Experimentalist Jeff Surak runs the zeromoon label from Maryland and is the director of the Sonic Circuits Festival.
_Perhaps my first encounter with Jeff Surak’s music came on this tape of a live performance from 1988 with his group, New Carrollton. I had also received another tape from that group around that time too. The found sounds, feedback and distortion were calling cards of his work at the time and I also remember a collab with Zan Hoffman with his project – 1348 -. Never easy listening but not just harsh noise either, this was probing and interesting sound. More recently his Violet project has extended and redefined his experimental sound with use of various acoustic instruments and reimagining of his itchy, droney resonances. _
In the early 80s I started making experiments with tape recordings, and by 1983 I had compiled my first c90 release of my project – 1348 -. I had heard about Unsound magazine on a local 10 watt college radio station WMUC, and immediately sent away for a copies of the first issues. I sent Unsound my first tape and they compared it to Whitehouse and early TG, giving it a good review. This review resulted in my first tape trade – 2 shit stained cassettes from Psychodrama. They received the third copy of my first tape that I dubbed, on a normal bias tape, figuring that they weren’t too concerned about sound quality. I spent 88 cents on postage, but nothing on the tape. I think I just taped over some other tape. I know all this because I kept a ledger in which I noted everyone that I sent tapes to, jotting down their name, address, if they bought the tape, traded, or if I gave it
to them for free, normal or chrome bias, the postage, cost of the
tape, and how much money, if any, I received if they bought it. Back then I never had any money, and my only source of income was mowing lawns in the neighborhood. A typical saturday was to mow a lawn, then walk about 5 miles to Circuit City to buy Maxell chrome cassettes for dubbing copies of my tapes.
Other early trades were with 37 Pink, Carl Howard, Sterile Records, CLEM, Al Margolis, F/i, Smersh, Architects Office, Croiners…all duly noted in my ledger. I also have boxes of all the mail correspondence, including flyers and crap that would get shoved into envelopes with tapes. A few years later I got a job working for the US postal service while I was in school and ended up at the same post office where my po box was…I kept up doing tapes until 1991 when I was getting less and less mail…leaving me to believe that the post office was stealing my mail.