UK born Queensland based sound artist and composer Zane Trow is back with a new album called Why Echoes? which is out now via ROOM40. He explains: “If my time in collaboration with other artists, and live art forms, taught me anything it was that the slow fading sound fragments in echoes of particular tones and pitches, in combination, create a space in the air for an uncertain stillness.
Chattie Salaman (1919-2000) founder and artistic director of Common Stock Theatre Co-op got me working right through the 1980s. She pushed me constantly in improvisation and in composition; with communities, with actors, stage designers, and with experimental theatre writers. Chattie would say that stillness is the hardest thing to hold. When we got it right the sounds helped lead into and away from some very intense moments of the uncanny. I’ve continued to use these frequencies and modulations with an ever-evolving system of multiple echo units and delay treatments of different kinds.
Pauline Oliveros (1932-2016) said of delays “it sort of expands your sense of time” and I think the decay of an echo has an uncanny quality be it in the wild, tape or digital. After 49 years with them: good echo units are instruments in their own right; and as with any long-term friends one has to offer them an ear to understanding, well-focused conversation and love.
For the last few years being an artistic director of festivals and arts organisations full time, meant I worked with sounds … slightly, all the time … I had to work quickly and be confident enough in the base echo maze system that if A went in, B would come out. So the basic system of delays and echoes is tried and tested over many years, and it is possible to work very quickly. That said, one has to construct an initial sound that is only ever interested in being an echo.
In March 2020 I gave up arts program management completely. This has allowed me to dive more fully into sounds originally done very quickly, to listen differently and annotate them with new textures and recontextualise them against one another … Why Echoes? Is where a collection of these resolutions reside.“