Charles Rice Goff III

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For the last couple decades of the twentieth century and into the 21st, Charles Rice Goff III -- or Swami Loopynanda as he would eventually come to characterize himself -- worked on the very outermost…
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For the last couple decades of the twentieth century and into the 21st, Charles Rice Goff III -- or Swami Loopynanda as he would eventually come to characterize himself -- worked on the very outermost fringes of rock, pop, and experimental music. Through myriad guises and artistic collaborations, he espoused the theory and practiced the art of hometaping, eventually finding himself as part of an international network of like-minded indie musicians and composers who often traded original efforts back and forth amongst one another.

Goff started creating his own musical works from a young age. Fascinated by the reel-to-reel tape recorder his parents purchased in the early '60s, he began messing around, recording speaker-to-microphone his own crude efforts created on instruments (jews harp, toy drum, kazoo, etc.) that he taught himself. Except for his grammar school dalliance with clarinet, Goff eschewed formal training for the outright freedom of learning to play on his own, often by mimicking his records by ear on whatever instrument happened to be laying around. Besides teaching him the joys of experimentation, it also opened up a rapacious eclecticism and interest in sounds for their own sake.

By the late '70s, Goff had entered UC Berkeley, where he began taking part in free-form jams with other musicians, sometimes recording the results. Although a hometaping community did not exist at the time, he did begin to distribute tapes to a few friends and college radio stations, frequently receiving encouraging responses. By 1982, Goff and his closest collaborator, Steve Schaer, had developed a unique repertoire of pieces that were created to be played live into a tape-looping system, very similar to Robert Fripp and Brian Eno's "Frippertonics" technique from a few years before. The duo called themselves -ING and started performing around the San Francisco Bay area, usually at punk and rock venues. They earned great responses from audiences but lukewarm ones from club owners and record labels. It only strengthened Goff's resolve that the music, although perhaps not commercial in any sense, had a listening public. In 1985, he started working with Mark Kaswan in a new act, Disism, again using a tape-loop system but with the evolution of adding specially edited tapes to the instruments that they played into the tape loops. Goff also began hearing about other non-commercial/traditional acts like his that were autonomously making tapes to distribute via the mail or through local record stores. Disism followed suit by releasing an eponymous effort via the worldwide hometaping network that they had just discovered through little independent publications and 'zines, acquiring addresses of likeminded musicians. Goff began trading tapes with his new pen pals and subsequently uncovered just how extensive the community was and how much great experimental music was being created throughout the world under the banner of hometaping. Disism began experimenting even more with different techniques and configurations of instrumentation.

Goff continued throughout the 1980s to take part in live improvisational settings with a loose affiliation of musicians that eventually called itself Herd of the Ether Space. The group's roots actually went back to the late '70s when Goff and several of the band members were trying to establish a Zappa-esque unit. (The failed experiment did surface as Temporary KY before morphing into -ING.) He taped many of their sessions, eventually editing them down into tapes for distribution. The group had no set membership or stylistic constraint, and they created an umbrella label called Taped Rugs Productions to release Herd and Disism recordings. The band also performed live on occasion. As the Taped Rugs catalog began to broaden, Goff found himself increasingly moving tapes around the world to other musicians, radio broadcasters, and reviewers, frequently earning positive feedback. By 1989 he started creating and distributing his own solo tapes, sometimes full of songs, sometimes full of loops and sound collages. In 1996 he moved from California to Lawrence, Kansas, where he became involved in the genesis of a community radio station, broadcasting his own program, "The Deprogramming Center," to showcase the vast array of hometapers from around the world. He also devised the pseudonym Swami Loopynanda, and began playing with two local experimental musicians as Turkey Makes Me Sleepy. In addition, he became something of a spokesman for the hometaping community, writing articles and reviews for magazines about the phenomenon. He also began the task of compiling a collection of hometaped efforts and officially released a compilation of his own pieces, Bean Dip Yo Yo, on the Australian independent label Yippie Bean.