Tagged: Echoic

Sound Room XXXIV: Recording

 
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!

Setlist:

01. There
02. Bark
03. Sea
04. Absent
05. Sketch for Reel-to-Reel Tape Machine, Tape Loops and Phrase Sampler

Many thanks to Ana Gutieszca and Sébastien Piquemal.

Hypnagogue

Another (unexpected) review for Echoic from the Hypnagogue website:

Begin with a 20-year old box of cassette tapes that capture your old band’s rehearsals. Digitize them, and in doing so accidentally route them through “a jumble of digital filters and delays,” making the sounds overlap and layer. Consider that moment as your stepping-off point for a musical exploration of the mind’s short-term, echoic memory. Result: Echoic, 42 minutes of misty drones that, outside of the opening moments of the first track, bear no resemblance to their source materials. Very little memory of the original is left after Stephen Christopher Stamper is done manipulating the sounds. Instead, we are given a collection of hypnotic structures with a minimalist amount of shift and churn. In places they become large, dense things that take over your head by filling it with big amounts of sound. The first track, “There,” balances on the edge in this, but stays just to the passive side of aggressive. On the other hand, “Out,” the closing track, grows continuously into an overwhelming storm of near-white noise. In other places, as on “Original,” the sounds are sparse and ghostly. On that track, Stamper gives voices from the original tapes more presence, but keeps them just far enough out of aural focus to make you feel a little like you’re eavesdropping. “Bark” finds a half-buried rhythm to work into its ambient flow, but it’s so nicely downplayed it almost becomes subliminal. I like this track, but something in the way its elements come together causes there to be some borderline awkward sound drops, like rough tape edits, mostly late in the piece. It may be on purpose but it’s just enough of a bump to take me out of an otherwise deep ride.

Drone enthusiasts are going to find a lot to like on Echoic. It has a distinct dynamic, shifting constantly and patiently, and Stamper gets down to some very small detail work to add texture. As a background listen, the whispering quality of the sounds goes a long way toward quieting a space. It’s one of those works that will subtly get your attention in new places each time you listen. Loop this in headphones if you’re in the mood for a brain massage—well, until you get to that last track, which will most certainly wake you from your drone-fed reverie. This is well worth diving into and letting it flow.

Available from A Companion of Owls.

Neural

Another review for Echoic from the Neural website:

Sensory memory basically consists of two main categories: iconic (visual) memory and echoic (auditory) memory. The second one acts when information is processed through an in/voluntary act of listening. Auditory sensory memory is a form of short-term memory and refers to the way the brain can make an exact copy of what we hear, fixing it in the mind for a brief period (usually about 2-4 seconds). Stephen Christopher Stamper, the author of Echoic, says: “The genesis of this album came from a shoebox full of old cassette tapes I had been dragging around for well over 20 years. Containing recordings made by my friends and I, these cassettes had slowly morphed from a type of hastily scribbled musical sketchpad into a tangible form of long-term memory: fragments of thoughts and ideas encoded deep within the tape’s magnetic subconscious”. Fearful of losing these precious memories, or at the very least the means to retrieve them, he pulled his barely functioning Walkman out of storage and began the long and arduous task of digitising this irreplaceable archive. To remember verbal information in the long term it is necessary to process them relative to a precise meaning. The sound-artist has extracted and manipulated these remote pieces, scrutinizing them using his current live performance set-up, subjecting old recordings to delay and various other digital filters.The audio fragments are no longer than four seconds: this is the “echoic” memory, which overlaps with the present, forcing an investigator to re-hear familiar sounds in a whole new way. Not too theory-heavy, the work offers some lovely ambient sequences, drones and feedback loops, developed inside well-defined melodic structures. These methods are nothing new, but they are certainly not lacking in quality and technique.

