Memorybell

Memorybell (Photo by Peter Bo Rappmund)Memorybell explores the emotional and environmental possibilities of ambient music, creating pieces that are simultaneously cinematic and intimate, evoking solitude and yearning, affliction and recovery. Debut album Obsolete, created using just a creaky grand piano and two microphones, is as concerned with exploring the spaces between notes as the notes themselves, giving each song room to breath and encouraging the ear to wander.

 

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Discography

 

Obsolete


June 2016

Obsolete is the debut album by piano minimalist Memorybell.  Exploring the emotional and environmental possibilities of ambient music, Memorybell creates pieces that are simultaneously cinematic and intimate, evoking solitude and yearning, affliction and recovery. Recorded live in a single sitting using just a creaky grand piano and two microphones, Obsolete is as concerned with exploring the spaces between notes as the notes themselves, giving each song room to breathe and encouraging the ear to wander. The percussive qualities of the piano are almost dissolved by the air surrounding each note, leaving an aching space for the tones to resonate.

 

Biography

Memorybell is the ambient project of Grant Hazard Outerbridge, a multi-instrumentalist and classically trained pianist who has been playing music for nearly 30 years. From 2003 to 2008, he played bass, keys, and occasionally sang in band The Very Hush Hush. Alternately called dream-pop, electro-pop, shoegaze and indie, TVHH released two albums, Mourir C’est Facile (2006) and Evil Milk (2008), and two EPs, Washing Songs (2003) and Sign Language (2004). They toured nationally and shared the stage with bands such as Okkervil River, Stereolab, and TV on the Radio. In 2010, under the name Grant Hazard, Outerbridge self-released Genus Euphony, a solo effort of classical piano infused with subtle electronics.

In February 2014, Outerbridge awoke in a hospital with no memory of how he had arrived. He was diagnosed with transient global amnesia, a condition that causes the brain to temporarily stop making new memories. When he returned to the piano, Outerbridge found his previous compositions sounded garish. He pared them down to their essence and, along with new, more spacious material, constructed a set of variegated and subtle songs that explore the interplay between dissonance and silence.

Grant lives with his wife and sons in Denver, CO.

News

  • Hidden Shoal in Textura’s Ten Favourite Labels of 2018 List!

    Hidden ShoalHidden Shoal is incredibly honoured to have been selected as one of Textura’s Ten Favourite Labels of 2018. Textura is, in our opinion, the premiere new music magazine and favourite of the label team for unearthing and exposing new and exciting new music. This is the second time Hidden Shoal has been selected in Textura’s best labels list and as always we are nestled against some other very special labels, all of who you should check out.

    Now for a very brief and unnecessary acceptance speech – we are nothing without our incredible roster of artists, who continually amaze, inspire and surprise us. Thank you all!

     

     

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  • Eat Your Friends: A Hidden Shoal 10th Anniversary Compilation

    Eat Your FriendsHidden Shoal is excited to end the celebration of its 10th year of existence with the new compilation album Eat Your Friends, comprising remixes and covers of Hidden Shoal artists, by Hidden Shoal artists. This freely downloadable album not only showcases the wealth of original music released through Hidden Shoal, but also the creative ingenuity and deft musical touch of the remixers and cover artists.

    From searing solar-flared adaptations to delicately reconstructed covers, deep space jam reworkings, and shimmering ambient tapestries, Eat Your Friends reimagines the Hidden Shoal discography in new and beautiful ways, playing to all the strengths of the roster’s dizzying array of talent.

    Includes remixes and covers by: Antonymes, Arc Lab, Glanko, Wayne Harriss, Liminal Drifter, Makee, Chloe March, Markus Mehr, Erik Nilsson, REW<<, Slow Dancing Society, Tin Manzano, Willem Gator, and Zealous Chang  of music by: Arc Lab, Brother Earth, Cheekbone, City of Satellites, Medard Fischer, Gilded, Glanko & Daniel Bailey, Kryshe, Memorybell, Erik Nilsson, perth, Slow Dancing Society, Tangled Star, Umpire, and Zealous Chang.

    Eat Your Friends is available now as a free download via Bandcamp and is also streamable via SoundCloud. Listen and then throw yourself into the wormhole as you explore the originals and more work by the remixers and cover artists.  For all the filmmakers, games designers and others in need of engaging music, don’t forget that all tracks in our catalogue are available for licensing (film, tv, games, compilations etc).

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  • Memorybell Interview & Live Performance on BFF.FM

    Memorybell (Photo by Peter Bo Rappmund)Check out this wonderful re-streamable interview with Grant Outerbridge (aka Memorybell) on the BFF.FM radio show Sounds In The Dark. Along with some fantastic insights into his process and approach you’ll get to hear stunning live renditions of tracks from his sublime 2016 album Obsolete.

