Corset Lore is the electronic music project of Tamara Yadao, Asian-American composer/musician who began playing piano at the age of 4. She writes electronic, avant-pop in a lyrical and baroque style using Game Boys, synths and vocals.  

A Brooklynite at the beginning of the 21st century, she performed freely improvised sound with laptop-processed guitars, toys and radio transmission. She worked in Brooklyn’s conceptual art/music community either performing at or organizing improvised sound and/or chip music shows at DIY spaces and galleries. During this time, Yadao developed a fascination with writing music using vintage game console sound chips and utilizing creative approaches like repurposing hardware and software.  She liked to imagine her own purposes for things, using objects in unintended ways. Corset Lore, her chiptune project, is one of these “things”, not just a means to a genre end.  Her music deftly expresses neurodivergent worlds of idiosyncratic thought, where innovation is a coping mechanism for existential discomfort.  In part, Yadao feels her natural affinity for recycling technology is rooted in diskarte, a defining Pinoy value that embraces Filipino cultural ingenuity, seen in iconic inventions like the Jeepney bus. 

Some of Yadao’s influences include: YMO, Japan (band), Haco/After Dinner, Wendy Carlos, city pop, fantasy, science fiction and the demoscene, a computer art subculture.

Among others, she has performed her music at the Hackers on Planet Earth conference NYC, OPENSIGNAL Festival at Brown University, a main stage set at Super MAGfest, Press Start Festival at Centre Pompidou in Paris, Museum of Modern Art PS1 NYC, Eyebeam, Vector Festival, Spotify NYC, Pulsewave NYC, I/O chip music, 8static Festival and PAX East.

She is also the recipient of a Jerome Fund commissioning grant from the American Composer’s Forum and has released two chip music EPs — Corset Lore on the Philly 8static imprint and Graces and Furies with seminal NYC chip music label 8bitpeoples.

Recent and upcoming projects include original music contributions for SNES styled RPG, Twilioquest 3, Fried Tofu Records’ Remedy a benefit comp for the Asian Mental Health Collective and upcoming chip-adjacent concept record, 81 Terpsichore, in 2024.

81 Terpsichore, Corset Lore’s first full-length and loose concept album is based on a futuristic community embodied by a race to the top of a conformist food chain. Set during a non-stop mall party, the release teeters on seesaw edges: one part science fiction, social commentary, one part diary entry. This hybrid, chip-adjacent release, utilizes analog synth textures, housing fragments of lo-fi game boy sketches and vocals revealing states of ego consciousness, self-mastery, vulnerability and connection.

Upcoming shows include: Sonic Environments @ Lilypad, Boston, MA; Non-Fiction Poetry series ‘Mixed Poetics’ @ Maysles Documentary Center Harlem, NYC and Kato Sake Works, Bushwick, Brooklyn

 

Corset Lore logo by Richard Alexander Caraballo

Photo by Marjorie Becker / Chiptography.com