Infinite Tape Loops: The Edge by Music for Sleep

Music for Sleep | Infinite Tape Loops: The Edge
Rohs Records (CD)

I’ve been dedicating some time lately to analyze different approaches to tape music composition. After the review of kNN double release on Canti Magnetici and Walkman Jazz by Sammartano, out on the same label, I came across this record by Music For Sleep (Andrea Porcu). The title immediately caught my eyes: “Infinite tape loops” it just felt like a perfect add to the selection of records I’m listening to lately. Despite the release being on CD, it has a strong link in the form to the common conception of the tape format.

The record revolves around a very short melodic loop of approximately 8 seconds, that plays through the whole piece from the beginning to the end. Around it, strings and pad harmonization fill the gaps with a gentle tapestry of long diluted sounds becoming the primary element of the composition, just around the twelfth minute then move back to its background role. Timbric variations are the push that gets the composition to flow, amplitude automations and gradual filtering develop a certain movement and introduce changes in the background-figure relationship of the two main sound actors. This floating, a heavy sound is lightly elevating, into light sounds that become grounded in appearance and disappearances, underlining a static, eternal landscape that will never change its behavior. 

The melody of the loop features a somewhat Wagnerian epic feeling and gives us the impression of withstanding something majestic, a mountain for instance, with its trees growing and dying, its ever-flowing waterfalls, its corroded cliffs reshaping through time. 

The picture we get though, also feels a bit too idealistic, a stereotypical postcard lacking in mistakes and imperfections, that almost looks artificial.
In this sense, the composition lacks of the deep complexity to be found in Eliane Radigue’s works, depicting the coastline of her islands with outstanding care for small details that make them different, but also lacks of the technological specialities that would make William Basinski’s (a clear reference for this record) work as timbrically. The grain, the hiss, the imperfections, the tiny little clippings and compressions that make the use of the tape format meaningful and not a mere technological fetish, here are rather absent, instead, listening closely it’s possible to perceive some digital delay glitches coming out.

Generally speaking this album is an enjoyable background for a meditative moment, book reading, something to fall asleep to (maybe therefore the name of the project) but it definitely had the potential to shine more than it actually does.

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