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  • The Spaces Between: An Interview with Memorybell

    Grant Hazard OuterbridgeOn his debut album as Memorybell, Grant Hazard Outerbridge delivered an abject lesson in need versus want. Obsolete is more than a simple minimalist document, indeed it could be argued that Outerbridge’s deft touch and innate sense of time make each of its sparse notes laden with import. As if each successive strike of hammer on piano wire were the only thing in the world… until the next. So it’s no surprise that Outerbridge is as much a thinker as a “feeler” when it comes to his musical work. In this utterly engaging interview the lovely Wagner Hertzog sat down with the artist and covered everything from Marvin Gaye to transient global amnesia. A truly great read.

    Many thanks to Wagner and Grant for their time and efforts in making this happen.

    WH: You have been playing music for decades. Was the concept for Memorybell already in your mind before you started working on this music, or is it a more recent artistic project?

    GHO: Memorybell is a very recent project. I wanted to focus on ambient music following the release of Genus Euphony, but the way this album came into being was decidedly unplanned.

    I had been composing, shaping, and reshaping 20 or so songs but could never quite get them to feel the way I wanted them to. After I got out of the hospital, playing the songs was a uniquely unpleasant experience. They sounded awful to me and I had trouble remembering why I had written them in the first place. When a song felt wrong, I either threw it away completely, or focused exclusively on its essence (often just one or two chords) and explored that as granularly as I could.

    My close creative collaborator from The Very Hush Hush, Peter Bo Rappmund, had heard most of the songs in various stages of their composition. When I was able to play these new, post-amnesia versions for him he strongly urged me to release the record under a new name. The songs were so different from anything I’d ever recorded that it made sense that they be the start of a new project.

    WH: What are your main influences and sources of inspiration?

    GHO: It sounds odd, but a lot of my musical ideas come from mundane objects. There is a particularly pleasant sound that the metal vent in the roof of my house makes when it lightly rains outside. In my old neighborhood, there was an old row house whose laundry exhaust whistled beautifully whenever it was in use. I could listen to the sounds of an oscillating fan all day long.

    I enjoy sitting still and listening to the world, though it’s far too loud for me. This is one reason why I’m drawn to expansive silences. I draw an immense amount of inspiration and solace from the quiet that descends during a snowfall.

    Less esoteric and more to the point, I find the following works very influential (in no particular order):

    Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On
    Air – Moon Safari
    Billy Holiday – Solitude
    Gas – Pop
    Yo La Tengo – And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out
    Stars of the Lid – The Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid

    WH: You seem interested in exploring extreme minimalism in your music, creating a slow, surreal experience for the listener. How did you come to develop such a style?

    GHO: When I was studying classical music I was most attracted to dissonant passages. These “sour” notes and chords represented for me a warmer, more interesting way of approaching musical expression. I would sit for hours playing a single passage over and over, slow it down, and make subtle changes to it. As I grew older, I looked forward to this monastic repetition far more than completing whichever increasingly difficult piece of music I was learning.

    Starting in the early 2000s, I played bass in The Very Hush Hush. Like the piano, my method of approaching the bass has changed over the years but, even back then, I was more concerned with playing the most interesting note than playing the root. One well-placed note can heighten anticipation in ways little else can.

    My ears most want to hear what happens in the moments after a note is played before it dissolves into silence. That tension is powerful and shaping that tension is my primary concern.

    WH: In terms of your creative processes, are you driven by your technique, or do you let your emotions drive your composing and arranging? Or is it a combination of both?

    GHO: Emotion is the driving force behind my music.

    To my ears, technique is only as useful as one’s ability to use it to express emotion. Technique for its own sake does little for me.  It’s not that I don’t admire accomplished musicians, I do; I fully understand the time and dedication it takes to become an accomplished musician. But when technique becomes the focal point music becomes hollow. There is a whole spectrum of emotional experiences to be had while listening to music and feeling awe at someone’s ability is only one.

    When I compose a new song, I try to keep my mind blank. Turn off my brain. Focus on what I’m feeling and sensing. What do I hear? What do I smell? Taste? I often begin with my eyes closed and open them once something interesting has presented itself. From there, repetition and manipulation of time and silence. How best to amplify what I’m feeling in the moment? What is the simplest way to say what needs to be said?

    WH: Is there is a special place or time that you write music?

    GHO: There used to be, but now I’m restricted to when my toddler son is either asleep or out of the house. Otherwise, he’ll come bounding from wherever he is and start mashing the keys. Adorable and amazing, but not conducive to thoughtful creation. I’m lucky if I get an uninterrupted chunk of 20 minutes per day.

    Obsolete Recording Sessions (Dallas)Place is an interesting problem with the piano. You’re stuck wherever the piano is. My work around for this used to be scribbling ideas in a notebook, studying them when I couldn’t be at a piano, etc. Now, unless I’m particularly inspired and one of my 20-minute mini-sessions produces something more-or-less fully formed, I’ll hold a strong phrase in my mind for as long as I have to until I have time to explore it at the piano.

