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 Video originally posted at YouTube. More from mafmadmaf at 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: The label is run by mafmadmaf and Liu YuXuan (aka ninelo909). Due later this year is a mafmadmaf release titled Ambient Friday.

Disquiet Junto Project 0474: Police Action (3/3)

The Assignment: Complete a trio by adding a track to an existing duet by two other musicians.

Special Note: You can contribute more than one track this week. Usually Junto projects have a one-track-per-participant limit. This week you can do a second one. Please see additional details in Step 5 below.

Answer to Frequent Question: You don’t need to have uploaded a solo in last week’s project to participate in this week’s trios project.

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group, a new compositional challenge is set before the group’s members, who then have just over four days to upload a track in response to the assignment. Membership in the Junto is open: just join and participate. (A SoundCloud account is helpful but not required.) There’s no pressure to do every project. It’s weekly so that you know it’s there, every Thursday through Monday, when you have the time.

Deadline: This project’s deadline is the end of the day Monday, February 1, 2021, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, January 28, 2020.

Tracks will be added to the playlist for the duration of the project.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at

Disquiet Junto Project 0474: Police Action (3 of 3)
The Assignment: Complete a trio by adding a track to an existing duet by two other musicians.

Step 1: This week’s Disquiet Junto project is the third in a sequence that encourages and rewards asynchronous collaboration. This week you will be adding music to a pre-existing track, which you will source from the previous week’s Junto project ( Note that you are finishing a trio — you’re creating the third part of what two previous musicians created. Please keep this in mind.

Step 2: The plan is for you to record an original piece of music, on any instrumentation of your choice, as a complement to a pre-existing track. First, however, you must select the piece of music to which you will be adding your own music. There are well over 90 tracks in all to choose from, 87 as part of this playlist:

And these five others. Consider the first to be number 88, and then in sequence to number 92:

To select a track, you can listen through all that (warning: it’s a lot) and choose one, or you can use a random number generator to select a number from 1 to 92, the first 87 being numbered in the above SoundCloud playlist, and the five others numbered as described above. (Note: it’s fine if more than one person uses the same original track as the basis for their piece.)

Step 3: Record a piece of music, roughly the length of the piece of music you selected in Step 2. Your track should complement the piece from Step 2, and it should be placed dead center between the left and right stereo channels. When composing and recording your part, do not alter the original piece of music at all. To be clear: the track you upload won’t be your piece of music alone; it will be a combination of the track from Step 2 and yours.

Step 4: Also be sure, when done, to make the finished track downloadable, because it may be used by someone else in a subsequent Junto project.

Step 5: As with last week, you can contribute more than one track this week. You can do up to two total. If you choose to do a second, you should preferably try to use a duet track that no one else has used yet. The goal is for many as people as possible to benefit from the experience of being part of an asynchronous collaboration. After a lot of detailed instruction, that is the spirit of this project.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0474” (no spaces or quotation marks) in the name of your tracks.

Step 2: If your audio-hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to also include the project tag “disquiet0474” (no spaces or quotation marks). If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to subsequent location of tracks for the creation of a project playlist.

Step 3: Upload your tracks. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your tracks.

Step 4: Post your tracks in the following discussion thread at

Step 5: Annotate your tracks with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 6: If posting on social media, please consider using the hashtag #disquietjunto so fellow participants are more likely to locate your communication.

Step 7: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Additional Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is the end of the day Monday, February 1, 2021, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, January 28, 2020.

Length: The length should be roughly the same as the duet track you selected.

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0474” in the title of the tracks, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, be sure to include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto. Photos, video, and lists of equipment are always appreciated.

Download: It is always best to set your track as downloadable and allowing for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution, allowing for derivatives).

For context, when posting the track online, please be sure to include this following information:

More on this 474th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Police Action (3 of 3) / The Assignment: Complete a trio by adding a track to an existing duet by two other musicians — at:

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

Subscribe to project announcements here:

Project discussion takes place on

There’s also a Disquiet Junto Slack. Send your email address to for Slack inclusion.

Image associated with this project is by orangechallenger, and used thanks to Flickr and a Creative Commons license allowing editing (cropped with text added) for non-commercial purposes:

Ambient Amateur Hour

From a delightful Lullatone device

The ever-inventive Lullatone share a gizmo that’s part turntable, part children’s toy, and all manner of delight — or what Lullatone call “ambient amateur hour” in the best possible way. The device, what the Lullatone duo have named their Perpetual Melody Machine, has four bells rotating, evenly spaced, with a suspended ball bouncing between them. It’s like a wind chime benefiting from the equivalent of a most consistent wind, yet nonetheless retaining the sense of chance that gives chimes their nature-like quality.

Using simple editing techniques, the initial video is doubled, then doubled again, slowed and and reversed, resulting in variations of combinations of layers. It’s to Lullatone’s credit that not only are the individual variations entirely enjoyable, but the whole thing, almost seven minutes long, is edited together into one seamless stretch of musical economy, right up to the very end, when Shawn James Seymour, half of Lullatone (the other half being Yoshimi Tomida), reaches a hand in from off-screen, hits the off button on the turntable, and brings the spinning to a close.

Writes Seymour of the Perpetual Melody Machine’s development two decades back:

The pendulum-like swing of the mallet was kind of a nod to the minimalist music of Steve Reich and Kousugi Takehisa, with the way ideas are sometimes better than finished products like John Cage, and the somnolent spinning of Alexander Calder (I had to use a thesaurus to find a good word that started with s), mixed with the playful experimentation in the “Useless Machines” of Bruno Munari.

Video originally posted at YouTube. More from Lullatone at

Buddha Machine Variations No. 39 (Hazumi Chord)

A series of focused experiments

A little test run of the new Hazumi sequencer, running on VCV Rack, the free modular synth emulator. Hazumi, the grid on the far left, is from the Voxglitch family of modules, created by Bret Truchan. The audio is the initial loop of sound from “Ma,” the first piece of music heard on the very first Buddha Machine (this is from a digital file, not from the physical device). It’s heard here in three pitches, rendered in Adobe Audition: the original, then up four semitones, and then up one additional semitone. The original is also running through Glitch Shifter, a module from Unfiltered Audio, the company of Joshua Dickinson, Michael Hetrick, Ryan McGee, and Benn Cooper. Hetrick spoke to my Sounds of Brands course last year. The additional noise comes courtesy of two sources: the fan of my laptop, and the wind from a chimney, the latter due to the storm (an “atmospheric river”) currently assaulting San Francisco.

More at and Video originally posted at There’s also a video playlist of the Buddha Machine Variations.

Lightbath’s Glitch

On the two-track Surface Bender

The glitch is strong on this, which is to say that the glitch is weak, which is to say that Lightbath is admirably elegant and selective when employing such abrasive techniques on the two tracks that comprise Surface Bender, “Day” and, naturally, “Night.” Both evidence the frantic switcheroos, the temporary holds, the broken patterns that make glitch glitch, but they do so in a way that still manages a dreaminess, a gentility. They may sound, especially midway through “Day,” like myriad Pixar nanobots are reenacting “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” but the result is as judicious as it is uproarious.

Tracks originally posted at More from Lightbath, aka Bryan Noll of Brooklyn, New York, at