Reading this piece from Language Log brought back memories of my semesters studying/practicing electronic music as an undergraduate. The studio had an ARP 2600, two two-track tape machines, and was coated in a film of splicing tape. That was the assignment I was trying to slide under my professor’s door (late) when the 17 April earthquake hit Maine in 1979.
Those days heightened my fondness for musique concrète, minimalism (I think I annoyed dozens of my friends by playing Music For Eighteen Musicians), doing things myself, and manipulated tape and digital signals — but not in time, or at the right place, or among the right people, for me to make my way into a music scene. By the time I was hanging around with musicians at the photo lab/graphic arts house in Pittsburgh, those aspirations ebbed away.
It was cool, though, when the kids discovered the old cassette tape onto which I had uploaded my compositions, and Si blurted out that I was like Moby, only ten years earlier. It’ll be interesting to see whether that particular archive item survived the radical downsizing of our worldly possessions; if it did, I’ll find a way to digitise some of those clips, and will remember hours in the studio trying to make clean, synchronised edits with a razor blade and splicing tape.

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