Tape cassette tapes play an outsize role in contemporary electronic music. They’re an affordable means of distribution in the age of streaming, and they’re a means of production as well. Tape loops provide both an inexpensive, hand-made, old-school approach to what is as easy as a click of a button in modern software, and a textural quality (or lack of quality, in the audiophile sense) as well. In this short video by Nom Nom Chomsky (aka Martin Yam Møller, who is based in Copenhagen, Denmark), a short story told in disparate single words flashed on the screen is accompanied by an improvised ambient score. Chomsky swaps tapes as the piece proceeds, using various effects pedals to distort, expand, and layer the original audio. The familiar warping sound of half-mangled tape is exaggerated as Chomsky takes a finger to one of the spindles, affecting the slack of the tape, and the timbre of the audio. It’s a masterful little performance for a desktop arrangement of tools put to use in ways that were not intended by the makers of those tools.
This is the latest video I’ve added to my YouTube playlist of recommended live performances of ambient music. Video originally published to the YouTube channel of Nom Nom Chomsky. More from Møller/Chomsky at twitter.com/NomNomChomsky.