Dave Fuglewicz, "Orange Mist Sunrise" and "Orange Mist Sunset"
I remember being blown away by the sheer ambitious nature of these two electronic music tapes when they out in 1996. After I played it once I realized that this was Dave’s signature moment so far and the test of time has proved me right. Dave Fuglewicz has assembled a large body of work , then and now. From the earliest days in Cassette Culture to the current soundcloud/facebook postings, he has produced some of the best and most challenging electronic music by any home taper. His work at Tapegerm has also expressed a great deal of how he can manipulate others material while still sounding like his own. It is my pleasure to offer Dave’s massive two tape set, “Orange Mist Sunrise” and “Orange Mist Sunset” as a Tape Of The Month feature. Thanks for the interview as well Dave.
Keyboards, drum programs, and many types of electronic equipment make up the arsenal of Dave Fuglewicz.
Living Archive interview with Dave Fuglewicz
Tape Of The Month Sept 2012
Orange Mist Sunrise and Sunset
What made you go “big” on this one…a double tape? That ís a lot of work.
My original plan was to release one sixty minute tape around January 1996. I had started recording some tracks in September, 1995 but got sidetracked and worked on my collaboration with Dick Metcalf; “Journey To Reality” and my work with Ambient Meat and our first release; “Sonic Debris”. By the time I got back to recording solo tracks around January of 1996 I was in a different space. Everything clicked and clicked very, very well. The compositions were coming out at an amazing rate, at least for me, as compared to my previous work. By the third week of February I had finished over sixty minutes of compositions and I had to decide to stop recording and go through the process of doing a release (mastering, artwork, copying and mailing) or continue recording and ride this out. Fortunately, I chose the second continuing to compose and record. It only took about one more month and I had close to two hours of compositions completed. Then I decided to prepare and distribute the release.
Right off the bat, the electronic throbbing hammers away and it is apparent this is no new age ride. Was there some over-riding sentiment you were going for? Or was it just a bunch of pieces you had been recording and threw them together to make this huge album?
There was a loose psychedelic day-in-the-life theme I was shooting for but I didn’t hold myself to a strict compositional outline. If a piece came into existence that didn’t fit the theme, I bent the theme to make it fit. It falls in between a bunch of separate pieces thrown together and a strict story or theme.
The title alone evokes a certain psychedelic tone …kind of like an all day trip into hallucination or imagination (as you state in the online liner notes). Were these pieces improvisations that grew organically as you recorded them?
Many of them were, that was and still is one of my methods of composing. I’d lay a track down (meaning one track on my 4 track cassette), then experiment with patches and find something that fit with what I’d already recorded and play with that, all the while twiddling knobs. Then toward the other end of the method spectrum is a composition like “Dancing Bear”. The theme for this was developed from the runs I used to do to warm up my hands. But it also has a healthy dose of improvisation. I like the term you use Don, “organic improvisation”, I think it really fits for a lot of my methods.
Are there pictures you want people to get in their heads when listening to this music? Some of it reminds me of traveling on a train to the outer reaches of imagination.
No for some and yes for others. Some examples are; in the Yes category would be “Dancing Bear”. In “Dancing Bear” I wanted to express the idea of a dancing bear, a hippie, dancing bear, groovin’ on the sounds and doing his Dead Dance. For a No song, an example would be “Silver Flow” which is loosely about a small, swift river,with silver flowing instead of water, but I’m wasn’t really shooting for that from a composition stand point and I don’t expect the sounds to trigger any internal, visual mental pictures.
How would you compare working solo as opposed to collaborating with others?
They both have their pluses and negatives to me. Most all my recorded output has been solo, of course I have total control over every aspect of a composition from how it sounds to when and how it’s released. The negatives are that I can tend to sound repetitive, comparing composition to composition, without outside suggestions. In collaboration the most positive aspect is that I get the energy and input of another person. This especially holds true in a live setting. The essence of music is contained in live performance and I’ve immensely enjoyed every live performance I’ve been involved in. The negative aspect is a lack of good communication and understanding of what I’m trying to do. And before any of my collaborators get offended I want to say this only happened a couple of times while working on one of Hal McGee’s projects for the Contact Group of Homemade Experimental, Electronic Music and Noise on Facebook. A couple of the people I worked with just didn’t get it (it being my music, what it sounds like and so on) and I also want to note that most of the people I worked with on those projects did get it.
Are you a perfectionist? How do you know when a piece is done?