Beautiful, Hypnotic & Truly Beguiling

Another review for Echoic from the Collective Zine website:

Reviewed by Captain Fidanza on Oct 4, 2014

Run for your lives it’s the return of Runningonair Music, those insane musical scientists who do some science and then make sounds that the science inspires.

The previous release from this artist featured “algorithmic compositions” in place of what a dullard such as myself would probably call “songs” or “tracks.” It’s okay though, because these fellows are working for the greater good, they’re not building a new kind of atomic bomb in their garages, they’re making these extraordinary albums so it doesn’t really matter what they call the contents.

As before and as with anything made available to the public by this extraordinary label, this is music unlike anything you’re likely to hear elsewhere, made by people who have somehow managed to meld the two, seemingly opposite worlds of science and art and create something beautiful, hypnotic and truly beguiling.

Echoic – Missing Credits!

Photo taken at The Architecture Foundation's Sounding Space: Emptyset event at Ambika P3 in London.

Photo taken by Stephen Christopher Stamper at The Architecture Foundation’s Sounding Space: Emptyset event at Ambika P3 in London.

As my new album has just been released this week by Runningonair Music, I thought I’d share the credits that didn’t fit onto the sleeve.

Sleeve Notes

The genesis of this album came from a shoebox full of old cassette tapes I had been dragging around for well over 20 years. Containing recordings made by my friends and I, these cassettes had slowly morphed from a type of hastily scribbled musical sketchpad into a tangible form of long-term memory: fragments of thoughts and ideas encoded deep within the tape’s magnetic subconscious.

Fearful of losing these precious memories, or at the very least the means to retrieve them, I pulled my barely functioning Walkman out of storage and began the long and arduous task of digitising this irreplaceable archive.

An unforeseen routing issue saw the sound of a 22-year-old living room rehearsal pass through my current live performance set-up. A jumble of digital filters and delays suddenly became my laptop’s echoic memory: audio from up to four seconds ago began to resurface, overlaying the present, forcing me to re-hear once overly-familiar sounds in an entirely new way…

Credits

There (5:01)
Ian Clementson: Bass
Martin Colborn: Guitar/Voice
Adam Hodgson: Keyboards/Voice
Anton Schubert: Guitar/Voice
Owen Shaw: Voice
Stephen Christopher Stamper: Drums/Voice

Bark (7:20)
Ian Clementson: Bass
Martin Colborn: Guitar
Stephen Christopher Stamper: Computer/Drum Machine

Original (7:00)
David Barber: Voice
Richard Barber: Voice
Ian Clementson: Voice
Martin Colborn: Voice
Adam Hodgson: Voice

Sea (4:57)
Martin Colborn: Guitar
Stephen Christopher Stamper: Computer

Absent (5:11)
Stephen Christopher Stamper: Melodica/Sampler/Sequencer/Synth

Out (11:53)
Ian Clementson: Bass
Martin Colborn: Guitar
Anton Schubert: Guitar/Vocals
Stephen Christopher Stamper: Computer/Drum Machine

All tracks re-made and re-modelled by Stephen Christopher Stamper.

Echoic

Suitably pretentious sleeve notes from my forthcoming release on Runningonair Music:

The genesis of this album came from a shoebox full of old cassette tapes I had been dragging around for well over 20 years. Containing recordings made by my friends and I, these cassettes had slowly morphed from a type of hastily scribbled musical sketchpad into a tangible form of long-term memory: fragments of thoughts and ideas encoded deep within the tape’s magnetic subconscious.

Fearful of losing these precious memories, or at the very least the means to retrieve them, I pulled my barely functioning Walkman out of storage and began the long and arduous task of digitising this irreplaceable archive.

An unforeseen routing issue saw the sound of a 22-year-old living room rehearsal pass through my current live performance set-up. A jumble of digital filters and delays suddenly became my laptop’s echoic memory: audio from up to four seconds ago began to resurface, overlaying the present, forcing me to re-hear once overly-familiar sounds in an entirely new way…

Plus an outtake from the Echoic sessions: