The Tape-beatles began as a nearly-unknown band in Iowa City, Iowa in the mid-80's, and have remained nearly-unknown ever since. Their music, while not originally influenced by Negativland, is highly reminiscent (sp.?) of that band, and they have stated (unsurprisingly) that they feel their goals are similar.

The Tape-beatles broke up in the late '90's due to extreme physical distance between their members (one core member was living in Prague), and a new project called Public Works was formed. Once e-mail re-enabled cooperation across the ocean, the Tape-beatles again became a reality. Now the core member belonging to both projects is preparing to move to Prague for an indefinite time.

Their main creative technique is digital (previously analog) tape manipulation. Perhaps because they have a low profile and work primarily from obscure sound sources like motivational tapes, they have never been sued, unlike Negativland and John Oswald (of Plunderphonics fame).

Core members:
Lloyd Dunn
John Heck
Ralph Johnson

For more information on the Tape-beatles and similar groups, see, for example,
To update and elaborate, The Tape-beatles are currently Lloyd Dunn and John Heck. Public Works is Lloyd Dunn and Ralph Johnson. John has lived in Prague for several years now. Lloyd has just gone there (May 2001) for an indefinite amount of time. Ralph resides in the San Franicsco Bay Area. Public Works just recently released a 9-inch single (on vinyl!) called "Numbers", on the Texas label Elevator Bath.

A brief and somewhat incomplete discography:

  • A Subtle Buoyancy of Pulse (originally a cassette, 1988, re-released on CD by Staalplaat in 1998(?))
  • Music With Sound, 1989 (originally CD on Death of Vinyl, re-released by Staalplaat in 1998)
  • The Grand Delusion, 1993 (Staalplat)
  • Good Times, 2000 (Staalplat)
  • as Public Works: Matter , 1996 (Staalplaat)
previous other members include Paul Neff and Linda Morgan-Brown.

Lloyd also produced for many years the zines Photostatic and Retrofuturism, which were a text and graphics outlet for many of the same ideas (appropriation, plagiarism, and the like) that drove the Tape-beatles. Their website now contains many archived issues of this zine and lots of other information. it is located at

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