Unlike conventional music festivals which focus on an A/V experience, the Tape Music Festival leads the audience into darkness, only surrounded by 24 loudspeakers.

The San Francisco Tape Music Festival, held from January 8-10 at Z Space’s Z Below Theatre, is America’s only festival devoted to the performance of audio works projected in three-dimensional space. Modeled after England’s BEAST (Birmingham ElectroAcoustic Sound Theatre), it features four distinct concerts of classic audio art and new fixed media compositions by 32 local and international composers. You get to hear members of the SF Tape Music Collective, along with guest composers, shape the sound live over a pristine surround system (24 high-end loudspeakers each connected to a fader) with the audience seated in complete darkness.


(Image Courtesy : http://sfsound.org/tape/)

The festival showcases a diverse range of music from the “fixed media” art form, radio plays, abstract acousmatica, sound-design works and full-spectrum drones. All of this is an effort by sfSound to introduce people to this vast artform. “We’re looking for ways to encourage curiosity,” says Cliff Caruthers a well known theatrical sound designer. “We turn the lights out and, in general, there is kind of a performer — a person who mans the mixing station — and for most of the pieces they’re projecting the sound to all the speakers,” says Matt Ingalls, co founder of the SF Tape Music Collective, “It’s cinema for the ears.”