My Personal Journey through Post-punk, Art, Music and Radio
2. Hot Dog You Bet and The Loop Orchestra
I was offered the radio show on 2 MBS FM by Ian Hartley in 1981 who wanted to stop doing his radio show. I contacted Richard Fielding from Severed Heads, whom I had recently met, about sharing the new-found radio opportunity. Through our network we soon gathered some other people as there were more radio timeslots on offer after midnight. We formed the Contemporary Music Collective of 2 MBS FM. It still exists today.
I began a fortnightly midnight radio show of mainly experimental music with innovative film soundtracks, radio plays and spoken word as well. Richard had been collecting experimental music on cassette from all over the world, so he also started doing a program. This was at the beginning of 1982 when I had just started work as a structural engineer. During that year Richard and I were presenting experimental music on the radio and were talking a lot about ideas. An idea which Richard had while in Severed Heads was to form a group using reel to reel tape machines playing tape loops with various sounds recorded on the loops and mixed together to form layered slowly evolving sound pieces. We called the group of tape machines The Loop Orchestra.
I had recently met a fellow called Anthony Maher, who had a similar interest to me in experimental and electronic music and was in fact experimenting with a friend in a group called Carnage. Prior to the formation of The Loop Orchestra Richard and I had done a radio studio live to air experimental performance with two other collaborators, called The Loop Quartet. Richard, Anthony and I were invited to do the first live performance by The Loop Orchestra as a radio live to air in 1982. In 1983 we invited my friend and previous collaborator, Peter Doyle to join us and we performed the second live to air performance of The Loop Orchestra in a piece called Choralations using voice based tape loops, mainly singing voices from records. I must say we were doing some very innovative radio and experimental sound, using the radio studio as an instrument.
The radio show which I began in early 1982 was called Hot Dog You Bet, named after a flexi disc released with a New York art magazine called Smegma, an audio collage; Richard suggested the name. I was very pleased to find out in recent years that, as with Peter Doyle's show, it was very influential. I certainly spent a lot of time accruing music and information for the show. The show ran from the beginning of 1982 to the end of 1985. Over that time I also interviewed and played the chosen music of several important local experimental and electronic sound groups including SPK and Scattered Order.
Another most important person at this time was a guy called Alessio Cavallaro who was an established presenter of experimental music on 2 MBS FM. His program was called Contemporary Editions and it was on this program that The Loop Orchestra and many other experimental music groups in Sydney performed live to air. Alessio became the manager of The Loop Orchestra. We were finally given the opportunity to perform live for the very first time in 1986 when we were invited by Nick Tsoutas to perform live as part of the SoundWorks Festival of experimental music at the Performance Space in Sydney, the sound component of that year's Sydney Biennale. Since that year we have performed live about 30 times and many of those have been at Artspace in Sydney managed by Nick, our consistent supporter.