By counts of duration and gravity, tape has been the most important instrument in electronic music. It was literally the first technology that was used to make a electronic music, and its experimental potential explored in the early musique concrète and BBC Radiophonic Workshop compositions has helped it sustain as an actively used medium into the 21st century.
Surely as the number of methods of creating electronic music has multiplied, especially in this millenium as the computer has supplanted the main use of tape a recording apparatus, tape appears less and less.
But there are still artists doing inspiring and innovative work with tape, and this post focuses on a few that show new possibilities yet with the oldest electronic music tool. Last decade’s wave of tape noise is more or less avoided here since a lot of that has been properly lionized.
Groove Cafe has covered Whitney Johnson before and probably will again. In her solo work as Matchess, WJ was using tape as a long time as a method of playing back samples, but recently she’s been employing it for long, overlapping tones in an Eliane Radigue type style:
With Laura Callier in Simulation, WJ would record the first half of their set in real time, and then play it back for the second half of their set, creating, yes you guessed it, a live simulation. Erica Gamble has provided both of these videos.
Today’s Groove du Jour focuses on some really exciting people making what are often dubbed “live visuals.” It’s a funny term (like, sure we call stuff we smell smells but uhh…) and who knows when it even entered the lexicon, since projections during music have been happening since at least the original hippie moment when liquid light shows were very much so a thing.
Anyway, here are some really good video artists jamming around the wider American experimental scene. This post focuses on some of the fresher faces, and is kind of limited to a certain broad genre of music. Would love to get some videos up here of projections from dance parties and raves, so hopefully that’s part 2. Without further ado:
Christine Janokowicz aka armpitrubber
Christine Janokowicz is a video artist based in Chicago and does a pretty amazing job with a cobbled together array of video synths and computer tools. She’s been all over the local scene recently, lending some psychedelic delights to many of the musicians in the Hausu Mountain nexus. Venomenema is her AV project with Max Allison aka Mukqs. First video courtesy of Erica Mei Gamble.
The last video in the previous entry contains contains very similar imagery to that used in videos Angel Marcloid made to play during her Fire-Toolz live sets. While AM doesn’t really make video work for anyone else, it’s very much so worth highlighting the work she makes for herself. You can see a lot of it posted on the Fire-Toolz YouTube channel. Super wild glitched out vaporwave collage vibes there. AM is also based in Chicago.
Savage Weekend what a scene! Ok, this video is older than what we typically post, but Jill Lloyd Flanagan aka Forced Into Femininity suggested checking this one out and it is an absolute must. Viszk works through this physical crescendo, her body slowly revealing itself as possessed. The dirt she flails in really sells this as an affecting, off-putting performance. Also, love those boy band headset mics.
Not a lot of information about Viszk online aside from her first name (Eli) and her location in Chapel Hill, NC where Savage Weekend takes place. There is a Viszk SoundCloud, but it seems to exist wholly to remind that the actual Viszk experience is live.
There was a moment when it seemed like Jill Lloyd Flanagan might never come back to Chicago, just touring for months on end as Forced Into Femininity. Stories got around about JLF’s performance at INC in Miami, and we can now log went outside and climbed on top of a double decker bus in the annals of Forced Into Femininity stage antics including but not limited to: rubbing bugs on people’s faces, shrieking inside of a garbage can, taking cigarettes out of people’s hands and making other people smoke them while giving someone a piggyback ride, spraying hairspray everywhere, animatronic insect.
You may know JLF from Coughs or Gula Gila, or maybe you caught one of the countless Forced Into Femininity performances from that massive tour and had it burned into your brain. Well, hopefully you did, because the Forced Into Femininity project is on a brief hiatus for now. In the mean time, catch up on the recordings from Decoherence and Hausu Mountain, or catch JLF in one of two new bands, CB Radio Gorgeous and Hagspittle.
This video was shot by Andrew Chadwick at Churchill’s during the International Noise Conference, organized by Rat Bastard.