I make collage music compositions out of my experience of our hyper-mediated world. However, I don’t want my music to be taken over by systems that produce the sounds I seek to sample and re-contextualize. On the contrary, I regard my music as an anti-brainwashing personal cure. Collage remains an important strategy of expression for media based art, but the conventions of collage often simply correspond with the technology used to chop up, juxtapose and organize the sounds. I compose with cassette tapes because they allow for a strong physical connection to composing and performing sample-based music.
As opposed to traditional approaches to the notion of the ‘score’, I consider any group of prerecorded cassette tapes I make to be a potential composition. Some tapes are made in a series to be played together, some are single compositions to pull seconds out of, and some tapes are field-recorded live in moments of inspired attention. Each group of tapes has an intended order that can be confounded or remixed. Any confounding of the score is a physical choice: I have to grab a tape from a box of tapes, or I’ve spilled the tapes out on the floor and have to look for it while keeping time. If I can’t get to a tape in time, then I have to grab another and submit to that decision. The samples are themselves objects. To manipulate them in time, I have to regard their object-ness. To keep them together in a particular order, I must physically organize them and maintain that order. To play them in time, as music, I have to dance a bit. While the tapes need not contain ‘music’ per se; they can be sketches or fragments or jokes or experiments; the playing of the tapes, the collage, is inevitably a musical structure akin to their physical organization.
By adding random tapes into the intended score before a performance composition, the resulting piece can take on a less intentional shape. This can be done on the fly, based on the memory of what sounds they contain, in order to avoid stagnation. The result is an oscillation between performing the intended sample relationships, and the stimulation and extension of happy accidents. My intention is to create a structured musical dialogue between myself in the past and myself in the present.
This system creates collage music, but I must maintain my spirit and personality throughout: to “mix with integrity”, to have purposeful relationships with not just the arrangement, but also with each building block of tape. My collection technique has consisted of slowly amassing years of samples on cassette of myself—memories, and personal moments—and then to make live compositions that draw from this data set. Each tape is a fragment of both sound and memory; part of a sound diary that is in service to the music that I will eventually and perpetually create. Because of this archive of the self, whichever samples I choose in the moment will not threaten to overtake me with “otherness”, and I will retain my aesthetic identity amidst the chaos of the collage. I will not be brainwashed.
There is a problem with the contemporary approach to electronic media-based music. The electronic tools have become so lush and conceptually driven in their design, so mired in interlocking sonic orthodoxies, that they constantly threaten to usurp the individual spark of an artist. An artist has to climb the whole of a culture that created the tool, infinitely more so than hitting a drum or plucking a string would, rather directly learning/ playing/ becoming the instrument. My remodeled ‘obsolete’ tape equipment attempts to address this. When the media itself is the intended instrument, how does one learn to become it without losing the self?
As a musician, I want to play an instrument, not define a purely conceptual environment out of an interactive computer perpetually trying to sell me something. I want to physically exemplify the learning of a performance technique. There are historical antecedents to this mindset, such as the DJ: a physical mastery of the performed playing of prerecorded sounds as music. I attempt this by using the technology to mine my own past, my own life and times, and mix that with the media of my present, while escaping the constant normalizing reminders of what I should be doing with these tools.
I MIX TAPES ("I compose sound collage art by manipulating sound on the common cassette tape")
My work concerns the modern anxiety environment, technological development, physicality/liveness, and our inner-world. By situating sound samples on the common and obsolete cassette tape I can physically manipulate my everyday sonic environment. The cassette tape provides a physical body for each sample, a body whose mailability is based on physical manipulation rather than the infinite choice of the digital realm. The collage that can be worked up from such a sample source is intimately tied to my physical state (manipulation at the moment of mixing), and my course through time (my choice of samples are drawn from my route through life, the shifting sonic environments i am exposed to). The simple sound technology of a "Looper" allows for a moment to be caught, broken, refracted, and repeated; a rhythm of repeated moments. A moment made of a richness of moments. This I believe aesthetically replicates (or pays homage to) the pulse of the inner world where our unknowable secret dimensions shift and realign, and what the new world awash in constant juxtaposing layers of rich information sounds like from moment to moment.
modern life is a heavily mediated reality.
Dealing with the human races rapid technological development is the
social currency of our time. Its a measure of "how we are doing".
The feeling of wether or not one is "up to date with the world" is
a real new anxiety. Never before has the world required this of us on
a daily basis. The global consciousness of the technologically connected
world requires new ways of thinking and social behavior at the level
of the individual. This creates anxiety and stress.
like running up a greasy incline, pausing for a second will cause you to slide downward. "you'll never catch me twittering" "i think the Wii is stupid"
this complexity and the ways it succeeds and fails is
the beauty of the modern world. The Bounty of the modern
condition. Our brains were designed in prehistory to help us survive
the savage earth and now we regularly use it to process information that
can be nothing but noise: News from around the world, blasts of machine
noise, constant hum of computers, spam disguised as friendly email, lush
high definition video reproductions, advertisements covering every surface,
My work is concerned with an aesthetic reaction to the
modern world, choked with information and technology, and a personal
attempt to find the sublime in the haze of modern life without rejecting
the bounty of human progress. The world asks us to look upon ourselves
in the full glory of interconnected global consciousness and go mad,
and I want to accept the new world and maintain the poetry and primordial
truths of the ancient human while developing along with the planet, the
new organism that it is.
My work is concerned with the overwhelming sonic character of the modern
world. In our information choked times the intersections of sounds that
were created for a specific purpose are experienced as a din, fog of
I want my ego to relinquish its supposed control over the world of the moment, and i want my work to be evident in the bare fact of the moments passing physically through me. Like a prism breaking the light.