ve a special love of water music. Recently, I fashioned a weighted multi-ziploc bag enclosure in which to sink my microcassette recorder in the tub. I floated a few Corelle salad dishes about, dripping water inside them, while gently tapping their sides with a pair of homemade superball/chopstick mallets. I ended up with about 10 minutes of ethereal, globular beauty captured roughly in a tiny tape. Turns out that Sauvage did something similar, substituting wooden spoons for my mallets, and hydrophones in place of my sunken tape recorder. I might be a little jealous to find something so close to home making its way to and/OAR, but who wouldn’t be? However, Sauvage has done it properly– exploring many angles of her setup, from a calming refractive series of chimes to a frenetic clashing of dishware; and making a full-length study of the possible sounds that could be achieved. And of course, it all sounds great. Every soft stroke of wood upon porcelain is perfect, and the reflection of sounds from off one another audible as well. Lovely stuff.

Beth Laurin – “1984” – Firework Editions

Here’s a strange one… multi-media artist Beth Laurin curates an assemblage of tape recordings made in 1984, creating low-key creations to no apparent purpose. Occasionally, something drifts out of this slow-motion hodgepodge to get your attention, but mostly, its just one aimless cut after another. “What do you say about eating?” she asks in one track. Later– “This is so dangerous. It could go on forever.” Yeah, it seems that way.

mystery tape update

September 18, 2009

I’m still ripping tapes– just finished number 27 a few moments ago. This has been a truly interesting project. I’ve got the dedicated PC sitting in my garage, so I bop down there every hour or so and change out tapes. Occasionally, I’ll find things in mid-rip, so I put on some headphones to hear what’s going on. Needless to say, I’ve had some interesting aural moments! Last night, I slipped on the headphones just in time to hear Tujiko Noriko whisper “I love you” quietly in my ears. It took me a moment to realize what the heck was going on, and then I had a good laugh. What timing!

I’ve also run into odd moments from my infamous “Ghost Show,” some awesome improvised drones, and some sort of spectacularly failing phone-in interview that I’ve yet to place. I’m going to have to refresh myself on this one– it seems to have involved quite a few people in-studio, but I can’t remember what the exact situation was.

As for the mystery tapes themselves, they’re coming right along. I decided to number the series (there will be 41 total) and scatter them to the wind over a long period of time. I haven’t decided on the exact method yet, but it will probably involve me carrying a tape around everywhere until it just feels right. Some of these are much more strange than others, too! While a good lot of these are “just” straight shows, there are a bunch that document extended improv sessions at WDBX, with little or no identifying information whatsoever.

mystery tape(s)

September 16, 2009

While ripping all these tapes, I realized that there still remains the question of what to do with them afterward. I’ve decided that since I currently have plenty of tapes to dub over for future recording projects, I would very much like to let these random recordings out into the wild to inspire and confound the lucky people who happen to find them.

As such, I’ve started scratching off the labels of each newly-ripped tape, and affixing a printed label– “mystery tape” in its place. Later, I plan to overdub a short greeting at the beginning of each tape, providing contact information and my congratulations to the finder. I may also number these tapes.

Naturally, some of these tapes will find their way into the usual places– thrift and junk stores are a good bet. But there are around 50 of them… so I may have to get clever and start leaving them in unusual places.

Cassette ripping– yes, it’s crazy

September 16, 2009

A few months ago, I mentioned that I’d been going through my cassette tape archive, and had discovered a heap of taped broadcasts still awaiting transfer. Shortly after writing that entry, I contacted my go-to guy for “hey do you happen to have a _____,” this being my helpful friend Karthik. As it happened, he did have a machine dedicated to ripping cassette tapes directly to my PC, and was happy to loan it to me once he had a chance to retrieve it from storage. Some of these tapes had been waiting patiently since 2002– no big deal waiting a bit longer!


Last weekend, Karthik showed up with the machine, and I’ve been ripping tapes successfully since last night. I did encounter a couple problems along the way, though.

First off, the manual is about 50% Chinglish. My favorite part is on page 44. “This is the main funtion of the Plusdeck2c.” For some reason, stating the main “funtion” of the unit halfway through the manual just cracks me up, and I made no shortage of dumb jokes about this for the rest of the evening. That the phrase appears as a bullet point seems to increase the hilarity– I may need this on a t-shirt.

Secondly, the PC I chose to mate with the cassette ripper has a thin-profile case. In other words, only PC components for the gnome hobbyist fit inside. I ended up using one of my various Dremel tools to chew a neat hole in the side of the case, allowing the PC power cable to emerge. It’s not exactly elegant, but plopping the ripper directly on top of the PC was a fair enough workaround, especially since I lay this PC down flat anyway.

Other than that, everything works fine. I had to screw around with the levels a bit, but I have to admit that the included software does a fine job of making cassette ripping into a set-it-and-forget-it experience.

It’s also fairly exciting! I’ve already ripped two shows from 2003, and two from 2002. One of the 2002 shows is from 7/26, which includes two improvisational mixing sets of mine. I’m pretty cheesed about the playlist:

EKV - Testimony
Kid Koala - "Nerdball" and "Fender Bender"
Hoppy Kamiyama - Fresh for the Jet Set
Art Bears - Collapse
Dave Fischoff - 926
Tuxedomoon - Dark Companion
Jackie-O Motherfuckers - The Pigeon
The Saboten - Unmitigated Audacity
DaveX - Happy Birthday Archie
Forma 4 - Reproduction
Kalma - Toob Steak
:::::::IMPROV PORTION OF SHOW (list of materials used, in whole or in part):::::::::
Jimmy Swaggart - May the Circle Be Unbroken (speech in Detroit, Mich.)
John F. Kennedy - Nuclear Tests Speech, Nov. 1961
James Bailey - Train to the 8th Dimension
Gen. Douglass MacArthur - Keynote Speech, 7/7/1952
John Coltrane - The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost
Eccentre - Gray Landmarks
Jimi Hendrix - Star-Spangled Banner
Rasmussen - Zac McKracken (Commodore64 Remix)
Adrian75 - Elves in my Bathroom
Keith Jarrett - Live in Lausanne, 1973.. solo concert
::::::::::2ND IMPROV PORTION OF SHOW (list of materials used, in whole or in part):::::::::
Rune Lindblad - Optica 8
July Fourth Toilet - Noise Maker Pomposity
Contrastate - Northern Twilight
Merzbow - Bamboo Honey
Hoppy Kamiyama - Insect's Dream
Kalma - Scrubbing Lockdown

Right now, I can’t be sure of how much of this show was on the tape, but I’d imagine this is only half of the show. Hopefully, another tape from this date is in the pile as well. I also saw five tapes from 1/28/06, the day of my infamous six-hour broadcast. Some of the tapes seem to indicate eleven sides were originally recorded– I’ve only located nine, so who knows where the gap will be?