Michael Peters – Reanimating “Frippertronics”

The “Reanimating Frippertronics” project – More


I started experimenting with a “Frippertronics” setup around 1979, and used it on several live concerts. Eventually, like everyone else, I started to use the new analog, and later digital delays because they could create the same long delays without being as cumbersome and heavy as a pair of tape recorders.

The Time Lag Accumulator is a piece of music history now, and few people remember it. But a few years ago, I restored my tape machines and reanimated the “Frippertronics” delay method. I presented it at livelooping festivals (2013 in Cologne, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Time Lag Accumulator, 2014 and 2017 in Paris, and 2016 in Berlin), and at some workshops for music students.

As wonderful as digital loop boxes are, the less-than-perfect sound of tapes seems warm and organic in comparison. Some artists (such as William Basinski or Wouter van Veldhoven) even use the characteristic low fidelity properties of deteriorating tape delay as a trademark feature of their music. Also, in live situations, there is definitely something magical about the pair of rotating tape wheels – the audience loved it at my own concerts much more than I expected.

By the way, Robert Fripp thinks that what I do here is my own unique thing so he suggests I don’t call it “Frippertronics” – he hopes a new name for it will turn up sooner or later. Needless to say, I have nothing but the deepest respect for him.