Digital Tape Manipulation

An exercise in modular synthesis

It’s arguable the extent to which it is necessary, even helpful, to understand how sausage is made in order to actually appreciate sausage. Sausage may be a poor metaphor, in fact, since its production process can be especially icky, as production processes go. Whether or not one listens to film director commentaries or reads interviews with novelists, perhaps the question is less a binary one and more a qualitative one, less a matter of whether or not it’s a good idea, and more a matter of just how that sausage making is presented. A list of ingredients is far different from a recipe that unfolds a dish’s cultural history. In any case, I am by no means a musician, and instead engage with musicians, through interviews and conversations, and through collaborative projects. Among the main reasons I have developed a hands-on interest with modular synthesizers this past year has been to understand better the origins of electronic music, as well as the productions of musicians I admire today. Al Hill, who goes by Sundog70, has posted a short piece on his SoundCloud account called “Phonogenic #1.” It doesn’t hurt to understand that the name comes from Phonogene, as noted in the track’s hashtags, and that Phonogene is a synthesizer module that enables effects along the lines of old-school tape manipulation. The results are often dreamy, backward-masked, and haunting, all of which is certainly in effect here, along with burbling textural elements and gracious moments of high shimmer.

Track originally posted at Sundog70/Hill is based in Brighton, England.

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