Stephen Cornford – Hysteresis

I generally refrain from posting material of recent issue (at least outside the format of the Soundscape show itself), but it appears this album is now sold out at the source, and any distributor I know of. Not surprising as it is an edition of only 100 cassettes and Stephen Cornford is rapidly gaining much-deserved popularity (speaking relatively here, of course).

Cornford’s page describes the release as “A pair of pieces made using the SSCD_6.2 cassette delay, microphones and hollow objects”, which first made me think of Joe Colley‘s works using Piezos and various resonating objects. I was not far off, as while the structure of much of his work may be straightforward, he has a similarly intuitive grasp of texture and dynamics. Actually, I shouldn’t say straightforward as the music is as byzantine as the devices and installations used to produce it. For a better idea, watch this video:

Tape Music from Stephen Cornford on Vimeo.

There is an element of generative music in Cornford’s works – an ecosystem is created, variables are input, and the machines are then left to their own devices (no pun intended?). This is as apparent in Hysteresis as any of his installations, since even with human interaction the delay system as a whole reproduces every input in at first tangible and later increasingly intangible and mutated forms. I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the condition of hysteresis itself occurs in ferromagnetic materials – cassettes included (I have to admit I browsed this article, which made me wax philosophical for some time on how the condition of hysteresis could relate to the effect of the accretion of auditory experience on music production (but I will mercifully spare you those thoughts)).

Get it here.

Old link.

While Hysteresis is unfortunately unavailable, Cornford’s newest cassette-based work, Binatone Galaxy, has just been released on Giuseppe Ielasi‘s wonderful imprint Senufo Editions. You can find it at Senufo in Europe, and at Winds Measure Recordings in North America.