San Francisco Tape Music Festival 2016

America’s only festival devoted to the performance of audio works projected in three-dimensional space, The San Francisco Tape Music Festival features four distinct concerts of classic audio art and new fixed media compositions by 32 local and international composers. Hear members of the SF Tape Music Collective, along with guest composers, shape the sound live over a pristine surround system (24 high-end loudspeakers) with the audience seated in complete darkness. It’s a unique opportunity to experience music forming – literally – around you.

What is Tape Music??

It is a bit paradoxical to use the word traditionally with a practice of the avant garde — but, traditionally the words tape music have referred to the target media of a new kind of music. This new kind of music is not composed for arbitration by a pianist and the piano, so it must not be piano music. . . not for the string quartet, not for the orchestra, not even for the rock ‘n roll band.

Music Composed for Tape.

The idea of a music composed for a fixed medium, while perhaps starting down a path, does not really lead us to a fundamentally new art. If the only criteria for differentiating tape music from all other musics is the fixed delivery medium — magnetic tape, vinyl, CD, miniDisc — then our thought has just led us to all industrialized forms of music, so called “popular” and “classical”. When this is our only standard, we discover tape music is actually the foremost music of our time. The kids love it, the moms subdue their road-rage with it, the dads sing tunelessly with it, and so on.

But This Music May Not be Music.

The pieces we present transcend simplistic notions of music and its materials and its “instruments.” The recording/playback media itself is treated not as a stand-in for an absent performer, a poor man’s orchestra, but as a vital and unique territory for exploration/exploitation. They coexist in many worlds, blurring the line between composition, field recordings, sound design, “cinema for the ear,” virtual (audio) reality, “radio” drama, and sound synthesis. This art form does not depend upon the posturing of performers. It does not worship the technology with which it was produced, nor does it fetishize the physical medium in which it is contained. There is nothing to see here! In the same way cinema is NOT theatre, tape music is NOT music.



01/08/16 FRIDAY Doors 7pm, Show 8pm

A Selection of Wax Cylinder Recordings (1887–1894)

Tod Dockstader (1932 – 2015) – Selected Works

John Chowning – Tureneas (1972)

Joseph Anderson – mpingo (2003)

Maggi Payne – Black Ice (2014)

Matt Ingalls – Collage 3 (2016)

Adam Hirsch – ellipses (2015)

Sam Salem – Himlen Var (2015)

Timothy Cooper – Soundlines: After Infold (2015)

01/09/16 SATURDAY Doors 7pm, Show 8pm 

A Selection of Wax Cylinder Recordings (1887–1894)

Bebe and Louis Barron – excerpts from Forbidden Planet Soundtrack (1956)

Paul Lansky/Brad Garton/Andre Milburn – Wasting (1986)

Javier Alvarez – Mambo a la braque (1990)

Tetsu Inoue and Carl Stone – @.fine (2001)

Thom Blum – Spanish Panoramas (2015)

Cliff Caruthers – New Work (2016)

L.J. Altvater – Urban Paradise (excerpt) (2015)

Leah Reid – Ring, Resonate, Resound (2015)

Tom Bickley – Middle Armand Bayou (2015)

Mirtru Escalona-Mijares – L’ermitage au toit de chaume (2014-2015)

Rodney Waschka II – Mayday: Requiem for Those Lost at Sea (2015)

01/09/16 SATURDAY Doors 10pm, Show 11pm

Morton Feldman – Intersection (1953)

Iannis Xenakis – Hibiki Hana Ma (1969-70)

Voicehandler (Jacob Felix Heule & Danishta Rivero) – I am a recording instrument (2016)

Elizabeth Anderson – Solar Winds..and Beyond (2012-2014)

Bjarni Gunnarsson – Ubieties (2015)

01/10/16 SUNDAY Doors 7pm, Show 8pm 

large scale works by 


François Bayle – Tremblement De Terre Très Deux (1978)

François Bayle – L’Expérience Acoustique (1969-1972)

1. L’écriture acoustique

2. L’Energie libre, énergie liée

Francis Dhomont – Cycle du Son

Objets retrouvés (1996)

AvatArsSon (1998)

Novars (1989)

Phonurgie (1998)

The 2016 Festival begins by showcasing the entire range of the “fixed media” art form. Both Friday and Saturday 8pm concerts include a diverse range of music: from cinematic “radio plays” to abstract acousmatica – from sound-design works to full-spectrum drones. Iconic works by BEBE + LOUIS BARRON, JOHN CHOWNING, TOD DOCKSTADER, PAUL LANSKY + BRAD GARTON + ANDRE MILBURN, and TETSU INOUE + CARL STONE will be presented. Featured Bay Area composers include LEAH REID, MAGGI PAYNE, MATT INGALLS, ADAM HIRSCH, CLIFF CARUTHERS, THOM BLUM, TOM BICKLEY, L.J. ALTVATER, and JOSEPH ANDERSON.

The Saturday 11pm show is a special concert surveying a history of works originally intended to be performed over a multichannel surround sound system. Classic compositions by IANNIS XENAKIS and MORTON FELDMAN will be performed alongside recent works by ELIZABETH ANDERSON, BJARNI GUNNARSSON, and the Bay Area duo, VOICEHANDLER (JACOB FELIX HEULE and DANISH RIVERO).

Sunday’s concert features large scale works by FRANÇOIS BAYLE and FRANCIS DHOMONT. Both composers — now in their 80’s — are considered to be two of the most prominent and prolific stalwarts of acousmatic music, having been involved in the field from its beginnings.

In addition, a selection of cylinder recordings from the nascent days of recorded sound will be performed throughout the festival.

Equipment kindly provided by The Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) at Stanford University and Recombinant Media Labs.

Read a review of the 2015 festival by Sam Lefebvre in the East Bay Express.

See the full program details here.


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