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Artists Utilizing Cassettes As Performance Instruments

In a piece written by Steph Colbourn, a writer and sound artist living in Montreal and published on Soundfly's Flypaper, the "ubiquitously popular CDs introduced around the 90s," have not out-done "cassettes raw, gritty sound....that have become a tool for making music.." Steph Colbourn described how three of her favorite artistes, "Relying on their sonic qualities and the chunky, distinctive players that can truly access the most crystalline nostalgic moments.." used cassettes to create their music. Below is an extract of the article she wrote. 

While many music consumers may feel that the day of the cassette has come and gone, three different artists are cashing in on this antiquated audio format's nostalgic clout and using tapes in their performances......

1. Aki Onda 

Aki Onda through his essential work in a trio with Michael Snow a CAT synthesizer and piano player and Alan Licht a guitar player, stands behind a table playing a series of Walkmans whose recordings move through tube guitar and bass amplifiers...

Onda's most notable work, Cassette Memories is self-described as a "ritualistic diary....." - taking two decades of atmospheres, conversations, and music from his personal daily life and transforming them into site-specific performance.  The locations are both surprising and perfect - from an abandoned factory to in front of louvre. His memories move through these spaces and audiences, as they collide into each other like waves, and reflect the way our own memories are collected, assembled, and remembered.

2. Lucas Crane - Nonhorse
Lucas Crane, aka Nonhorse, transcend any understanding of a cassette tape you may have come in with. It shows in his every movement - hammering his fingers into tapes, mixing them, reversing them, and completely losing track of time. The sounds sprawl and overload your senses and yet his movement, through the thick ambiance, is tangible and translate sound into touch.

As he performs, he becomes lost in each deep rumble and pulsating tone, and the audience falls into extremely physical and distressed orchestra of tape decks, loopers, and a classic DJ crossfader mixer.

Nonhorses's most recent release, Troll Zaibatzu! is some of his most accessible work to date. His music demonstrates the strange beauty of chaos.

Liz Harris - Grouper
GrouperLiz Harris, aka Grouper dark and soothing music embellishes the sonic frontiers of tape hiss. The tape itself becomes the heavy centerpiece in Grouper's often vast and encompassing tracks.  Those sonic qualities that make the cassette tape so distinct - the constant hiss and static, tiny clicks and whirring - are all layered on top of each other. "Vanishing Point," off of Grouper's 2013 album The Man Who died in His Boat is composed entirely from metallic pings echoing over the intricately layered pools of tape hisses and static.

Violet Replacement, Grouper's 2008 album, places her haunting vocals around forests of tape-loops and field recordings....Her performances are always an incredible reinterpretation of space - using the natural architecture and acoustics of the buildings in which she performs. Harris splices and processes in front of you, using dictaphones, Walkmans and tape players to mix tape, field recording, and vocals. She'll leave you with the static of nothingness.

Written By Steph Colbourn
Source: Read full article Soundfly's Flypaper