‘That Beautiful Darkness’

Cassette Collage 1

For about a week or so at the end of September and into the first week of October we experienced quite a heat spell here in San Francisco. This is the time of year when our ‘Indian Summer’ generally kicks in, so this is no surprise.

Having grown up in Buffalo where the seasons were clearly defined and came and went with a fairly consistent regularity: vibrant wettish Spring with the slush from the Winter season still lingering and mud colored–>warm and sunny Summer, that despite the stigma of Buffalo being a ‘cold place’ could really get up there in both temperature and humidity–> Fall with it’s lovely array of reds and oranges and yellows of the turning leaves, the refreshing cool temperatures giving relief from the Summer swelter, chestnuts and acorns and pine cones everywhere–> the notorious Winters that we’re known for, with blizzards, sub- freezing temperatures and mountains of snow driven into 8′-10′ foot tall drifts that have been known to bury cars and houses alike.

With that being the cycle for my first 20 years or so, I got used to going with that natural flow of things, Spring and Summer were spent outdoors skateboarding and hanging out etc. Fall and Winter were times spent mostly indoors trying to come up with things to do to entertain ourselves and kill time until we could go back outside. We mostly sat around and listened to music. Eventually I got into making music and one of my favorite things was recording oddball stuff onto tapes. Most portable stereo cassette players back then had built in microphones that you could use to record anything onto a blank cassette tape.Eventually I got a 4 track recorder which allows you to layer and mix things together (up to 4 separate tracks) and that has been, to this day, one of the things I like to do most on dark and gloomy days.

So when our ‘Indian Summer’ broke this year just a few days ago, I had that feeling of the seasons changing and the urge to work out a piece on tape kicked in. Here is the result:

Cassette Collage 1

Here I have layered a bunch of field recordings ,various synth sounds,loops and a bit of audio from a video of Angelo Badalamenti talking about the creation of the Twin Peaks theme music which I then loop and manipulate via Moogerfooger. Angelo talking about how David guided him into ‘That beautiful darkness’ really resonated with me on that particularly gloomy day here in SF. This is a 28 minute mix as you can only record on one side of a cassette using a 4 track recorder, there is no ‘side 2’.

I plan to keep making these as I go. Some of these recorded bits are from other works. I like the sound that tapes give with that analog warmth and bit of hiss that I miss from squeeky clean digital. Since the tracks are all recorded with other pieces in mind, they are all randomly layered and create their own piece when played together. A random experiment every one.


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