The Tape-beatles (aka Public Works) are a multi-media group from Iowa City, IO[/placeformed that formed in December 1986. Its members include Lloyd Dunn, John Heck, Paul Neff, and Ralph Johnson. Beginning with analog tape recorders, and later expanding to include digital technology and film media, the group has used collage techniques to create works that challenge the notion of intellectual property. Their works make extensive use of materials appropriated from various sources through a process they call "Plagiarism®". The Tape-beatles’ body of work consists mainly of music and audio art recordings, ‘expanded' and 'performed' cinema performances, videos, printed publications, and works in other media. They work under the umbrella organization called Public Works Productions.
Members of the Tape-beatles currently include as of this writing Lloyd Dunn and John Heck. Former or occasional members of the group include Linda Morgan Brown, Chuck Hollister, Ralph Johnson, and Paul Neff.
The group's initial focus was to create music that made use of techniques borrowed from musique concrète, but applied to a popular music context. To this end, they eschewed conventional musical instruments, instead contending that tape recording and the recording studio itself was their 'instrument'.
The Tape-beatles, who then consisted of Dunn, Heck and Johnson, put out their first major work, A subtle buoyancy of pulse, in 1988. In keeping with the tape aesthetic, the work was available only on cassette (until being reissued 10 years later on CD by Staalplaat, Amsterdam, the Netherlands). Public response was sufficiently favorable that the group began immediate work on a new album, adding two new members along the way: Paul Neff and Linda Morgan Brown.
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