Once a year, the San Francisco Tape Music Festival invites listeners to experience experimental, fixed-media compositions in complete darkness through its high-end, immersive speaker system, which festival organizers purport is the best way to take in the challenging, abstract, and non-melodic works at the event. The only requirement for a piece to be considered “tape music” is that it can’t be composed for a live band or orchestra, and instead utilizes recorded media as a means of sonic innovation. The festival features 32 local and international composers — some of whom are in their eighties and have been involved in electroacoustic music since its beginnings — presenting a variety of works, including contemporary pieces as well as some early cylinder recordings dating to the late 1800s. Maggi Payne, an electronic music pioneer and director of the Center for Contemporary Music at Mills College, is one of the most prominent Bay Area composers at the event. She will present her piece, Black Ice, which uses a Moog synthesizer to create a dynamic, textural sound collage. The festival takes place Friday through Sunday at the Gray Area Grand Theater.
Through the Looking Glass excerpt ©2015 Maggi Payne from Maggi Payne on Vimeo.