David Kirby is a software programmer by trade and a musician primarily working in the medium of cassette tapes, making rhythmic tape collages that surprise and confuse. He describes his work as “an open air experiment exploring psychophysical defecation in virtual spaces.” Using handheld recorders, he manipulates and molds his sounds by physically interacting with the cassette players by varying the pressure on the buttons as well as other mysterious techniques. He does not employ effects but rather lets the tapes and his interaction with them speak for itself. His cassettes come from wherever he can find them, and no sound is out of the question. Often unexpected, incredibly rhythmic and playful, and sometimes completely confounding, David’s tape works are represented by the piece showcased today, “Mixdown“.
He and Steve Flato have known each other for quite some time, crossing paths via various internet platforms like Soulseek and web forums over ten years ago. Their conversation is as playful and unexpected as David’s music, covering a wide range of topics such as David’s experience living with a medicine woman in the mountains of South Carolina; his net label Homophoni; psychedelic drugs and experimental music; dimensional listening; the connection between improvised music and failure; his current avoidance of four-track tape machines and preference for simple handheld recorders; the falling availability and rising cost of cassettes; what the format of cassette tapes offer as a unique experience separate from vinyl or digital; the distinction between using tapes as instruments vs. as an end-product for the listener; David’s thoughts on recordings of improvised music and the loss of data involved; the loss of physical media as digital distribution becomes more widely adopted; the connection between electroacoustic improvisation and jazz; and booty shorts.