Retro Sound Technology Meets Modern Pop in a Dizzying Audio/Video Remix

By Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg

In their latest video, Ithaca Audio mixes 16 tracks live on a 23-year-old Tascam tape machine, blending music by Etta James, Deadmau5, and more. The project was inspired by the 50th anniversary of the cassette tape, which Ithaca calls the " format that brought us mixtapes and the birth of home sampling culture." The mashup is so precisely timed, as you can see in the video below, that it's hard to believe it's live. Chris Evans-Roberts, who created the mix and the video with Andy Rae, explains how they did it:

Before using the tape we prepared 16 tracks of loops on the computer. These were time stretched and pitch-shifted so that they all looped in sync with each other and were in the same key. These loops were then recorded onto the 16 tracks on the Tascam tape machine. All 16 tracks loop continuously when the tape machine plays back. By using the mute buttons at the bottom of the machine we can control which of the loops are heard at any one time. The amount of vocal parts did mean that we needed to be very accurate with bringing various tracks in and out. In the end we devised our own type of score to help with structuring the performance.

Why is an audio studio branching into viral videos? "We started making videos to demonstrate the creative possibilities available through audio remix and manipulation," Evans-Roberts says. "It has helped our business immensely; since we started creating videos we have been nominated for several awards and have worked with some incredible clients including VISA, Red Bull, Guinness and UEFA." Their first remix, below, was shortlisted for a Vimeo Award earlier this year. 

For more work by Ithaca Audio, visit http://www.ithacaaudio.com/.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/video/archive/2012/12/retro-sound-technology-meets-modern-pop-in-a-dizzying-audio-video-remix/266182/