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Signifying Something is an interview and new music program hosted by Steve Flato. Its aim is to explore sounds that surprise us, challenge expectations, and lead us to question the definition of music itself. Each episode, a featured artist will present a unique piece of their work as the center of a conversation that touches on the piece's context, the creative process, and the artist’s goals and intentions.

Mar 15, 2017

David Kirby is a software programmer by trade and a musician primarily working in the medium of cassette tapes, making rhythmic tape collages that surprise and confuse. He describes his work as “an open air experiment exploring psychophysical defecation in virtual spaces.” Using handheld recorders, he manipulates and molds his sounds by physically interacting with the cassette players by varying the pressure on the buttons as well as other mysterious techniques. He does not employ effects but rather lets the tapes and his interaction with them speak for itself. His cassettes come from wherever he can find them, and no sound is out of the question. Often unexpected, incredibly rhythmic and playful, and sometimes completely confounding, David’s tape works are represented by the piece showcased today, “Mixdown".

 

He and Steve Flato have known each other for quite some time, crossing paths via various internet platforms like Soulseek and web forums over ten years ago. Their conversation is as playful and unexpected as David’s music, covering a wide range of topics such as David’s experience living with a medicine woman in the mountains of South Carolina; his net label Homophoni; psychedelic drugs and experimental music; dimensional listening; the connection between improvised music and failure; his current avoidance of four-track tape machines and preference for simple handheld recorders; the falling availability and rising cost of cassettes; what the format of cassette tapes offer as a unique experience separate from vinyl or digital; the distinction between using tapes as instruments vs. as an end-product for the listener; David’s thoughts on recordings of improvised music and the loss of data involved; the loss of physical media as digital distribution becomes more widely adopted; the connection between electroacoustic improvisation and jazz; and booty shorts.

 

Links:

 

Erstwhile Records

David Kirby & Bradley Bailey: Astral Waltzes

Synchronator

Francisco Lopez

Taku Unami

Electro-acoustic music

Cosmos - Tears

Homophoni

T.J. Borden & Steve Flato - In The Garden of Eating - 

SlowSD

Microtonal

Just Intonation