    This results in a kind of fermentation. The most emotive part of an idea tends to become stronger, while the less necessary, more ancillary bits float off. This won’t always be my song writing process but, considering my 2 year-old just had a baby brother, I don’t see it changing in the near future.

    WH: How do you work on individual songs? Do they keep evolving as you experiment with them over time, or do you find it quick and easy to finish each piece?

    GHO: It depends on the song. Many songs are vague and gauzy at the start and I have to sit with them for a while before they reveal themselves to me. I try not to force anything onto them, just wait for whatever emotion it was that drove me to sit down at the piano to come out. Sometimes this process is quick, other times it is glacial. It took 14 years for ‘Somnolent’ to become what it is.

    That’s an aberrant example, though. Most songs take on average 2-3 years before I finally leave them be. So, at any given time, the batch of songs I’m working on tend to have been initially conceived several years previous.

    Occasionally, a song will emerge and I can’t figure out how to improve it. Those are always happy moments, though infrequent. I quite enjoy the long, slow evolution of a song. When one is finished, it may sound quite unlike it did in its infancy.

    WH: In regards to your artistic process, are you a perfectionist, or more of a relaxed creator?

    GHO: A complete and utter perfectionist, though I’m trying to let that go. My compromise is to direct my perfectionist tendencies toward my process rather than toward my music, to stay dedicated to giving the songs room to breathe, to grow, to change. Rather than try to force the songs to be something I want them to be, I allow them to be what they are. Even if I don’t like the end result, being true to the process feels like being true to my nature.

    The most important part of my process is letting go. Ego can be a useful tool, in crafting personae, in pushing yourself, but I find it a barrier to making meaningful music. My best songwriting comes after I’ve processed whatever drove me to write a song in the first place. What remains after the dust settles.

    WH: Silence, and the ambiguity it evokes, plays an important role in your music. Is this aspect of your music planned, or do you improvise?

    GHO: Very much planned, as much as one can plan silence.  I can never predict the affect any given length of silence will have, so I conduct tests. Do I add a single beat here? A measure of seven? Thirteen? It’s a little like introducing oneself to a strange animal.

    As consumers of popular music our ears have been trained to expect predictability in regards to rhythm. 4/4 and 3/4 dominate the sonic landscape. The ghost of the Western classical music tradition is persistent. The purposeful shirking of predictable time signatures is a good thing but if not approached carefully it can estrange the casual listener.

    When I shape the silence in my songs, I pay close attention to what my ears want. Then I give them something else. Unusual time signatures often do the trick, but I try not to employ them for their own sake. Sometimes a standard time signature alternated with an irregular or changing amount of silence has a magical effect. The ultimate test is if someone can’t tell that a song is in 17/8 or 13/4.

    The ideal is to make the unexpected feel natural.

    WH: Can you tell us about your experience of transient global amnesia and how it influenced the creation of this album.

    GHO: In late February of 2014 my first son was two weeks old. He was curled up with my wife on the couch and I left to meet up with some friends. We had a couple of beers and I made my way home. It was lightly snowing.

    I walked in the house and my wife and son were still curled up on the couch. I took my son upstairs, swaddled him and put him in his crib, and put on my headphones.

    Obsolete Recording Sessions (Dallas)I woke up in a hospital roughly ten hours later on a gurney, obscenely bright fluorescent lights flashing over my face. I saw my wife and asked, “What am I doing here?” She patiently recounted the story of how I had come into our bedroom saying I couldn’t remember where I had been, what I had done, the people I had been with; how she had called the police, to whom I had apparently been quite charming and funny, who in turn summoned an ambulance that brought me to the hospital.

    My poor wife told me this story over forty times before it stuck. Tests were run; EKGs, MRIs, CAT scans, toxicology screens. At one point, a group of medical students with clipboards surrounded my bed.

    Throughout it all, my wife sat holding our absurdly small son wondering if I’d had some sort of stroke.

    I was diagnosed with Transient Global Amnesia, which is, maddeningly, a diagnosis by exclusion. Once everything else has been ruled out, that’s what you get, a rare condition about which little is known. Extreme stress, sleep deprivation, and excessive physical exertion are thought to be the triggers.

    The effect was as if a bomb had gone off in my brain. All memories months into the past and future were turned to glass.

    The tests showed an increased sensitivity to light and sound. This proved problematic with a small baby at the house. I was given to carrying earplugs and noise-cancelling headphones with me for diaper changes. Going outside without sunglasses triggered a migraine. A screaming police siren triggered a migraine. A teakettle triggered a migraine. A loud sneeze triggered a migraine.

    I quit my job. The thought of trudging through that soulless routine coupled with my new condition caused me so much anxiety I couldn’t function.