Defining what you’re asking about as: one end being “it’s got to be as perfect as possible, I don’t care how long it takes” and the opposite end being “one take is all I’m going to do no matter what it sounds like”. Then I wouldn’t call myself a perfectionist but I’m definitely not at the other end of that spectrum. I’m somewhere between those points leaning towards perfection. I want my compositions and recordings to sound as good as possible but I don’t spend endless amounts of time on a piece doing a take over and over trying to make it better. I just get a feeling when a piece is done. I listen to my compositions many times as they progress and when a piece is done I usually know it. There are those occasions when that feeling comes on too late and I’ve made the piece too long.
Was there much reaction to this tape? I wouldnt necessarily call this a stylistic break from your previous work but more like a honing or focusing. And yet, it is stretched out for maximum floating effect. Logistically , how did this work? Did you go to your studio every day and say ìIím staying open to whatever hits me?
Everyone really liked the tape, some more than others. Some of the original (there were 60 copies made of the tape) recipients have reported their appreciation has grown over the years extending a significance to it in the context of independent releases. I am appreciative that they are still listening to it,
Do you remember what musical influences you were having then?
My influences haven’t changed much since I’ve started: Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Kraut Rock, Progressive Rock, all that great music that came out in the late ’60’s, like Jimi Hendrix, because I turned on to it during my teenage trigger years.
Do you often have specific ideas for pieces? For example, today Ill do a drone or lets make some rude noise or is it just plug in and see what happens?
Yeah, sometimes I’ll have specific idea of the sound I want, at least I do now. While I was recording this tape, not so much. There was a lot of experimenting going on back then. There are good points and bad points to that. On the good side, I take it as a gaining of a skill, knowing hat sound I want and how I can get it. On the negative side, there’s that loss of wonderment when a new sound is discovered. I’m not saying that doesn’t happen now, it does, just not as often.
I’ve done some double tapes myself and the amount of effort to copy them, make all the covers is enormous. Did doing this double cassette burn you out at all? Did you swear to yourself ( like I did) ìIíll never do that again?
No not really, at least to the best of my recollection. My distribution list has always been on the small side and there were about 40 copies sent out in 1996 over a period of ten months.
There is a resurgence of cassette releases, especially for electronic and experimental music. Why do you think people would want to go back to this medium? It is similar to having a fetish for vinyl?
I have no idea, maybe it’s the sound of analog and the saturation that can be done with tape. Now that is one thing I do miss about tape, the ability to use the saturating characteristics of tape to give my work a final warmth. I would make my master copying tape by running the input levels around plus two db, this gave it a tonal quality that was different than if I ran the input at zero db. I liked the final result and it just can’t be duplicated digitally. It’s not a big factor in the overall sound, it was just a little added “something”.
You seem comfortable with the changes that have evolved in recording and distributing your own music. From cassette to CD to digital you have used them all. Is there one you prefer?
I’m comfortable with the evolution of media because I understand electronics, my day job from 1976 to 1991 or 1992 was as an electronics technician. I like digital because it is so easy to do, and it can be as personal as tape or CD trading was, it’s up to the artist to make it so.
Since a physical object is no longer needed does it change the value of anything? Do you personally like having something to look at and hold when you hear music?
I used to but not so much anymore. I do like to have a physical CD or record to refer too for information but what really matters most is listening to the music. A lot of records were also works of graphic art besides the music and I do miss that.
Are you happy to be free of mailing out every release? Do you think that downloads are as substantial as a tape or CD?
I’m still mailing out my new releases to my group of friends but it is nice to know that someone doesn’t have to wait on me if they want my music. Just the other day someone commented that they used my artwork that I posted at archive.org to create their own CD and I thought that was cool. Downloads can be as substantial as physical releases if the artist provides the files needed to create a CD, even a slimline CD.
What is your take on downloading from blogs or torrents?
If a release is out of print, obscure then I don’t necessarily have a problem with it. Outside of that it gets to be a messy lot of opinions I myself have, so I usually stay away from a definitive personal answer, because I still don’t have one.
There are more women on the experimental scene now than it seemed in the early days of Cassette Culture. Why were there so few then? Any idea?
I don’t have a clue. I noticed and often wondered why also.
Have you collaborated with any women artists?
I did on a couple of short pieces for one of Hal McGee’s project.
What is the best way for people to know more about your music and get in touch?
I will say my website for future reference, right now it hasn’t been updated for over a year. I plan on overhauling it this Fall and Winter. Even though it’s outdated, it is still a good place to start. Tapegerm is also a good place to check out my music. I have a bunch of other releases on archive.org. People can email me directly at
fuglewiczd ( at ) bellsouth.net
Archive.org, and do a search on my name
All music is free at all the above sites.