10TH GIFT: Brother Raven, Many Moons MICRO

The 10th micro cassette release, limited edition 50. The final micro cassette release I’ll be sharing over the blog. Like the last two recent posts, these are 320 kbps MP3s transferred from their original master tapes.

This album was the last free micro cassette gift of the series, and the last Gift Tapes release (in its original form). This tape and first Gift Tape/Brother Raven release seemed to serve as nice bookends to an era of Gift Tapes. Brother Raven is the duo synth project of Jamie Potter and myself. These tracks were entirely improvised and recorded to tape between 2009-2010, then mixed in 2012.

Brother Raven, Many Moons
Download: GT043 65 MB ZIP file, includes 320 kbps MP3s

MICRO CASSETTES… The wave of the future.
Inexpensive.  Miniature.  Mono.  Limited Frequency Response.

NOTE: Two of the ten micro cassettes we released are unavailable here. Concessionaires Mustang is missing because I haven’t been able to get artist permission, and Pulse Emitter has posted Mars Meadows on his Bandcamp here: https://pulseemitter.bandcamp.com/album/mars-meadows

9TH GIFT: 2 Hands on Knobs, Copper Medallion MICRO

The 7th micro cassette release, limited edition 50. One other from the collection will be posted very soon, so keep posted. As indicated in our last post, these transfers to 320 kbps MP3s are from their original master tapes.

This questionably questionable moniker I used to employ for synth experiments, which often took the form of ‘hard-to-listen-to’ sketches. For this one I patched my Moogs into one another, ran them through a delay pedal and when I landed on something I liked I hit record. I think I used a Multimoog, Micromoog, Moog CP-251 and a Boss DM-2 delay pedal. I can hear how I was attempting to stretch my gear, in anticipation of finally having enough savings to purchase a modular system. But honestly there’s not much else to say about this one. Let the sounds be sounds… and maybe be entertained by my description 🙂

Arrhythmic knob tweak fest; a drunkard tumbling down the stairs

2 Hands on Knobs, Copper Medallion
Download: GT031 72 MB ZIP file, includes 320 kbps MP3s

MICRO CASSETTES… The wave of the future.
Inexpensive.  Miniature.  Mono.  Limited Frequency Response.

8TH GIFT: Father Sound, Witch Doctor MICRO

The 6th micro cassette release, limited edition 50. Two others from the collection will be posted very soon, so please keep posted. As a bonus, these transfers to 320 kbps MP3s are from their original master tapes.

This is one of my favorite solo releases from Jamie Potter and I’m glad he was up for sharing this one… 10 years later. When I listen to it I am transported back to his Seattle apartment circa 2010, looking over his collection of cheapy Yamaha FM keyboards, while trying to ignore the musty smell of thrift store oozing out of all his things. I remember he had been sick and he was telling me that this tape was entirely recorded in bed, which was around the time of the H1N1 pandemic.

VSSified Rambo 3 VHS composed in bed; victorious action scene manipulation

In attempting to decode my original description, other details emerge. He used his Yamaha VSS-30 (which played an integral role in Brother Raven’s sound of the time) and sampled VHS tapes, likely Rambo 3. I don’t know if this was entirely VSS or not, because he often used a Roland SP-303 sampler and a Boss DD-20 Giga Delay pedal at the time, if only for effects. All of this, of course, was recorded to four track.

Listening back… this is a pretty bizarre piece of music, realized via sample manipulations of a mainstream movie’s soundtrack – dialog, sfx, music and all – molded into an unusual sound world. Choppy loops and layers are spliced into alternate story-lines, as a new narrative takes shape over the excellent reuse/remix of canned melodies. Simple, and beautifully warped.

Father Sound, witch doctor
Download: GT027 56MB ZIP file, includes 320 kbps MP3s

MICRO CASSETTES… The wave of the future.
Inexpensive.  Miniature.  Mono.  Limited Frequency Response.

GIFT: Home Office split

Recording 2HOK Home Office B side in The Box, 2010 Seattle WA

Little did I know what the future would hold in 2010 when my label Gift Tapes released Home Office, an audio cassette split release featuring 2 Hands On Knobs (yes, my questionable “intentionally-questionable” moniker for scrambly synth experiments) and Studio SS (Karlskrona, Sweden-based Jan Svennson experimental synth solo moniker – also head of Borft/UFO Mongo label, member of Frak and Alvars Orkester, and electronic dance solo project Villa Abo). Here we are, 10 years later, living in a world where a virus has forced many of us, fortunate enough to still be employed, to work from home. Even my stock one-line label description from back then seems as if it could describe the current situation:

on-edge claustrophobic terror state | an awkward birth of an android.