    I was home all the time. When my son was sleeping, I had to do something. When my son was at day care, I had to do something. When I couldn’t sleep, I had to do something. I turned to the piano.

    The songs I had been working on for the previous few years sounded like boxes of broken glass. Some of them literally gave me headaches. To heal, I picked them apart, focused on the parts that were soothing, that felt right, and threw out what remained. I reshaped them, let them ring out into silence, and created something new.

    WH: Did you know beforehand that you were writing songs specifically for this album, or did you choose from songs that had already been written?

    GHO: I chose from songs I had previously written, but completely altered them, post-amnesia. I had a concept for an album I had been pursuing before I awoke in the hospital. That’s the raw material to which I returned

    At the time, it was important to me to force the issue, to make the collection of songs work even if they felt wrong. That’s when I really started focusing on silence. I threw out the superfluous, ornamental bits and chiseled the songs to their core. Then I wrapped them in silence.

    WH: The title of the album, Obsolete, is very evocative. How did you settle on this title, and what does it mean to you?

    GHO: I really don’t like titling my own songs. When I do, they’re almost always non-sequiturs. I reached out to an old friend, gave him the raw, un-mastered tracks and asked him to title the songs. He suggested the title track be named “Requiem for Obsolete Technology.” A great song name, to be sure, but I felt single word song titles were more apropos, given my editing method and interest in silence.

    ObsoleteIn general, I often feel like I was born a couple hundred years too late. The world is the loudest it has ever been, and for someone who craves quiet it is a struggle to remain focused amongst the head-splitting sounds of squealing brakes, screaming people, crackling electric lines, and wailing sirens. I like to imagine what the world must have sounded like before the industrial revolution.

    Actually finding a quiet place is becoming more difficult. I live in Denver, Colorado and the legalization of marijuana, along with our city’s policy of being as inviting as possible for new businesses, has created an immense influx of people. City streets are jammed beyond capacity, and what used to be an easy drive into the mountains has become an arduous chore. Hiking trails are as clogged as motorways. Landmarks are being vandalized.

    Quiet places are vanishing. So I create them in music.

    WH: Did you work on the songs for Obsolete individually or collectively? The titles of the songs suggest a link between them.

    GHO: The songs I ended up including on Obsolete were originally written at completely different times. The only thing they had in common was the fact they were the ones I had been drawn to in the years and months leading up to my amnesia. When I slowed them down and picked them apart after my return from the hospital, I noticed new patterns and arranged their order on the album accordingly. I rarely worked on one song at a time. I typically shaped the whole set of songs at once. If I made a severe edit on one, it often let to a complementary edit on another.

    I touched on this earlier, but I find naming my own songs difficult. My natural inclination is to be abstract and sarcastic with names, but I felt it would be a disservice to the honest and existential nature of these songs to name them so. The titles of the songs are representative of various themes that were woven through my life when I reworked them. Koan is inspired by the Richard Brautigan poem, “Karma Repair Kit, Parts 1-4.” Ambulator is in reference to the Max Frisch novel, Man in the Holocene.

    Both of these speak to me on a level that is difficult to articulate. “Karma Repair Kit” is a reminder to be still and accepting. Not of anything in particular, but of everything in general. Man in the Holocene is a meditation on loneliness and struck a note within me during my recovery, despite the fact I read it a very long time ago; it just bubbled up out of my mind.

    The other song titles are fairly literal and loosely based on my friend’s suggestions. 2014 was unequivocally the worst year of my life. The amnesia wasn’t even the most difficult struggle, but I’m not going to elaborate. The songs are my way of processing what happened.

    WH: What’s the main intent behind your music? What are you trying to communicate to your listeners?

    GHO: That sitting still, especially when it is uncomfortable, is important; that the act of listening, whether it’s active or passive, is important. It slows down your thoughts, so you can spend time with them. Depending on your type of mind or life situation, that may not be desirable, but then it is all the more impactful.

    Modern city life is fast and loud. We run around from place to place, from work to home, from the gym to the grocery store, checking our watches or phones, making sure we don’t miss appointments; little of that matters to our internal lives. We focus so intently on what we have to do that we rarely stop to think what we would like to do. Or what we should do, not only for our own happiness but also for our own mental health.

    Slow down and take a nap. Memorybell can help.

    WH: Do you have a lot of unreleased songs?

    GHO: I rarely make a proper recording until I’m satisfied that I have a cohesive collection of songs. I have a few songs that didn’t make the cut for Obsolete, but if I do anything with them, I’ll probably chop them up and use parts of them in another project. I’ve reworked one song that didn’t fit the way I wished it had for Obsolete and will most likely include it on the next record.

