Another experiment with tape loops on an old Tandberg Tape Recorder Series 15.
First fruits of my experiments with tape loops on an old Tandberg Tape Recorder Series 15.
The creator describes these six slices of ambient hum as exercises in extreme short-term memory morphing out of old cassettes. The record label talks up microtonal possibilities and music aligned with the promise of mathematics. Neither gloss makes much immediate sense to me, so here goes: drone-fuzz, magnetic pulsation, vocal snippets, waking dreams, the surf’s steady pound and the hum of utility poles, all mainlining into the concluding and somewhat terrifying cosmic resonance that is “Out”. The wisest words ever uttered by Julian Cope came in Krautrocksampler, when he described Tangerine Dream’s Zeit thusly: “unchanging unfolding near-static barely-shifting vegetable organic-ness takes over the room and permeates the whole house”. This isn’t Zeit. But it travels the same space ways.
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This is the second album which is released on the English Runningonair Music label run by sound artist Joe Evans. Stamper is a sound artist from Newcastle who now lives in London working on sound, installations and performances.
The raw material of ‘echoic’ comes from old cassette recordings made by his friends and Stamper himself, who digitizes them and become part of his set-up using a laptop that comes to contain this echoic memory. This term is created by the German psychologist Ulric Neisser, who develops cognitive science and behavioral change to cognitive models of psychology. Refers to how the brain is able to retain an exact copy of what is listened for a few seconds.
The music on ‘Echoic’ consists of six pieces that delve into ambient and drones deploying beautiful atmospheres that invite the listener to a nice trip.
‘See’ conjure-up the ambience of Stars Of The Lid and ‘Out’ and ‘Out’ LovesLiesCrushing’s shoegaze-ambient. Beautiful.
Here’s someone who calls himself a ‘former teenage metalhead’ who likes musical extremity, but is not your standard noise boy. He is from Newcastle and lives in London where he mainly does sound work, installations and performances exploring acoustic phenomena and in 2012 he released ‘Begin Anywhere’ (see Vital Weekly 820), also on Runningonair Music. Now we have some more information, also on the music itself. Apparently the six pieces here originate from a box of old cassettes, which he still drags around, and now found a place in his set-up, which is ‘a jumble of digital filters and delays suddenly became my laptop’s echoic memory’, with credit to Ulric Neisser, ‘a significant figure in the development of cognitive science, echoic memory, or auditory sensory memory, is part of the short-term memory and refers to the way the brain can take exact copy of what is heard and hold it for very short periods, roughly two to four seconds’. These six pieces are densely layered pieces of sound – probably similar sounds overlaying and intertwining each other and creating hybrid life forms of insectoid sounds. Crawling over each other, we look through a microscope and see so much more. It’s, in other words, the work of ambient and drone, all of the more darker nature. As such Stamper may not offer something that is very new or very innovative, but I must admit I quite enjoyed these works. It was highly atmospheric, even a bit crude and raw (in ‘Out’), dark, greyish and a nice tune for a winter’s evening. My favourites where ‘Sea’ and ‘Absent’, for they seemed to have a slightly more lighter tone. If you like drones, ambient and a bit of shoegazing, then I am sure you will find pleasure in this as well. (FdW)
Here’s a rather droney album from Stephen Christopher Stamper. As I’m learning from the liner notes, the idea for the record came about by chance – Stamper was in the process of digitising some old tapes of musical ideas from two decades ago when he accidentally sent the recording through his live set-up of digital filters and delays, transforming the source material into something new.
I presume that is what is going on during these six tracks, but it’s hard to tell what the source material for these drones was much of the time. You can hear distant echoed rustles and cymbal crashes sometimes, and alien slowed-down voices. Sometimes there are slowly swelling metallic drones which envelop everything, in other places it’s softer and more textural, a gentle grumble and crunch ambience with ghostly, indistinct details, foggy like a memory.
It’s a soothing and somewhat hypnotic record. I’ve listened to it twice in the process of writing this review because I keep zoning out. Relaxing.