Paranoia, claustrophobia, and anxiety are obvious side effects to isolation, but the second part of that description is a bit more terrifyingly thought-provoking. Wikipedia defines android as a ‘humanoid robot or synthetic organism designed to imitate a human’. Synthetic, organism, imitation of a human… I suggest you use your imagination to think about how these words apply to our current situation.

For me, its a bit of a warning and maybe a reminder. As you peer out into the virtual world to attempt to understand the current events in the world around you, remember that we are participating in this synthetic imitation, an organism whose consciousness is primarily created and driven by money and power. It is increasingly important to become and/or remain critical, to consider who is benefiting from all this, and who are its victims. This situation of virus and quarantine is new, but there has always been continuously evolving structures that allow some to benefit at the expense of others.

And with that, Home Office… Enjoy the tape:

September 7: Jason E Anderson & RM Francis

Gift Tapes/DRAFT Presents:

Jason E Anderson & RM Francis

Saturday, September 7, 2019
Chapel Performance Space
4649 Sunnyside Ave. N, Seattle (50th & Sunnyside in Wallingford)
8pm, $5-15 sliding scale
FB event page / Press images

Gift Tapes/DRAFT presents Jason E Anderson and RM Francis at the Chapel Performance Space, in association with the Wayward Music Series, with support from Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture. Jason E Anderson will present a new composition called CORM (Consequence of Recursive Memory). RM Francis will present new computer synthesis work to open the evening. All proceeds from this performance will be donated to friend and fellow musician Norm Chambers to assist him with medical expenses.

*Anderson will also deliver a one hour workshop/demonstration at Patchwerks at 3pm prior to this event. He will discuss his new composition and share some strategies he’s devised to control modular synths with SuperCollider.

Jason E Anderson is an artist now living in the Inland Empire of the Pacific Northwest, having left Seattle in 2018 to live among the Palouse farmlands just outside of Pullman WA. His work includes performance, recordings, film/video, installation, music for dance, producing and publishing. Anderson performs and records music under his own name and in performance art/film collaboration LIMITS with dancer Corrie Befort. In 2001, he began performing in Seattle’s free improv/experimental music circles and in 2008 he co-founded improv synth duo Brother Raven with Jamie Potter, leading to his active involvement in the synth music scene running experimental music label Gift Tapes/DRAFT. In performance, Anderson employs systems that generate sound and patterns that are subject to manual manipulation. His occasional use of voice/text, particularly in the context of LIMITS, has augmented his use of abstract sound with extra-musical information to address concepts and context within the auditory realm. See: Jason E Anderson, LIMITS, Gift Tapes/DRAFT, Mesh Collaborative, Brother Raven, Space Habitat, Spare Death Icon, and Harpoon Pole Vault.

Consequence of Recursive Memory is a composition for voice/computer, comprised of prepared texts spoken by the performer in dialogue with a computer as a framework to observe recursion within human memory. The computer ‘listens’ to text spoken by the performer, which uses statistical analysis to model increasingly complex responses articulated by means of rudimentary sound synthesis. The system is biased to stimulate conceptual links between the textual content and technological process, but obfuscates speech intelligibility and pacing to equalize this information with the electronic sound.

*CORM and this performance is made possible with support from the Office of Arts and Culture, City of Seattle.

RM Francis is an artist working with computer-generated sound via performance, recording, and installation. His work has been presented throughout North America at numerous festivals, including Debacle (Seattle), 2 Day (Portland), Diffusion (Baltimore), and Human Festival (Philadelphia). His Hyperplastic Other project is a series of works utilizing chocolate, video, performance, and sound to dramatize alternative models of subjectivity. Francis was also a member of Mesh Collaborative, a computer music ensemble employing network architecture to explore novel modes of distributed authorship and human-computer collaboration. He lives in Seattle, where he is also active as a concert organizer. See: https://rmfrancis.net

Anderson’s CORM and this performance is made possible in part from support from Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture and the Wayward Music Series.