    I don’t have a lot of unreleased material but I do, however, have a lot of unrecorded material. I don’t write any musical ideas down, I just run the songs through my head over and over. I have several albums worth of songs in various stages of completion floating in my brain. Sometimes I’ll carry a song around for years before I return to it. One song I’ve been working on for 19 years and it still hasn’t fully revealed its mysteries to me. My approach is that if something is worth recording, I’ll remember it. Thankfully, the part of my brain that stores my musical ideas seems largely unaffected by my amnesia.

    WH: Are you currently working on something? What can we expect next from Memorybell?

    GHO: I’ve had my fill of reworking old material for the moment. I’m moving forward with my new approach and writing an album from scratch. It’s very freeing, and my process has quickened; I’ve let go of thinking of any given idea as precious, as worthy of meticulous appreciation. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s gone. If some essence of it sticks around, then it has merit and will find a place in some different form. It’s a looser and faster method than I’ve ever used before. I’m halfway done with the follow-up to Obsolete. The songs still breathe slowly and are still melodic, but it’s somehow…different.

    MemorybellMy main obstacle is lack of time. I have a 2 year-old and a newborn at home (both boys) and, unlike when I wrote Obsolete, I am now gainfully employed. My time to write is limited to naptime, or those rare occasions when I’m home alone. I’m finding it helps, actually. I carry around the songs in my head, tweak them, try different arrangements, and then when I finally have the time to play them and test my ideas out, the good ideas tend to present themselves more or less immediately.

    Whatever comes next will be looser and more organic.

    Memorybell’s debut album Obsolete is available now through Hidden Shoal. Head to the artist’s profile for all links and more info.

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  • Memorybell’s “Obsolete” Live Album Launch

    Grant Hazard OuterbridgeMemorybell‘s stunning Obsolete will be officially launched next week (1st September) at Syntax Physic Opera, Denver, Colorado. Anyone in or near Denver must get down to this. Head to the event’s Facebook page for more detail.

    Here’s the official word from Syntax,

    Classically-trained pianist Grant Outerbridge of the late, great Denver band The Very Hush Hush performs Memorybell’s debut album “Obsolete’ in it’s entirety. Helicopter Copter’s sublime “Whisper Down the Lane” will be screened beforehand. It will be an evening of ambient instrumentalism, great food and drinks, and made all the better if you come help celebrate.

    Read more about Memorybell and stream/buy Obsolete here.

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  • Memorybell “Obsolete” Released

    Obsolete Cover ArtHidden Shoal is proud to announce the release of Obsolete, the debut album by piano minimalist Memorybell, the ambient project of Grant Hazard Outerbridge. In February 2014, Outerbridge awoke in a hospital with no memory of how he had arrived. He was diagnosed with transient global amnesia, a condition that causes the brain to temporarily stop making new memories. When he returned to the piano, Outerbridge found his previous compositions sounded garish. He pared them down to their essence and, along with new, more spacious material, constructed a set of variegated and subtle songs that explore the interplay between dissonance and silence. Recorded live in a single sitting using just a creaky grand piano and two microphones, Obsolete is as concerned with exploring the spaces between notes as the notes themselves, giving each song room to breathe and encouraging the ear to wander. The percussive qualities of the piano are almost dissolved by the air surrounding each note, leaving an aching space for the tones to resonate.

    Obsolete is available now via the Memorybell Bandcamp and all good 3rd party digital stores and streaming services. Obsolete will be launched at a special show in Denver on September 1st. More details on this closer to the date.

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  • “Still” – A Mixtape Curated by Memorybell

    StillWith an album due out next month that is an abject lesson in understanding the spaces between things, Grant Hazard Outerbridge (aka Memorybell) is well poised to present this beautiful mixtape, aptly entitled Still. Lets hand it over to the man himself to explain.

    “Society these days is in such a rush. We bounce from one thing to the next, often, it seems, with little idea of where we’re going. As an artist I attempt to fold into my process a slowing down, preferably to a stasis where blurred notes and ideas become suspended, frozen in air where I can analyze and manipulate them. The songs included here for me represent stillness in many of its forms: sitting with discomfort, ennui, idleness, sadness, relief, and release. Once distraction is removed, we’re left with our bodies and thoughts which, in turn, can lead us to some unexpected realizations.”Grant Hazard Outerbridge (Memorybell)

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  • Hidden Shoal is 10!

    Hidden ShoalHidden Shoal is extremely excited to be celebrating its 10th birthday this month. It’s hard to believe that back in May 2006, Perth-based musicians Cam Merton, Stuart Medley and Malcolm Riddoch began Hidden Shoal Recordings as a means to put out releases by local artists. Tim Clarke, based in Melbourne, joined the team in 2007. Hidden Shoal has since gone on to become a much-loved independent label and publisher, releasing over 120 albums from a diverse range of international artists and licensing music from its catalogue across film, tv, web and compilation.

    Stay tuned for special anniversary announcements in the coming months!

