Tape Delay in Progress

An experiment by Dance Robot Dance

Often as not, some of the best listening on SoundCloud is simply of people trying their hand at new tools. One person’s test run of a fresh plug-in is someone else’s arm-chair, near-first-hand peek at the creative process. Take Brian Biggs, aka Dance Robot Dance, who is documenting his efforts at old-school tape delay. The details, as he describes in this sample post, are fairly technical —

Figured out how to run my signal through Ableton to my Tascam reel-to-reel deck and create a real tape delay with controllable feedback. “tape delay” is edited down from the hour or so that I recorded. You can hear both guitars as well as an electric piano that is the “Electric” synth in Ableton, routed to the tape deck via send/return and back again to an Ableton Live where the send of its return channel is then fed back to the tape deck again. “oustide over there” is made up of pieces of “tape delay,” where these parts were slowed down and reversed with an recording from my back yard and soaking of Eos reverb. All the delays you hear on these tracks are from the Tascam 34 deck.

— yet the resulting music is anything but, layers of melting guitar forming slow motion clouds of melodic gestures and fledgling drones on pause, throughout which are the gentle, centering chirps of neighboring birds. The track heard here is “Outside Over There.” The other piece mentioned is also on SoundCloud.

Track originally posted for free download at soundcloud.com/dance-robot-dance. More from Biggs, who is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at dancerobotdance.com, where he will almost certainly soon be posing a more detailed document of his progress.

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