Tuesday, November 03, 2009

landing dust

landing dust The year was 1982.  I was a student at UW-Madison and very much into ambient music.  Eno had released the 4 ambient albums along with others like Music for Films, Discreet Music, Evening Star, No Pussyfooting and I had them all.

I don’t play any instruments but I enjoy playing with anything musical.  My roommate had a Teac reel-to-reel tape machine that I loved to play with.  Through Fripp & Eno I had learned to feed the output of the play head back though to the rec input to create a nice loop/echo effect.  I’d sit & play with it for hours.  I made recordings as I strung rubber bands on the legs of the coffee table, poured water into metal bowls, beat coffee cans with pencils, created feedback by dropping the mic into various containers and so on.

One of my favorite things to record was my cheap little Casio keyboard, the kind with only four voices…piano, flute, violin and organ.  Eventually I figured out how to get the system to create nice drones & feedback loops.  This track is the result of that experimentation.  There is little or no musicianship involved.  It was improvised live to tape using the Casio keyboard & the Teac reel-to-reel.

At least I think it was live, there might have been some drone recorded in the first pass then played back on some crappy cassette deck while more loopy feedback was played along with it.  Either way, I was just making it up & twiddling knobs as I went along.

It brings back a lot of memories of messing around with any sort of audio gear I could get my hands on as I was growing up.  Walking through the neighborhood with a recorder & headphones on, sitting in my parents basement til 2am trying to get some Jean Michel Jarre sounds out of an old synth, laying in bed at night trying to tune in a barely-working shortwave radio, wiring old car speakers to the furniture in my bedroom when I was 14.

I actually like this track, “Landing Dust”, that came from that reel-to-reel experimentation.  It’s definitely the only thing close to musical or ambient I’ve ever recorded.  I have no idea if anyone else will find this listenable.  But I wanted to throw it out there anyway.

Download :   49mb,   20:26

Landing Dust