Chicago solo debut. Wearing a white glove, Joseph Hammer uses computerized sources abstracted by hand with tape loops on vintage magnetic audio gear. Extended, gorgeous plunderphonics. Here, he premieres his latest work, Road Less Traveled.
Hammer says a primary musical influence was an episode of the late 60s TV program Land of the Giants, in which astronauts used tape loops to thwart alien tyrants. Makes sense as his formative experience—he also was a member of LAFMS (Los Angeles Free Music Society), the screwball fringe collective of the mid 70s-80s.
Hammer’s instrument is a high fidelity, full track mono analog tape recorder. He uses a series of real-time mechanical interventions to transform and layer the source material. By physically manipulating the degree of exposure the tape has to an erase head, he varies the layers of old and new information on the loop of magnetic tape. He also manipulates the surface region used for the recording to create a discrete multi-track composition. Because he is accessing the very guts of the machine, its moving parts are also fair game for his record/playback permutations.
In various collaborations, solo, and as a founding member of Points of Friction, Dinosaurs with Horns and the trio Solid Eye, Joseph Hammer (b.1959, Hollywood, Calif.) has performed widely and been an influential contributor to the Los Angeles underground music scene since the early 1980s, including as part of LAFMS (Los Angeles Free Music Society), the fringe collective of the mid 70s-80s. His practice draws on the complexities of the process of listening and playing, using music as it influences our notion of time, memory and intimacy as the basis for improvisation and abstraction.