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Shenzhen Tape Archive

A live performance by mafmadmaf

This live performance by the China-based musician who goes by mafmadmaf was taped last August in Shenzhen. Over the course of 45 minutes, mafmadmaf mixes bits of sound from a small collection of cassette tapes. As is evident from the footage, each cassette isn’t a full 30 minutes or 60 minutes, but instead contains a brief loop in its clear plastic shell. The loops hold what mafmadmaf refers to as “my motivations, fragments, and field recordings.” They’re select memories extracted from a personal sonic archive. In the live setting, these fragments are set into conversation with each other. Says mafmadmaf, “I mixed them live with massive delay feedbacks, distortions, and subtle EQ rendering, to make continuous sound walls that embrace and crash on us.” The result is an abstract narrative of space music (at times literally, as space-age footage appears throughout), of noises adrift, most in repose, but others in a state of portentous unease.

The recording is also available as a digital release at mafmadmaf.bandcamp.com. Video originally posted at YouTube. More from mafmadmaf at mafmadmaf.com. There’s a new mafmadmaf track, mixing beats and field recordings, as part of the Stomach Dance Vol. 1 various artists collection on the Guangzhou-based Jyugam record label: jyugam.bandcamp.com. The label is run by mafmadmaf and Liu YuXuan (aka ninelo909). Due later this year is a mafmadmaf release titled Ambient Friday.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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