Chris Child & Micah Frank – Tape Pieces Vol.1

Tape Pieces Vol. 1 is the debut EP from Chris Child and Micah Frank. Child has been using the pseudonym Kodomo for a while, but recently he’s spent time creating more minimal and intimate music. In that respect, Tape Pieces Vol. 1 (August 23, Foil Imprints) is evidence of a natural progression. On this team-up, Puremagnetik founder Micah Frank decided to use a four-track as the main recording device. The tape loops come from a couple of synths, a Rhodes, a piano, and the natural ambient wash of Portland, Maine. The loops are heavily influenced by their surroundings. Subtle slivers of light revolve around the music like a beacon at the top of a lighthouse, watching over the waters and drifting over empty harbours. At this hour, everyone is sleeping.

Ethereal lights dance over glitched-up microsounds and other repeating patterns, creating intense and hypnotic music which, in spite of being cocooned in the style of looping (a loop traditionally promotes minimalism – it’s a tiny, musical cage, but with space for some development, and there are infinite possibilities even in its supposed restrictions), never feels claustrophobic. On the contrary, the ghostly ambient of ‘Prisms And Whims’ increases in size, taking in the open night sky and a cooler atmosphere. The notes have enough space inside the loop because there’s a sparse, night-time quality to their area. It isn’t overpopulated.

Recorded in the fall of 2018, the tape loops were layered and re-recorded by way of effects pedals, and this has the effect of slowing them down; the underlying atmosphere features movement of a glacial tempo. Field recordings of Portland help in giving the loops a vital authenticity, stamping the soul of Maine upon the record, imprinting it into the grooves. At the same time, the loops feel decades-old, thanks to the sound of the synth, which lends a nostalgic element to the music. The synths have been affected by weather patterns, too: one can feel the rain falling, washing over them, and they’re drenched in high levels of delay and reverb – and reverb is often associated with water, from a single raindrop to a hundred gallons.

Tones crimp and crease all of a sudden, as if suffering from a violent onset of vertigo, and it becomes forever wedged inside the loop. The pieces unfold like flowers before retreating back in on themselves, reverting to an original layer. But this reversal is still a progression. Similar to respiration, the loop cycles back in on itself, returning to the beginning so it can go on once again – an eternal circle, and the definition of a perfect loop.

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