Public Works Productions

Reviews of Recordings by Public Works and The Tape-beatles

“A subtle bouyancy of pulse” by The Tape-beatles

A subtle buoyancy of pulse

Disk reviews

Minneapolis Summit (EP)

Numbers (EP)

Good Times (CD)

Matter (CD)

The Grand Delusion (CD)

Music with Sound (CD)

A subtle buoyancy… (CD)

Show reviews

The Chicago Reader

at the Empty Bottle

at the ATA Gallery

at Illinois State U


Artpaper (Philip Blackburn)

Icon (Todd Kimm)

Tractor (Steve Perkins)

Synergy (Steev Hise)

E-mail (Erik Benndorf)

Radio Free Berkeley

X Magazine (G. Daniels)

Vital (Anton Viergever)


Daily Iowan (1) (2) (3)

Neo (Beth Lucht)

Keyboard (Mark Dery)

Pulse (Paul Ashby)

Montreal Mirror (B. Kelly)

C.R. Gazette (D. Rexroat)

Artpaper (L. Roberts)

Black Book (Anuj Desai)

Cassette released 1988; Expanded CD re-issue 1998

Option no. 23, October 1988

This is a collective of the funniest sound collagists to ever lay fingers on the edit button. You get the usual cultural detritus and found sounds, plus brief rants and hilarious phone-in radio requests (‘I’d like to hear the sound of a burning microphone.’) The Tape-beatles don’t just go after easy targets or use a shotgun approach hoping something will work. Their focus and sense of purpose make it worth the attention paid to their dense, associative mix. Like early Firesign Theater, you can’t catch everything in just one listening. Especially insightful are the pieces dealing with politically oriented artists and trendy theories, because the Tape-beatles are too smart to just ridicule them. The Tape-beatles also want to create new, politically responsive art, but they’re working on more effective ways of creating it. Perhaps the only effective way: If you can’t laugh, it’s not a revolution.

Lang Thompson

N D no. 10, 1988

This is simply a brilliant use of mixing and combining sources such as radio, TV, ads and other items to create a very clever collage of new meanings. This is great just to leave on and get the sampling effect as if your radio began to connect all the pieces together and talk to you. An excellent and well designed small booklet comes with this great package. Highly recommended.

Dan Plunkett

Score Review 18, September 1989

In this cassette by the infamous Iowa City group, the Tape-beatles prove that if something is repeated often enough it becomes a part of you (this theory came to them through divine revelation). Their instrumentation is primarily made up of radios, TVs, and tape machines, but somehow they have achieved a broader array of effects than previously thought possible. Not only is this noise energetic, it’s also downright tickling at times. It is rumored that the band, in the wake of the nostalgia tours by The Who and The Rolling Stones, is going to reform and retrace its historic/hysteric world tour of 1968/1986. These four guys, who have never had Beatle haircuts, have become masters of tape collage, probably against their will, and are well worth the twenty-five dollar ticket price at your local venue. Stand in line or be left out. This is a cultural event worth sniffing about.

Crag Hill

Factsheet Five no. 27, 1988

This is amazing stuff. Armed only with archives of recorded material and tape recorders, the Tape-beatles put together rhythmic, ‘Plagiarized’ cuts that use cultural images — evangelists, interviews with rock stars, advertisements — to bore into your subsconsciousness. With few cuts over 2 mintues long, this is a barrage of sometimes funny, sometimes curious material that showcases the ability of the dedicated to find music anywhere.

Mike Gunderloy

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