TTW#30 - Francisco López & Zan Hoffman - Concert for 300 Magnetic Tapes
Cassette only - limited edition of 300 copies
Buy in the TouchShop
A: Concert for 300 Magnetic Tapes
B-Side left intentionally blank.
After years of exchanging self-released music on cassette and collaborating via post, Francisco López and Zan Hoffman embarked in 1994 on a somehow surreal small tour of live performances in Spain (Madrid, Alcalá de Henares and Gijón). By mixing own sonic materials and recorded stuff on cassette received directly from hundreds of underground artists worldwide, they carried out live recombination shows with eight cassette decks and a shared mixing board. A synthetic/distilled edit of the most interesting moments arising from those live composition sessions is now released on this cassette release by The Tapeworm.
Aquarius Records (US):
Yet another chunk of awesome audio weirdness from UK cassette label The Tapeworm (along with three other releases reviewed elsewhere on this week's list). They had us with the title, Concert For 300 Magnetic Tapes. We were maybe envisioning something more like Reynols' Blank Tapes, a composition of the hiss and noise from playing back unrecorded audio tapes, this is Francisco Lopez after all, whose compositions offer border on the absolutely inaudible. But instead, Lopez and Zan Hoffmann solicited tapes from various musicians and artists in the international home recording 4 track cassette tape underground, and embarked on a tour, during which the two would add some of their own sounds, to a glorious cacophonous collage of the various contributions. In this wall of taped sound, impossible to tell what is pre-recorded, or what is being performed live (this recording was culled from various performances in 1994), but a hazy, washed out, softly noisy swirl of voices, and sonic snippets, truncated melodies, lots of grinding and buzzing and hissing, everything layered and tangles, often a confusional mess, but just as often coalescing into something strangely composed sounding, tinkling melodies over a heaving wall of crumbling distortion, or some distant lilting dreaminess, underpinned by jagged shards of chaotic crunch, fuzzy radio broadcast like voices swathed in gritty swirls of static, bits of guitar twang surface occasionally, before slipping back into the grey wash of constantly shifting sound. Really cool. And maybe one of the coolest compositions/performances we've heard from Lopez!
Concert for 300 Magnetic Tapes by Francisco López and Zan Hoffman is a surprisingly disappointing affair (especially considering Hoffman is known as a fanatic for tape). As the name suggests, this is an archive recording of a live performance from 1994 where López and Hoffman used audio cassettes from hundreds of sound artists to create a dense fog of sound. The different layers merge together into one gray lump and it is hard to get excited about a gray lump. It is a worthwhile release to some extent as an early example of López's work and a rare release of Hoffman's but it pales in comparison to the company it keeps on The Tapeworm label.
Perfect release for The Tapeworm - an edited performance of Francisco López and Zan Hoffman playing and mixing 300 tapes solicited from 200 members of the international cassette network in 1994. The recordings were made on a small Spanish tour between Madrid, Alcalá de Henares and Vigo and later remixed, reconstituted and re-mastered by López at Mobile Messor in Paraguay, 2010. The result is a 30 minute blur of chromatic acousmatics, oscillating from billowing clouds of dissolute textures to more tangible fragments of audio fug where snatches of almost discernable voices or whole melodies come into focus before being lost again to an etheric swirl of drizzly distortion. The width of the recording is just vast, creating a constantly shifting, borderless parameter with the illusion of simultaneously being in a majestic municipal space, and at once a dense jungle of phosphorescing static or a busy underwater highway. This cumulation of multiple psychoacoustic spheres is vividly unreal but beautifully mixed and balanced by their steady hands for an utterly immersive and rewarding experience.