Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Thursday, October 21

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« Too Many MCs Not Enough Mics? Love of Diagrams Love The Hideout »

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.)

GB store
GB store

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 »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

GB store


Featured Series


Transmission on Flickr

Join the Transmission Flickr Pool.

About Transmission

Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Sarah Brooks,
Transmission staff inbox:



Transmission Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15