Workshop – All about Tape

The world of tape is part of my everyday experience. Sometimes I forget that there are

people who are not familiar with the medium, but yet are curious to find out.

I can offer two kinds of workshops that will give you a complete introduction to the world of tape.

workshop 1: Stories about tape and working with tape.
workshop 2: Working with tape – from composing/collaging to preparing the release

In the first workshop I will give information about the audio cassette, its invention and its use all through the last four decades of the last century. I will show those tapes (audio letters, audio diaries, lectures, self help) and play some examples.

Though I was never a part of the group of home-tapers that exchanged their tapes through a world wide network, I have built up knowledge about it through encounters and collaborations with artists who were directly involved and considered pivotal by the movement. I have interviewed the veterans of cassette culture. I know the story of staalplaat (Amsterdam/Berlin), Geert Jan Hobijn’s label and shop that emerged from the cassette culture scene and I know the story of Generator (New York), Gen Ken Montgomery’s cassette label, shop and sound art gallery. I have published tape related stories on staalzine. Radio On, of which I am the co-founder, broadcasts numerous shows that are cassette related. Staaltape, staalplaat’s cassette label is brought back to live by me. I will share the stories and knowledge with you and I can provide you with links that can help you to further investigate the phenomenon.

I will bring my tape machines to the workshop. The participants will be introduced to the workings and specific qualities of each machine and encouraged to ‘play’ them or use them in composition or collage works.

I will bring my Sony walkman pro (WM-D6C ) and two microphones (Sony ECM-909 and Sony PC-62 ) and show how the perception of our acoustic environment changes when recording. The participants will experience the various ways of recording, and learn how they can change or influence the character of the recordings.

The participant will arrive at the point that she or he can make a sound collage of five minutes directly on tape. With the number of participants limited to six, the workshop will produce a thirty minute tape.


Important: If you have a special technique or topic that you would like to hear more about then let me know as soon as you sign in for the workshop.

Since this workshop is very clearly directed to get the participants used to working with tape machines I can present a very simple narrative.

  • Introduction to the tape recorders and their specific sonic qualities.
  • demonstration of the following qualities: pitch control from extreme low to fairly high, distortion, backward playing, live looping, warbling, fast forward and rewind effects, backward playing, direct manual intervention, hiccuping, tape slipping
  • participants try their hands on the various tape machines
  • demonstration of various techniques on how to make recordings with Sony walkman pro (WM-D6C ) and two microphones (Sony ECM-909 and Sony PC-62 ) (drone sounds, feedback sounds, eerie sounds, magnifying sounds, reverb sounds, noisy sounds, live composing or simple field recordings)
  • explanation of sonic nature of tape recordings and demonstration how they can be used in collages and or compositions
  • participants try their hands on recording
  • each participant works with machines and composes a 5 minute piece
  • end of day 1

At this point we can decide if we want to go on. I will need a break to make copies. Each participant will receive two copies. She or he can receive them by post, nude and crude without any artwork. Or we can spend another couple of hours together and I will explain and show how you can do the artwork. But in this case the one day workshop will become a two day workshop

The second workshop is aimed at people who want to find out how to work with tapes and tape machines in collage art or in composition. It is a two-day workshop of which the second day is dedicated to the decoration of the tape, the artwork and the packaging.

On Day 2 I will bring twelve copies of the C30 that the group has produced on day 1. I will also bring a couple of spray-paint cans (black, white plus three of a different colour), scissors, glue, small objects, wrapping paper, stamps, scotch and whatever will come up in my mind. Each participant will be asked at the end of day 1 to think of something to bring for the artwork. Magazines, old books, paint and brushes, haribo bears, tiny glittery things, small toys, small cardboard or wooden boxes, frames for small photographs or paintings, no chocolate, but if you like to wrap your tape completely in chewing gum then you’d better start chewing right away, no toothpaste, but plaster could do a great job (in fact I am thinking to cast a next release completely in plaster.) Anyway, the list is longer then you can imagine and what you forget today you will remind tomorrow.

At the end of the workshop each participant will have two tapes. One to take home, and one wrapped in collage art packaging, ready to be sent out to someone in the world. The tape has your sounds on it.

Workshop 1: Costst for one day, postage of 2 cassettes included 35€. Two days 40€ Limited to six persons. Duration 3-4 hours per day.

Workshop 2: Costs for one day 30€. Two days 40€. Limited to six persons. Duration 3-4 hours per day.

And here’s a gallery of the tape machines I will bring to the workshop

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