Jasper Schutz & David Scheidler, Tapeloop machines, audiovisual installation, produced by Sickhouse LAB

Especially for the immortality edition of the festival, Jasper Schutz and David Scheidler created an audiovisual installation reflecting on digital enhancement, infinite loop, system of memory/recording… This installation is presented as part of Sickhouse Lab, our new interdisciplinary research platform for professionals. The Lab consist on presentation and working sessions with specialists of different disciplines coming together to combine their skills and reflect on the festival theme through the year.

Tapeloop machines is the result of a collaboration between Jasper Schutz (musician and sound artist) and David Scheidler (mixed media artists). The installation consists of 3 interactive pieces: two monoliths of retro-futurism (Jonathan and Andrew) and one Frankenstein-machine (Esther). Each of the pieces uses reel-to-reel recorders in an unconventional way to create intriguing soundscapes. The three pieces share a retro esthetic with futuristic digital enhancements. Woodgrain electronics are combined with LED plexiglass extensions.

 

Machine 1: Jonathan

Jonathan allows you to overdub and erase on a long tape loop. The long tape loop provides a writable medium that loops endlessly. The base reel-to-reel recorder is mounted below a LED enhanced plexiglass plain with many extra rollers, which provides a much longer route for the tapeloop to follow. The reel-to-reel player has an announcement microphone to enable new content to be added to the continuous tapeloop. The microphone is also augmented with a controllable eraser head to erase the content at will. The combination creates dark dystopian soundscapes with eerie recognisable vocal patterns and sound bits.

 

Machine 2: Andrew

Andrew brings a message of digitally enhanced life.  Andrew starts out with a long tape loop running through many extra rollers on a LED enhanced plexiglass plain. The tapeloop contains a message of life, which can be digitally enhanced through controllable audio effects. The controller for the digital audio effects is a repurposed wood grain equalizer with 10 faders. The faders are connected to an Arduino which translates the fader movements to MIDI messages. These MIDI messages control digital audio effects in a computer, which processes the sound of the tape loop. The processed sound is not written to tape, so the tape loop can always be heard in its original form and the effects processing can be added at will.

 

Machine 3: Esther

Esther brings noise from controllable feedback loops. Esther looks like a mechanical mess with rollers, read- and write heads, connectors and lots of bare electrical parts from many different reel-to-reel players. A tape loop runs from machine to machine and provide a continuous recording medium for the internally created feedback noise.

The internal feedback from the machines is controllable by unmarked knobs for the tone, gain, panning and speed controls. These controls have been externalised and made accessible for tweaking. Since the feedback control is very unpredictable, Esther really is a noisy machine.  And by using the original parts of the reel-to-reel players, the noise that is created is unmistakably analog, as old transistors, tube valves, tape and crackling knobs all add to sound.

Posted in Art