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  • New Memorybell Single, Forthcoming Album

    Grant Hazard OuterbridgeHidden Shoal is proud to announce the release of ‘Somnolent’ by piano minimalist Memorybell, taken from his debut album Obsolete. Memorybell is the ambient project of Grant Hazard Outerbridge, who in February 2014 awoke in a hospital with no memory of how he had arrived. He was diagnosed with transient global amnesia, a condition that causes the brain to temporarily stop making new memories. When he returned to the piano, Outerbridge found his previous compositions sounded garish. He pared them down to their essence and, along with new, more spacious material, constructed a set of variegated and subtle songs that explore the interplay between dissonance and silence. Recorded live in a single sitting using just a creaky grand piano and two microphones, Obsolete is as concerned with exploring the spaces between notes as the notes themselves, giving each song room to breathe and encouraging the ear to wander. The percussive qualities of the piano are almost dissolved by the air surrounding each note, leaving an aching space for the tones to resonate.

    ‘Somnolent’ is available now to stream and download. Obsolete will see release on the 2nd of June.

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  • Memorybell Signs to Hidden Shoal

    Memorybell (Photo by Peter Bo Rappmund)Hidden Shoal is proud to announce the signing of the brilliant Colorado based artist Memorybell to it’s roster of artists. Memorybell is the ambient project of Grant Hazard Outerbridge, a multi-instrumentalist and classically trained pianist who has been playing music for nearly 30 years. In February 2014, Outerbridge awoke in a hospital with no memory of how he had arrived. He was diagnosed with transient global amnesia, a condition that causes the brain to temporarily stop making new memories. When he returned to the piano, Outerbridge found his previous compositions sounded garish. He pared them down to their essence and, along with new, more spacious material, constructed a set of variegated and subtle songs that explore the interplay between dissonance and silence. The result is the debut Memorybell album Obsolete, created using just a creaky grand piano and two microphones, which is as concerned with exploring the spaces between notes as the notes themselves, giving each song room to breath and encouraging the ear to wander.

    Obsolete will see release through Hidden Shoal on the 2nd June 2016 with the first taste of the album dropping mid-April. This amazing collection of compositions is also now available as part of the Hidden Shoal licensing catalogue. Read more on Memorybell here.

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Reviews

  • “Eat Your Friends” Compilation Reviewed at DOA

    “Over almost a decade, Hidden Shoal records developed a reputation as a consistently innovative and experimental music label, giving to us music of remarkable qualities whether it was the instrumental excursions of Gilded, the blissed-out indie of My Majestic Star, the electronica of Marcus Mehr, the alt.folk stylings of Kramies – the HSR list of significant talents was a lengthy one. I say was, as in 2014 or thereabouts, the Hidden Shoal label underwent a reorganisation of sorts, and it began to seem that one of the more influential Australian record labels of the recent past was itself going into hiding. Perhaps so, although only to return refreshed, renewed, invigorated and with its varying artistic visions intact – the Eat Your Friends compilation proves that the Hidden Shoal label is properly with us again.

    One thing I’ve found when reviewing compilations is that not infrequently, when I put them into my music players, the tracks separate instead of remaining in their album folder, and that has happened with my copy of Eat Your Friends, encouraging me to view each of the tracks as a single release rather than view the album itself as a cohesive whole. Then there’s the fact that only some of its contributors are already known to me and so, ditching some of my preconceptions about what it’s going to sound like, I began listening to the 11 tracks in a random sequence, and prepared for the unexpected.

    Firstly, there’s singer/songwriter Erik Nilsson’s “Moksha Can Wait”, a song which electronic composer Marcus Mehr has taken and adapted to his subtly developed production sound, a track that begins almost inaudibly and builds to a staggering crescendo of soaring, roaring electronic sound and with Nilsson’s guitar and piano providing a counterpoint to Mehr’s swirling atmospherics. The ambient chill of City Of Satellites is given an added gloss by Tim Manzano, although I’m not so sure what he’s actually done with the track – it does sound a lot like the City Of Satellites I know from their Machine Is My Animal album, although as the track progresses and the rhythm and bass begin to disintegrate into a dubby conclusion it seems more apparent where Manzano has left his mark. Arc Lab’s “Through The Burning Glass” is remixed by Glanko, beginning with a club-level bassline before levelling into a noir tinged synth epic. And just when you thought the tracks on Eat Your Friends were entirely instrumentals, Rew perform a cover version of Umpire’s “Green Light District” and they do it with a vocal, alongside the strings and crashing cymbals and haltingly uncertain rhythms, a highlight of an album each of whose tracks is in one or another way remarkable.”

    DOA

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  • Memorybell’s “Obsolete” Reviewed at Headphone Commute

    “It’s been a while since I’ve visited the archives of Australian Hidden Shoal label. And, as usual with any label taking curation seriously, it’s easy to pick up the catalog and return to where one’s left off. This time, the imprint releases an album by a classically trained pianist, Grant Hazard Outerbridge, a 40-minute exploration of minimalism, caught in between the ringing out notes. It is this nearly simplistic study of reductionist pianism that has me interested in listening to Obsolete over and over again – after all, I’ve been creating such pieces myself.