Doug Theriault

Chapel Performance Space
4649 Sunnyside Ave. N, Seattle (50th & Sunnyside in Wallingford)
8pm, $5-15 sliding scale

Gift Tapes/DRAFT presents Doug Theriault and RM Francis for its third installment of its 2018 program at the Chapel Performance Space, in association with the Wayward Music Series. Portland-based Doug Theriault makes his first Seattle appearance in five years, performing live cut up guitar improvisations using custom made electronics. Local RM Francis kicks off a string of west coast performances, debuting new work that is sure to convey his innovative approach to computer-generated sound. Join us for this exciting evening of new electronic music.

Doug Theriault

Doug Theriault is an unclassifiable multi instrumentalist, composer and instrument builder who lives in Portland. His work has covered many different music styles but he is mostly known for his live cut up guitar improvisations using custom made electronics.

RM Francis

RM Francis is an artist based in Seattle working with computer-generated sound via recordings, installations, and performances. His work is primarily informed by historical electroacoustic practices and posthumanist philosophy. He has presented his work at numerous festivals in the US, including Debacle in Seattle, 2 Day in Portland, Diffusion in Baltimore, and Human Festival in Philadelphia. His work has been released on DRAFT, Agents of Chaos, and atrium. His 2017 release Hyperplastic Other, a multimedia work utilizing chocolate and sound, is published by nada. Francis is also a member of Mesh Collaborative, a computer music ensemble employing network architecture to explore novel modes of collective authorship.

June 2nd Performance Recap

Scott Goodwin

After an intense 24 hour lead up to the show, attempting to secure 2 additional speakers for the Arun Chandra’s 8-channel piece, the evening began with gorgeous reddish-orange light from the sunset bleeding into Scott Goodwin’s polyrhythmic midi-driven modular set.  Einstein-on-the-beach sounding arpeggiations articulated with Goodwin’s techno sensibilities, were layered with lush pads and granular vocal samples. After a couple years of inactivity in the live domain, and possibly longer within a sit-down/listening  venue environment, it was a treat to really focus on listening to him perform live.

Arun Chandra

Arun Chandra presented three works including “Lament” for recorded voice and 2-channel output, “smear pulse no sneer” for 2-channel output and “A Refugee in the Mediterranean” for 8-channel output. Each work of ‘fixed media’ was presented in traditional academic fashion, with introductions informing the audience about the compositional ideas informing the pieces. A common thread between the works was how they related to his interest in the perception of time. Each piece was utterly engaging, with extreme dynamics and unusual timbres. One of my favorite aspects of the work presented was his use of very raw waveforms that would sounding fairly spare and harsh as individual waveforms, and but would become very full and pleasing to the ear as they multiplied. Two of his works also incorporated human voice, which, when paired with sounds of such abstract textures, there is a sort of jarring leap from one sound space to another, from alien to known/familiar – particularly when one’s ear becomes accustomed to the abstract sound space first. Chandra also explained some of his thinking with regard to the experience of time being different between one’s listening to voice versus music in “Lament”, with musical passages needing more time to seem equal to fragments of voice. I feel very fortunate to have been able to present Chandra’s work!!

Extra special thanks to my volunteers Robert [RM] Francis and Ian Halloran for helping me run the show. And special thanks to Steve Peters, Vance Galloway, Walter of Cafe Walter, Mita Mahato, David Golightly and Emily Pothast.

June 2: Arun Chandra & Scott Goodwin at The Chapel Performance Space

Gift Tapes/DRAFT presents the Arun Chandra and Scott Goodwin for its second installment of its 2018 program at the Chapel Performance Space, in association with the Wayward Music Series. The work of Arun Chandra is not often presented outside of academic circles, but offers an extremely unique perspective on composition and computer music, having studied under Herbert Brun and recorded and performed works by Brun, Barry Traux and Xenakis. He will present three works, including a recent composition for 32 channels, down-mixed for 8 channels. Scott Goodwin will perform live, drawing on his niche somewhere between new techno and experimental composition, employing his ever-rotating set of electronic instruments (currently Eurorack synthesizers, outboard effects, and computer) to craft a set specifically designed for the Chapel “inspired by rhythmic minimalism, club music, video game soundtracks and the science fiction works of Greg Egan and Liu Cixi”.



