The Music Tapes has a sole permanent member, Julian Koster. A multi-instrumentalist who specializes in the musical saw, Koster led the indie rock combo Chocolate USA on two albums for Bar/None Records in the early 1990s before forming the Music Tapes in 1994. Part of the loose-knit Elephant Six musicians collective, Music Tapes is essentially a conceptual performance art project featuring elaborate stage effects and constructions that Koster would perform free of charge at fans' houses just for the asking. The group released its first album, FIRST IMAGINARY SYMPHONY FOR NOMAD, in 1999. The second, MUSIC TAPES FOR CLOUDS AND TORNADOES, didn't appear until 2008.