    Delicate keys are at the forefront of each short vignette. In fact, it is only the keys that one hears, plus the ambient sounds of the player picked up by the microphones. Perhaps what one must listen to is not the chords, but the space between the chords, where the percussive instruments changes to a nearly resonating stretch of sound, left slowly to decay into the silence and the void. It’s like a moment between thoughts, when one finds clarity for the first time, as dust of all the daily noise finally settles down before it’s shaken up again. The solo piano recording becomes an indispensable accompaniment to the morning meditation, a soundtrack to solitude and score for introspection. And Obsolete comes with a story:

    “In February 2014, Outerbridge awoke in a hospital with no memory of how he had arrived. He was diagnosed with transient global amnesia, a condition that causes the brain to temporarily stop making new memories. When he returned to the piano, Outerbridge found his previous compositions sounded garish. He pared them down to their essence and, along with new, more spacious material, constructed a set of variegated and subtle songs that explore the interplay between dissonance and silence.”

    This acoustic ambiance is essential to anyone searching for an aural retreat from an over-compressed world of packaged sound. Like music for the airports, designed to calm and soothe the nervous soul, Obsolete blankets the mind with nominal sounds, leaving the heart to fill out the rest. [Don’t let the cover of the album turn you away!] Dig deeper through Outerbridge’s catalog, and you shall find another album, Genus Euphony, released in 2010. Highly recommended for fans of solo piano and intersected genres, where Brian Eno meets Satie.”

    Headphone Commute

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  • Memorybell “Obsolete” Reviewed at Music Won’t Save You

    [Translated from the original Italian via Google.]

    An old piano and two microphones: it is enough, now, for musicians to navigate and young experimenters to create rich sound environments of a variety of different suggestions. In the case of Grant Hazard Outerbridge the concrete elaboration of the formula came to the valley of a thirty-year career and after an episode of transient amnesia, that moved him to reconsider his process of composition in an extremely minimal sense.

    From what has taken shape the Memorybell project, alias under which the artist Colorado presents eight tracks of “Obsolete”, populated by resonant harmonies narcoleptic in a muffled and dusty space, which embody a well hauntologia piano bare-bones.

    Music Won’t Save You

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  • Memorybell “Obsolete” Reviewed at Tomatrax

    “This is the debut album from Memorybell, the ambient project of Grant Hazard Outerbridge. The album was recorded live in a single sitting using just a creaky grand piano and two microphones, and focuses on the silence between the musical notes as much as the notes themselves.

    This is quite an unusual album that takes experimentation to a new extreme. The music is all about feelings and atmosphere and makes use of the “empty” spaces in the sound as well as the sounds. With nothing but a piano, and only a few simple notes played at any one time, this album is as minimalist as it gets but somehow the spaced out simple notes work to create a dark but intriguing soundscape. This is very much an album for the ambient music lovers out there, if you need to hear tunes and activity this might not be for you.

    The album opens with the two minute and very minimalist Koan. Moving slowly with one key played at a time it sets the dark scene of the album. ‘Doldrums’ sees the activity begun to build, if only in a glacial sense. The song consists of short and slow groups of notes, allowing the feeling of both the sounds and the silence to come through and be felt. ‘Ambulator’ takes things down a notch, with simple repetitive notes slowly working their way through.

    ‘Somnolent’ sees the lower keys getting a workout to create a deeper and darker sound. The title track is perhaps the most active track on the record, with the notes coming together and the silences closing in a melody starts to emerge. ‘Entropy’ sees the gaps almost disappear with a slow tune rolling along. The closing track, ‘Dust’, takes things back to the minimalist sound with a simple low key being played between chunks of silence.
    It has to be said that this is an extremely experimental and unconventional record. As a result there are many listeners to whom this will not be accessible. However if you are a fan of ambient and minimalist music there is something quite beautiful to be found here.”

    Tomatrax

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  • Memorybell “Obsolete” Reviewed at Exclaim!

    “While much has been made about Jean-Michel Blais’ excellent solo piano debut on Arts & Crafts this year, another equally captivating record has unduly received far less attention. Grant Hazard Outerbridge’s debut as Memorybell is ambient minimalist piano that is much less involved than Blais’ — in fact, Blais’ lovely album sounds positively baroque next to Memorybell’s effortless calm.

    For over a decade, Outerbridge has been a touring indie musician and classical composer, but in 2014, he was diagnosed with transient global amnesia, a condition that causes the brain to temporarily stop making new memories. His old compositions sounded “garish” to him, so he began work on much more sparse, gossamer compositions using one creaky piano and two microphones.

