Like a Loop Machine

Passerby of Chicago flirts with chaos.

Feedback comes in many forms, but the two essential ones may be (1) that moment when a frisson of time-warping, near-simultaneous-state echoing occurs, and (2) that moment when the noise overwhelms the system, when the sonic equivalent of matter and anti-matter seem to collide, resulting in broad sensory overreach. The track “2013-04-04 tape loop+mixer feedback+doepfer” by Passerby flirts with the second while keeping things in check well enough to largely adhere to the first. Passerby’s system is complex, as laid out in an accompanying liner note:

Two contact microphones attached to a Otari MX-5050 tape machine on the left and right sides. Those signals were fed into a Doepfer modular analog synthesizer, then into the tape loop, then from the tape loop to analog delay and reverb to separate channels in a mixer, which was feeding back both on itself and through the contact microphones.

The result is a constant state of self-adjusting balances, noises edging to the fore, then fading back, eruptions sensed more as premonitions than actual occurrences.

A piece by Valerio Tricoli is credited for inspiration. Track originally posted for free download at Passerby is Nicholas Davis of Chicago, Illinois. More from him at and

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