Stephen Christopher Stamper – Echoic


CD – Runningonair

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.


Stephen Christopher Stamper – Echoic | Excerpts