magnetic migration

september 06, 2002.

I'm sure you have seen them around in your neighboorhood: clods of cassette tape, all tangled up in one big messy knot, often ripped out and thrown away in anger after having been 'eaten' by a car player or walkman.
Some people just don't have mercy.
Zoë Irvine has.
'Migrating tapes', she calls them.
"Have you noticed that there are fragments of audio tape flapping in the wind?", she asks on the front page of her Magnetic Migration Music site. "Strands can be found all over the world, in gutters, snagged on trees, wherever tape players have ventured it seems they have chewed, snarled and spat too."

migrated clod

Of course it is tempting to think of some of these strands as having travelled a long way and for a long time, blown by the wind from a land far, far away, floating from station to station, only waiting for you to find them.
That's a pretty, pretty thought. Very romantic.
Unfortunately I think that in most cases but a rare few the tape you find was flung out of a car window just at about the spot where you pick it up. Especially when you find them in big city streets.


Zoë collects these bits and pieces of tapes, and makes them 'audible' again, by unwinding the knots, and respooling them. She invites all of us to help her collecting, and participate in the project.

Ever since I first heard about Zoë's project (march of this year, through the Xchange mailinglist) I too have been on the outlook for abandoned lumps of cassette tape.
At first I thought I would end up with a box full in no time.
That turned out not to be the case.
Maybe it is because I never really went out specifically to search for them. It merely was a thought, something in the back of my mind: "pick them up when you see them."
And that's what I did (no guarantee though that I didn't miss some).
Over the past six months I picked up (only) five, while going about doing the things I do, in and around Paris.

another clod

I put each of them in an enveloppe, and wrote the date when and the place where I picked it up on the back.

Then it took me a while to get hold of some splicing tape for cassettes. (This clearly no longer is something people go out and buy. Who still takes the trouble to repair a cassette when it's broken? All those I know that at some time used to play around a lot with cassette loops and stuff switched to digital looping a long time ago. Who's still using cassettes?)

Yesterday afternoon I finally sat down in my studio/office, and patiently started to disentangle my awfully messed up audio treasure.
I then assembled (parts of) the found tapes in an mp3 file. that I have made available in the 'rough cuts' section of my Sound Chronicles web pages (note jan. 2004: this first 'assemblage' is archived here.) My (first) modest contribution to Zoë's project.

The (all music) fragments are in order of date of find.
Have a listen! (Here's the deep link: MagMig092002.mp3 fotex01.mp3)
And help me identify the songs!
The first one should be easy.
The second one is a bit of hip-hop. It might be Dr. Dre, but I'm not sure. But that one should be easy as well.
As to the other three (one sung in, I think, creole, the other two in arabic), I'm at a complete lost ...

[ Next related SB-entry: 2 down, 3 to go ]

tags: magnetic migration music, found tapes

# .7.

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