The music on Holland Hopson’s Tell A Gossip springs from new approaches to improvisation and sonic treatments suggested by a new instrument. Holland commissioned Jefferson Pitcher of Pitcher Guitars to build a custom electric-guitar/banjo hybrid. This new instrument allows Holland to harness traditional Appalachian banjo technique to the sustaining sounds of the electric guitar and elaborate worlds of electronic processing.
“The possibilities of the new instrument really pushed my playing. The lovely sustain of the guitar encouraged me to slow down and listen during some pieces and explore the layering of sounds for others.”
The seven instrumental works on Tell a Gossip range from contemplative modal tunes to droning textural explorations, from interlocking fingerpicked melodies to boisterous clawhammer blues. All of the pieces were recorded live without edits.
This is Holland’s sixth solo recording and first release on Tape Drift Records.
About Holland Hopson
Sound and media artist, composer and improviser, Holland Hopson records and performs on banjo and electronics. He often augments his instruments with custom-designed sensor interfaces connected to his own highly responsive, interactive computer programs.
Holland’s previous recordings include the solo releases Post & Beam, Wind Whistling in Overhead Wires, One 4 One, With Hidden Noises and Maps (Grab Rare Arts)
For Geeks Only
For Tell A Gossip Holland programmed a system of audio-responsive delays using Cycling ’74’s Max software. He used the new multichannel capabilities of Max to divide the instrument’s sound into multiple, parallel streams and process each one differently. “I love working with delays,” Holland states, “but I sometimes get tired of hearing the mechanical repetition of the loops. Max allows me to subtly morph each delay and create textures that gently evolve over time.” The effects range from synchronized, rhythmic gestures and overlapping accumulations of melody, to enveloping clouds of sound inspired by Robert Ashley’s iconoclastic piece She Was a Visitor. Ashley described his work as “intended to be understood as a form of rumor.” Hence, the title of Hopson’s collection Tell A Gossip.
Holland created the album art using custom software that simulates the motion of particles interacting with virtual gravitational fields.