Tape loop


Tape Echo on 2 Machines, from: David Keane: Tape Music Composition

“In music, tape loops are loops of magnetic tape used to create repetitive, rhythmic musical patterns or dense layers of sound when played on a tape recorder. Originating in the 1940s with the work of Pierre Schaeffer, they were used among contemporary composers of 1950s and 1960s, such as Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and Karlheinz Stockhausen, who used them to create phase patterns, rhythms, textures, and timbres. Popular music authors of 1960s and 1970s, particularly in psychedelic, progressive and ambient genres, used tape loops to accompany their music with innovative sound effects. …  Simultaneous playing of tape loops to create phrase patterns and rhythms was developed and initially used by musique concrète and tape music composers, and was most extensively utilized by Steve Reich for his ‘phasing‘ pieces such as ‘Come Out‘ (1966) and ‘It’s Gonna Rain‘ (1965), and by Karlheinz Stockhausen in Gesang der Jünglinge (1955–56) and Kontakte (1958–60). Stockhausen also used the technique for live performance in Solo (1965–66). … Pioneer of minimalism Terry Riley began employing tape loops at the end of the 1950s. Using simple Wollensak tape recorders, he recorded piano music, speech and other sound samples, which he would reproduce on speakers surrounding the audience along with live performance, creating ‘orchestral textures’, as Edward Strickland puts it. With assistance of Richard Maxfield and Ramon Sender, Riley combined tape loops with echoplex devices, producing an ‘acid trip’ piece Mescalin Mix (1961), made from sound samples from his earlier works. Later, he experimented with combining different tapes together, producing pieces such as Music for the Gift (1963) and culminating in his use of a tape delay/feedback system employing two tape recorders (collectively described by Riley as the ‘time lag accumulator’) in live solo performances. The use of tape loops in popular music dates back to Jamaican dub music in the 1960s. Dub producer King Tubby used tape loops in his productions, while improvising with homemade delay units. Another dub producer, Sylvan Morris, developed a slapback echo effect by using both mechanical and handmade tape loops. … As they progressed towards their ‘psychedelic’ phase, the Beatles increasingly experimented with new technologies and magnetic tape recorders, a process which culminated with Revolver (1966) and its last track ‘Tomorrow Never Knows‘, based on five tape loops running simultaneously. …”
Wikipedia, W – Loop (music)
The Birth of Loop by Michael Peters (Video)
The story of early tape music, microsound, and a Eurorack resurrection (Video)
UbuWeb – CUT AND PASTE: COLLAGE AND THE ART OF SOUND, Kevin Concannon


Terry Riley

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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