Loop 2: Channel Rhythms

1955, 4:39 min.
Henry Jacobs

Henry Jacobs, a self-styled ethnomusicologist and audio experimenter, hosted a weekly show on Berkeley station KPFA in the early 1950s called “Music and Folklore.” To produce his show, Jacobs taped eclectic musical selections and interviews – both genuine interviews and comedic ones that Jacobs and collaborators staged with invented personas. He also began experimenting with tape loops, reflecting a more precise interest how percussion sounds, complex rhythms, and repurposed audio technology could interact with one another. This was in the first decade of magnetic tape’s availability as a sound recording medium, and recent critics have argued that Jacobs helped shape an American parallel to the musique concrète that Pierre Schaeffer and the GRM in Paris more famously developed during the same period. “Loop 2 - Channel Rhythms” is a piece that appeared on a 1955 collection of Jacobs’s work called Radio Programme 1, and it moves through his different modes of audio experimentation, from collaged music and speech snippets into percussive tape loop compositions. - Described by Wave Farm Radio Artist Fellow 2021/2022, Andy Stuhl.