Arun Chandra

Arun Chandra is a composer and a conductor, teaching at The Evergreen State College in Olympia Washington since 1998, working with undergraduate students interested in compositional experiments in music and theater, and the social context of contemporary artistic creation. His compositions have been performed at festivals and conferences in the United States, Europe and Asia.

He is a 2007–08 recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to India, where studied the combinatorial possibilities of North Indian melodic scales with the Indian mathematician Dr. Ashok Narayan.

In 2003, the Wesleyan University Press published his edition of When Music Resists Meaning the articles and lectures of Herbert Brun, his primary composition teacher.

He was the Music Director and Conductor of the Olympia Chamber Orchestra for four seasons (2000–2004), giving numerous premiers of new works for orchestra, along with works from the traditional orchestral repertory. With the orchestra, he recorded for publication Dominion for orchestra and two-channel tape by Barry Truax, and Infraudibles for quintet and two-channel tape by Herbert Brun.

During the 1990s, he was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan (1992–1994), Assistant Professor in Computer Science at the Parkland Community College (1997–98), and a developer for Wolfram Research Inc. (1989–92), At Wolfram Research, he wrote the Audio and Music packages for Mathematica. He received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Illinois in 1989.

He was a founding member of the Performers’ Workshop Ensemble, with whom he toured extensively in the United States from 1978–1991, giving yearly performances for the American Society of Cybernetics. With the Ensemble, he helped start the School for Designing a Society in 1991.

Chandra continues to compose for various media and instrumental compositions. For the past five years, he has led the Evergreen Experimental Music Ensemble, a group of student instrumentalists and singers from The Evergreen State College, performing contemporary experimental works at colleges and schools in the Northwest. The group has performed works composed by the students, as well as Maledetto by Kenneth Gaburo, Nuits by Iannis Xenakis, and other works by contemporary composers.

Scott Goodwin
Scott Goodwin started building DIY synthesizers in 2008 after returning from a short tour of the East Coast performing with three iPods, a microphone, and a crumpled brown paper bag. Over the years he’s played with the glacially static drone group Bonus, polyrhythmic house duo Polonaise, with “structural techno” band Operative, and with solo projects in both the techno and experimental music genres. Much of his work uses electronic instruments to explore the physicality of sounds, hearing, and perception. He’s also somewhat obsessed with applying concepts from the late 90s DIY hardcore punk scene to electronic art making. In 2017, Scott became a cofounder of Portland-based modular synthesizer company Plastic Ideas Electronics.

Feb 3: Seattle Phonographers Union & Mesh Collaborative

Chapel Performance Space
4649 Sunnyside Ave. N, Seattle (50th & Sunnyside in Wallingford)
8pm, $5-15 sliding scale

Gift Tapes/DRAFT presents the Seattle Phonographers Union and Mesh Collaborative for its first installment of its 2018 program at the Chapel Performance Space, in association with the Wayward Music Series. The Seattle Phonographers Union, a unique collective with an ever-changing lineup, performs site-specific sound works using unprocessed field recordings. Mesh Collaborative is a computer network music collective that creates synthetic sonic environments by means of realtime cross-compositional systems. Both sets of sound/music will be performed over a 4-channel sound system.

Engaging in collective improvisation using only unprocessed field recordings, the Seattle Phonographers Union explores the ways in which we recognize, differentiate, map and navigate our sonic environment. Our intent is to move beyond habitual experience of sound and uncover what is foreign in the familiar and familiar about the foreign; to explore what we hear and relearn what we know. Some sounds will be familiar; others less so. Both novel and familiar sounds are juxtaposed in ways unique to each event. Our intent is to investigate and enrich both our intuitive and analytical relationship with sound. The goal is not to excite, confuse or entertain per se, but to attend to the world, which is much more detailed and diverse than any one person’s perception of it. Performers will include: Steve Barsotti, Mark Cooper, Doug Haire, Jake Muir and Steve Peters.

Mesh Collaborative’s debut performance will feature a single desktop computer performing digital synthesis in response to control messages sent by four human performers with laptops. This system, built using the SuperCollider programming language, is designed to exploit the inherent volatility of the network, complete with lag, race conditions, and possible system crashes. Performers include: a 2007 iMac, Jeff Huston, James Watkins, RM Francis and Jason E Anderson.