How To Use A Tascam Portastudio As A Performance Instrument

In this video, Chris Randall (Analog Industries) demonstrates one way to use a cassette four-track recorder as a performance instrument.

Randall describes it as “A quick demo of using a cassette 4-track as an instrument. (Or: How to get a Cm7 chord in to your song the hard way.)”

Randall uses a Tascam Portastudio 414. If you’ve tried something similar with different gear, share the details in the comments!

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9 thoughts on “How To Use A Tascam Portastudio As A Performance Instrument

  1. i made a short song a while back with a 4 track
    it went ka thunk dunk bunk bang
    basically the sound of it be thrown into the trash at long distance
    it just want to be repaired

  2. Just started messing with this over the last couple of weeks — I needed to use the mixer on the four-track and the recording part of the unit started begging for attention. Rather than use a straight recorded pad? On the first piece, we recorded two different tracks of two different sequences, each with a different voice and processing, all four tracks having the speed of the sequence steadily hand-modulated so that they interact in a chaotic fashion. All this was done in the note of D to be used as a drone track.

    This worked so well I did another drone track but for this I recorded an electric guitar-type sound using a similarly randomly-varied timing with one note per track so it formed a Cmaj7 when all four tracks played at once. I ran the sound through a slowed attack and a series of delays when recording, then put the whole shebang through chorus, tremelo, a low-pass filter to cut out the nasty highs, and a nice ridiculous underwater reverb.

    This could get to be a habit.

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