Exploratory musings for an upcoming gig in Helsinki.
Stephen Hawking loses it on the West Coast…
Here is a recording from Friday’s gig at Sound Room XXXIV, Third Space, Helsinki. The first half contains “on the hoof” reworkings of tracks from my album Echoic, while the second half is taken up with a twenty minute performance for mono reel-to-reel tape machine, two particularly mangled tape loops and phrase sampler. Enjoy!
05. Sketch for Reel-to-Reel Tape Machine, Tape Loops and Phrase Sampler
Here is what I put in my email to the rest of Gwaith Sŵn:
Here is my, um, “ambient” track (I guess “ambient” in the original Eno tape-loop sense of the word). It samples the greetings from the Voyager Golden Record and lays them over some slowed-down tape-loops taken from the London Symphony Orchestra’s version of Space Oddity…
Stephen Christopher Stamper is a British-born artist living and working in Helsinki.Through sound work, installation and performance, Stephen has explored themes of decay, memory and obsolescence, the body and its relationship to illness, the manipulation and execution of code by machine, extreme metal music culture, and the a cappella community singing tradition of Sacred Harp.
For his performance at Sound Room, Stephen will (once again) attempt to conjure the following from reel-to-reel tape machine and phrase sampler: “drone-fuzz, magnetic pulsation, vocal snippets, waking dreams, the surf’s steady pound and the hum of utility poles” (@JasonGubbels).
There are sharply plucked guitar strings and a combination of echoes — glitchy snaps, high-pitched synthesized tones, occasionally with a touch of Morse code to them, and the guitar itself playing a complementary line. This is the elegant “Sketch for Electric Guitar, Laptop & Electromagnetic Interference” by A Companion of Owls, aka Stephen Stamper of Helsinki, Finland. In a brief accompanying note he explains in slightly greater detail than the track’s title: “Sketch for single coil pickup electric guitar, monophonic pitch tracking sine wave oscillator, three randomly reversible audio buffers and electromagnetic interference.” The real beauty in the piece may be the pauses, the waiting, the time during which something is held before something else appears — it adds drama, intensity, and narrative to sounds that are quite simple unto themselves.