Recently I've been experimenting/tinkering with various tape loops and have documented two of my personal favourites for your listening pleasure:
I am Sitting in a Room (30 Second Tape Loop Version):
I was inspired to create my own shortened version of Alvin Lucier's classic 'I am Sitting in a Room' (a personal favourite of mine!) with two Sony TCM-939 Cassette Recorders and two 30 second tape loops. What surprised me is how quickly my words become unintelligible, with the tones/resonant harmonies of the room taking over.
Tree Branch Lo-fi Noise Tape Loop:
I used a contact microphone hooked up to a cassette recorder to document the creaks, groans and bustle of leaves as a tree swayed in the wind near our house. Fragments of the raw recording were looped with a small branch/twigs becoming a handy capstan for the magnetic tape. Experimentation with a Boss DD-3 thrown in for added fun! These extended tape loop pieces are great fun to create, especially finding unusual objects for the tape to loop around.
I'm very excited to announce the release of 'Microcassette From A Greek Answering Machine' 3″CDr compilation on Quagga Curious Sounds, this is the result of a call-out I put out on EC in November 2018. Blow you can listen to streaming audio 320 kbps mp3 and download the six tracks in WAV file format!
Just to recap: the idea behind this compilation came about when Manolis Pappas (Coherent States) found a damaged microcassette whilst out walking in the suburbs of Agia Paraskevi (Greece). He very kindly sent me the microcassette and upon receiving it just over three minutes of lo-fi audio was discovered: frenzied messages, background music/noise and your typical beeps and chatter from the answering machine itself!
I invited EC members to download the found audio and rework it anyway they liked. Six artists responded: Frank Audiffret, Mike Nobody, Rinus Van Alebeek, Rafael González, Dylan Houser and myself, the result is an eclectic and amazing mix of experimental audio art! A massive thank you goes out to the contributing artists!
One aspect of running a DIY label I enjoy is working on the packaging and art, this project was no exception. The cover and one of the inserts are derived from collages created from fragments of degraded posters and leaflets I found on the street, inspired by how the microcassette was found. The CDr itself is embellished with a rubber-stamped microcassette inspired design.
If you wish to purchase the 3"CDr, prices in GBP (including shipping) are: £4.00 (UK) £6.25 (Europe) £7.00 (rest of the World).
Please contact: mike-ridge[AT]hotmail.co.uk
1. Frank Audiffret — Gambatam
2. Mike Nobody — Ken's Airplane Fridge Vacation
3. Rinus Van Alebeek — Watch Your Nose
4. Rafael González — Untitled 12-08-2018
5. Dylan Houser — Fresh Carbonation
6. Michael Ridge — Message From The Background Noise
I’ve had hours of fun experimenting with this simple Tape Loop Delay and Contact Microphone combination. How this works: the play head was carefully removed and extended from the player to the left (Sony TCM-3) and mounted inside a modified tape loop inserted inside the player (Sony TCM-939) to the right.
A contact microphone is hooked up to the TCM-939, in this video I experiment with a wind up music toy and plastic comb!
Background: a friend very kindly sent me a damaged microcassette he found by the roadside in the suburbs of Agia Paraskevi (Greece). Just over three minutes of audio was discovered: beeps from an answering machine, messages, plenty of background noise and snippets of background music. Lots of great raw audio to work with!
For this call out I invite you to use the found audio from the microcassette and do anything you like to it! The more experimental and creative the better!!
If I receive enough submissions the plan is to release it on my label Quagga Curious Sounds, either as a CDr or audio cassette. All contributors would receive a complimentary copy or two if this happens.
If you have a SoundCloud account you can download it:
Or request it via email: mike-ridge[AT]hotmail.co.uk with the subject line MCASS CALL OUT, I’ll send it to you via WeTransfer.
Maximum track duration per contributor: 5 minutes please!
Deadline: 31 January 2019 (this can be extended if need be)
Track Format: WAV
Any questions etc. do ask on here or send an email.
Firstly, a HUGE thanks for those that participated in the EC Mail Art Exchange project, I thoroughly enjoyed receiving such wonderful and inspiring pieces (visually and sonically!).
I’ve dabbled in Mail Art on and off for a few years now, the act of physically making, writing and dispatching a postcard/letter/object to a friend or fellow artist on the other side of the world is always a rewarding experience. Not forgetting, the delight of arriving back home and discovering mail art goodies stuffed in your letterbox!
Over the last few years I’ve been tinkering on and off with tape loops, more recently in the microcassette format. Standard compact cassette loops are definitely in vogue at the moment, with many great artists fabricating their own unique loops (Amulets always springs to mind). Making a workable microcassette loop is somewhat trickier to fashion but rewarding when a playable loop is made! Once the shell is (very) carefully prised open a myriad of challenges await, the most obvious being the tiny size you have to work within. The lighter and thinner magnetic tape is very fiddly and easy to damage. Installing the loop correctly inside the shell is a matter of patience, and a great deal of trial and error.
Two microcassette loops were fabricated which I’ve discovered to be a very accessible way to experiment with recorded sound. The hyper compressed sound quality of the format is one I’ve always enjoyed working with, switching between either 2.4 cm/s or 1.2 cm/s playing speeds on both units produces very satisfying results. My initial experiments eventually resulted in a brief demo video, the sound source being a simple metal singing bowl. A basic delay pedal is also included which goes great with this simple set-up. Do let me know your thoughts!
As an artist I create works in various formats, but most often it involves sound and found objects.