I make cassette tape loops, design my own synthesizers, and hack together all manner of electronic sound devices that I find. I also occasionally take the time to compose and record music using various instruments and other fun things I design and make myself.
Right now, everything I make or design is meant for myself to use in the studio or in live performances. However, I am currently taking steps towards making my designs and work available to others through a variety of avenues.
I am currently live and work in Brooklyn NY, attending Brooklyn College as a graduate student (MFA Sonic Arts). However, I am a native Philadelphian (go birds) and spend a lot of my time back in Philly working on various projects and performing with friends around the city.
I first became interested in making my own instruments and studio equipment after taking a class on Audio Electronics at the University of the Arts while working on my undergrad there (around late 2013). They have one of the first Moog modular synthesizers ever built in the studio there, and a number of really interesting pieces of vintage analog equipment. Seeing those and learning the basics of electronic engineering inspired me to try and make my own gear since I could not afford a giant modular synth or high end tape equipment at the time (I still cant) and I wanted to be able to continue making music with one after I graduated.
I have been officially making since about 2013, but I always loved to tinker when I was a young kid. There are still a bunch of old disassembled guitars in my mother’s basement with a bunch of half baked modifications. So I guess I would say that I’ve been a maker at heart since I can remember.
Magnetic tape has a long and illustrious history in the world of experimental and electronic music as a tool rather than a medium of storage. I began studying the works of the minimalist composers like Steve Reich and Morton Subotnick, along with more recent artists like Brian Eno, and was inspired at trying my hand at using tape editing and manipulation as a means of composing and performing rather than just recording. I found there to be something very liberating about working with record sounds away from a computer, and felt like I needed to continue making tape loops and experiments until I was a master. While I’m no master yet, I’ve gotten much better since I started.
While I could easy make a long list of classic composers, musicians, and composers that have inspired and informed my work, a few of the more recent makers that have directly inspired my work have been Tony Rolando, founder and designer at modular synth company Make Noise, and the artist/producer Amulets, who is a sort of master/virtuoso of cassette tape manipulation. Both are very different individuals, but both have produced some really great things in the bast several years. Tony’s modular designs are among the modern classics of analog synthesis, and Amulets is probably more responsible than anybody else for a renewed interest in tape looping and cassette technology on the internet.
I still have another year of graduate studies left before I receive my MFA in Sonic Arts from Brooklyn College, but before that happens I want to continue making music and honing my tape loop skills. I also want to begin to compile some of my more interesting designs and builds into one place so that others can learn from my work and make them for themselves. I have an ever expanding back catalog of projects that I would love to get started working on tomorrow, but for now I’m going to focus on wrapping up school and soaking up as much knowledge as possible along the way.
I have a record of music comprised entirely of tape loop base compositions coming out this summer! You should follow me on Instagram, @midi_lizard, for updates and check out some of other music and projects on my website.