Sándor Szabó

Performing artist, Composer, Music researcher

Untitled Document

Echolocation Trilogy

Echolocation I - Sacred Spaces

Echolocation I was born as a result of extended musical and acoustic experiments between 1997 and 1999. This period coincided with my software developing works at TC Electronic. In my experiments, I intended to apply the psycho-acoustic specialties of human hearing for artistic creation. The experiments extended to the aural and spatial properties of sound in the context of working of consciousness. In this empiric cognition, new possibilities were available for artistic expression, so the original experimental recordings had been used for a new music album. The title of the album was inspired by an article about the orientation by sound called echolocation. According to the article, somewhere there is a tribe living in an incalculably intricate rocky place which utilizes sound for physical orientation. When at night they move to another place, they use percussion instruments to generate sound impulses for scanning the surrounding space. The returning reflections enable them to know where they are at that moment, just like the bats using ultrasonic waves for orientation. During studying the recordings made with experimental purposes, I had the idea to make a music album consciously applying a space simulator and other effect processors in the music. I invited Balázs Major, percussionist, and Zoltán Lantos, violinist, for a few tracks. I went on with the experiments but with the clear concept of creating an artistic music album utilizing the results of my experiments. The conception is based on two main elements: playing overdubbed layers on processed electric guitars, and illustrating the voices in different simulated space layers. From this point, the illustration in the sound space became an artistic sound-aesthetical question. The album Echolocation I was released in 1999 by Tandem Records in Hungary.

Echolocation II - Hymn to the Earth

Right after the release of Echolocation I, I started to work on the next album in this series. I imagined music without grooves which completely overwhelmed the modern electronic music. Instead always repeating grooves and sounds with no function, I wanted to use silence as a canvas for the sound to start to draw and paint with the sounds where everything can be heard with a determined function. I imagined as the music takes off its worn clothes and its bare beauty appears with previously unheard details. On this album, I also used space simulators, harmonizers, and other effects to make a sound which helps our consciousness to soar freely above the unknown soundscapes through the inner time dimensions of the music.
Using effect processors based on time delay we can make contact between past and future in the present so that we feed back the event happening in the present to the future which recalls the past in the present. Guitar voices woven into each other; sounds in different space and time layers. I placed the shifted time layers of improvised musical events so that they depend on each other. These layers all together make a particular rhythmical organic texture.
The recordings remained unreleased and untouched for 16 years. Meanwhile, a lot of new development happened in sound and studio technology so I had to adapt to the new possibilities. The process of making music was slow. This music is not intended to fulfill commercial requirements. In 2017, the album got its ultimate form in music and in sound. Four tracks feature the great young Hungarian guitar player Roland Heidrich. Echolocation II is intended to be only a well-heard milestone along the endless highway of music.

Echolocation III - Crossing Time

In 2017, new ideas and possibilities made me to start the third part of the Echolocation series. With this came the realization that I have begun a series which can never be completed. The Echolocation series was born with the demand of artistic illustration in the stereo sound field, conveying the emotional content of music. Everything which can be illustrated between two loudspeakers in the stereo field I tried to emphasize, while recreating the sound of reality and to go farther each time. In this album, I was contemplating the question of time, so I gave the album the subtitle of Crossing Time. Since the physical manifestation of music is rooted in time, and a piece of music has its own time, it is suitable to manipulate the sense of time of a human.
In my career, I treated the acoustic guitar as a separate world. For Echolocation III, I used acoustic guitars in electronically generated soundscapes. Featured on this album is Balázs Major’s percussion and Mark Wingfield’s electric guitar.

Echolocation Trilogy

The present age is such a transition when the CD as a medium is not economical anymore. The CD is slowly being replaced by the digital download album. The Echolocation Trilogy is being released as a digital download album to show how a sound aesthetic conception formed across the previous two decades. Echolocation Trilogy is released by the US-based Greydisc Records in 2018.

Vác, Hungary 9. June 2018.

Sándor Szabó

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