In 1991, I created my first sound art pieces as a series of cassette recordings. At the time, I was studying painting and computer graphics in art school and had been researching electronic music and video art. I was influenced by the writings and work of John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Brian Eno—especially the recordings On Land and Thursday Afternoon, his concepts of ambient music, the recording studio as instrument, and holographic compositions (where any given section is representative of the whole work),
I called these pieces ‘tape collages’, as they were created using a Realistic DJ mixer, three second-hand Sony cassette tape decks and my father’s reel-to-reel tape recorder. I assembled a number of spliced tape loops of different lengths using the reel-to-reel machine, as well as multiple tracks recorded onto cassettes, which were then all mixed together live for a final mix.
Sound sources included appropriated sounds from my record collection; shortwave radio noise, tones and broadcasts; room sounds and outdoor noises; simple FM synth textures; microphone noises; controlled feedback; whistles and noise makers; improvised piano and even my own voice. Eventually, I acquired some semi-pro digital effects, first an Alesis MicroVerb III multi-effects unit with delay and reverb and later a DigiTech RDS-4000 delay with flanger, chorus and delay.
In the interest of sharing and archiving these pieces, I have digitized each one, done some minimal clean-up and uploaded here. Some pieces were recorded in mono. Others were recorded with different material in the Left and Right channels in order to be mixed in the room during playback. Pieces marked ‘REMIX’ had additional delay and reverb effects added at a later date. Pieces marked ‘TRACK’ are individual tracks that were meant to be played together and mixed during playback. Where possible I have noted the dates they were recorded or mixed.
- 1, 1991 (15m23s, 20.1 MB MP3)
- 1 REMIX, 1991-08-15 (16m27s, 39.5 MB MP3)
- 2, 1991 (24m31s, 29.8 MB MP3)
- 2 REMIX, 1991-08-15 (24m32s, 58.9 MB MP3)
- 3, 1991-05-12 (46m58s, 112.8 MB MP3)
- 3 REMIX, 1991 (46m28s, 111.5 MB MP3)
- Atmospherical, 1991 (33m11s, 79.7 MB MP3)
- Darkness TRACK glass, 1991 (45m50s, 110 MB MP3)
- Darkness TRACK voice and piano, 1991 (46m20s, 111.2 MB MP3)
- International, 1991-08-21 (46m39s, 112 MB MP3)
- Intrigue, 1991-08-21 (46m44s, 112.2 MB MP3)
- JFK, 1991 (46m32s, 111.7 MB MP3)
- Looped sounds, 1991 (38m23s, 92.2 MB MP3)
- Mysterium, 1991 (46m44s, 112.2 MB MP3)
- Mysterium TRACK, 1991 (51m21s, 123.3 MB MP3)
- The Weirding Room, 1991 (46m58s, 58 MB MP3)
NOTES: digitized from the original cassette masters at 96,000 Hz sample rate and 24-bit sample depth, using a PreSonus Firebox into Sound Studio 3. Each piece was normalized to -0.3 dB with minimal finishing in iZotope Ozone 4 and encoded to MP3 using iTunes at 320 kBits/sec variable bitrate, high-quality settings.
1991 cassette sound art works by Jeffrey Melton aka nofi are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Based on works at www.nofi.org.