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Concert Thu Apr 26 2007

Art is not a mirror; art is JOSEPH HAMMER (Saturday)


This Saturday, Lampo puts the 99th notch on their collective bedpost a performance from tape-loop virtuoso Joseph Hammer, titled "Road Less Traveled." The event takes place at Odum (2116 W. Chicago) and starts at 9 p.m. Admission is $10.

Hammer is a lifelong member of the Los Angeles Free Music Society (LAFMS) and a member of projects like Solid Eye, Dinosaurs With Horns, Points of Friction, Joe + Joe and many others. His primary "axe" is a monophonic reel-to-reel tape recorder with an adjustable recording head. In a nutshell, the sounds go on the tape selectively, with parts of previous sounds being erased, parts of the new sounds added, all in a smeary, impressionistic way.

Think of your old boombox tape recorder, where you'd try to record over some stuff you taped off the radio, but you could still hear bits of the old stuff along with the new stuff. It's like that, but more controllable, and layered six, eight, or more times over that. The result sounds like a whole orchestra of tape loops, but you can look and see for yourself - only one loop is spinning, and one white-gloved hand (a genius theatrical prop, but also practical - it keeps his hand's natural oils from damaging the sensitive loop of tape) is holding it all together.

Recordings like the "Dynasty Suites" CD (Melon Expander) and its delightfully-packaged follow-up, "Dynasty Suites 2" (a 3" CDr on Banned Production) immerse the listener in a roiling sea of vocal snippets, dying orchestras, soft tones, all built slowly and gradually over time - Hammer truly understands the tools that are needed to sustain interest over a 20+ minute piece. Earlier recordings, like the "Marble Lobbies" CDr on P-Tapes, manage to utilize the same setup for a sound that is much more desolate, creaking metallic sounds creating an centerless undertow of calls and responses from long-abandoned signal beacons.

(Mr. Hammer would also like you to know that his primary musical influence is an episode of "Land of the Giants," in which the heroes used tape-loops to fend off the alien baddies. If that didn't get your attention, well, I don't know what more I can do.)

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »

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