Masterpieces

by Hoops

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  • Masterpieces on Cassette
    Cassette + Digital Album

    Masterpieces on tape, which is how the album is best heard, according to the author. It is only $2.50, which is about how much it costs to send it the mail. Free in real life or at Hoops shows. Handmade covers (because it's freer).

    Includes unlimited streaming of Masterpieces via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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1.
03:54
2.
03:39
3.
02:42
4.
04:01
5.
07:26
6.
00:38
7.
07:20
8.
02:32
9.
04:20
10.
07:27

about

No. 9, 4, 10, 11 and 5 for piano, tape and phonograph
No. 8, 6 and 2 for twenty three strings, tape and phonograph
No. 7 for solo violin, tape and phonograph.

Recorded at the Stadium August 2015

This is New Visions No. 4

*The cassette edition has a different edit from the digital version. This is especially prevalent on Part no. 2.

credits

released December 14, 2015

There’s an old wooden rocking chair on the bare wooden floor, making odd wooden noises as the wooden runners move back and forth. There’s no one in the long sitting room, and most of the other (read, comfortable) furniture has been removed, save for a side table here, a bookcase there. It’s all covered in dust, and the two portraits on each side wall that face each other across the room are covered in cobwebs. The chair moves, the dust settles, and memories fade. There’s an old phonograph in the corner, its needle wheezing across an old record, broadcasting the ghost of a piano that once inhabited this room. The markings where the instrument indented the floor are still visible, but it was removed long ago. Ghosts beyond the piano inhabit this room, remnants of lives and moments. Everything feels old, but of a specific, particular time. A nostalgia for old photographs and daily formality permeates the walls, nostalgia not of a better time but of one more uncertain, where the future seemed murky and the past too recent to endure with any sort of encouragement. It’s nostalgia for the edge of complexity, when the simplicity of survival became ambition. The faces in the portraits gaze at one another across the room, frozen in eternal gaping unease. The rocking chair continues its pendulous march, perpetually moving through time, offering no repose, just anxiety. Ages pass. The sun never sets, its beams simply dance over dust motes through the lone window at the near end of the room. The phonograph, finally emitting string drones, slows and stops, its motor gasping its last, its frayed belt finally crumbling. Masterpieces, a finely handcrafted, obscure artifact, captures in its magnetic tape the slow crumble to ruin of human passing.
-cassette gods

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Masterpieces by local experimental musician Hoops is an elegant and monstrously captivating affair. Released by homegrown label New Visions in Electronic Music, both digitally and on cassette, Masterpieces allows one to choose their own aesthetic experience. I chose the alluring cassette—with its minimalist clear casing, Sharpie-scribbled plastic insert, and white liner notes in devious black script. The first side of the album, “Part 1: For piano, tape and phonograph,” is marked by an incredibly loud hissing sound (presumably from the tape and phonograph), which goes on to create a complex and complementary motion beneath the piano. The sounds of the piano present a dual personality. On one hand, the higher-octave keys are played in a riff-based though nursery-like style—delicate, slow and questioning. On the other hand, the lower octave keys are mashed down in heavy gothic-reminiscent chords—creating a fearsome and strict backbone for the treble end. “Part 1…” is later shaped by low percussive murmurs (similar to blips from an ultrasound) and eventually breaks down into a feedback-laden, undulating beat.

The album’s second side, “Part 2: For 23 strings, tape and phonograph,” has a more homologous tone. The individual instruments are harder to pick out, marked only in between the ringing swells and lulls of sound. “Part 2…,” though certainly more brash in its content, isn’t without an ethereal, meditative quality. When the boisterous feedback, hiss and crackle of the tape and phonograph, and sinuously vamping strings bleed together, I’m put into a sublime place, where gongs are echoing and heady incense is creating lace-like patterns in the air. And though “Part 2…” seemingly aims to defy beauty, it does so in undeniably beautiful ways. If you are looking for an album that is at once haunting and entrancing, look no further, for Hoops has created it—take it home, turn off the lights, light a candle and zone out. Or, if sitting at home isn’t quite the accompanying experience you are looking for, I suggest putting Masterpieces into your car’s tape-deck (your car does have a tape-deck, right?) and touring some poorly lit streets at night—carving paths in the darkness to an exquisite soundtrack. –Z. Smith

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about

Hoops Salt Lake City, Utah

Hoops burst onto the experimental music scene with a prolificacy matched only by his innovative approach. He composes music in the electro-acoustic—or, musique concrete—tradition, but adds an undeniably modern twist. His diverse repertoire of
compositional devices includes music for myriads of sound-making devices, and incorporates both digital and analog manipulation of audio devices.
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