    Memorybell channels the wandering and simplicity-loving spirits of Erik Satie, Brian Eno and William Basinski using short figures with so much space between each phrase that you almost forget the notes before were played. Outerbridge will play a few notes, then let them hang in emptiness for a few whole seconds before continuing the melodic idea.

    While it’s an interesting way to play with musical memory, this much silence requires a lot of patience, or a willingness to let one’s focus drift. Fans of Eno or Grouper will be pleased with another addition to their playlists for meditation, studying or falling asleep. Some may find the lack of memorable tune or beat frustrating, but those with the right inclination will appreciate the contemplative spaces between notes.”

    Exclaim!

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  • Memorybell “Obsolete” Reviewed at Turtle Tempo

    “What if we told you a person woke up in a hospital with absolutely no recollection of his arrival there is on his way to becoming a sensation? Okay, how about this: a person diagnosed with transient global amnesia, a condition causing sudden memory loss and the person to lose the ability to form new memories and recall recent events, is dedicating his time to creating the most beautiful ambient tracks you will ever hear.

    Sounds too good to be true? See for yourself.

    Grant Hazard Outerbridge has created this project under the name “Memorybell“, releasing his album “Obsolete“. His music will be able to instill feelings and deep emotions in you that you weren’t expecting. It’s so incredible to see that such beautiful art can be created using only a grand piano. Memorybell’s minimalist ambience makes you appreciate the silence in every pause to allow you the chance to absorb the intense feeling in his sound.”

    Turtle Tempo

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  • Memorybell “Obsolete” Reviewed at Anthem

    “Memorybell is the ambient project of Grant Hazard Outerbridge, a multi-instrumentalist and classically trained pianist who has been playing music for nearly three decades. From 2003 to 2008, he played bass, keys, and occasionally sang in band The Very Hush Hush, who toured nationally and shared the stage with bands such as Okkervil River, Stereolab, and TV on the Radio. In 2010, under the name Grant Hazard, Outerbridge self-released ‘Genus Euphony’, a solo effort of classical piano infused with subtle electronics.

    In February 2014, Outerbridge awoke in a hospital with no memory of how he had arrived. He was diagnosed with transient global amnesia, a condition that causes the brain to temporarily stop making new memories. When he returned to the piano, Outerbridge found his previous compositions sounded garish. He pared them down to their essence and, along with new, more spacious material, constructed a set of variegated and subtle songs that explore the interplay between dissonance and silence.

    Carrying his newfound sound forward, Outerbridge adopted the new moniker of Memorybell, creating a new musical project that explores the emotional and environmental possibilities of ambient music, creating pieces that are simultaneously cinematic and intimate, evoking solitude and yearning, affliction and recovery.

    After landing in the hands of Hidden Shoal, an Australia-based independent music label, Outerbridge put in motion his new album ‘Obsolete’, an ambient recording of immense potential. Recorded live in a single sitting using only a creaky grand piano and two microphones, ‘Obsolete’ holds a rare, solitary sound and lingering brilliance that most ambient pieces can only dream of.

    It’s spacious, with songs often composed of just a few hallowed notes, but what Outerbridge creates from the silence between is astonishing. Deeply affecting and instantly captivating, the album captures Outerbridge’s world in vivid sound and tantalising composition. 8/10″

    Anthem Reviews

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  • Memorybell ‘Somnolent’ Reviewed at Luna Kafe

    “Memorybell is the ambient project of piano minimalist Grant Hazard Outerbridge of Denver, Colorado. “Somnolent” is a streamed taster off his debut album, Obsolete which will appear in early June (due out on the 2nd June). So, what’s the deal about amnesia then? Well, as the press sheet states: ‘In February 2014, Outerbridge awoke in a hospital with no memory of how he had arrived. He was diagnosed with transient global amnesia, a condition that causes the brain to temporarily stop making new memories.’ Anyway, Outerbridge tried to return to his music again and the the story continues: ‘When he returned to the piano, Outerbridge found his previous compositions sounded garish. He pared them down to their essence and, along with new, more spacious material, constructed a set of variegated and subtle songs that explore the interplay between dissonance and silence.’ Memorybell was born.

    Outerbridge has recorded Obsolete ‘live in a single sitting using just a creaky grand piano and two microphones’ and he has been concerned with and focused on ‘exploring the spaces between notes as the notes themselves, giving each song room to breathe and encouraging the ear to wander.’ Yes, air, loads of air, room to breath, as well as enough room and space to listen are the main points or keys to understand and to enter the musical world of Memorybell. The seven minute (+) long “Somnolent” is a lingering, slowbreathing composition that flows slowly out of the speakers through your room (alternatively: out of your headphones, straight into your head and mind…). It feels like a pleasant sleeping pill. Not that it makes you instantly sleepy or drowsy. It just makes you comfortably relaxed. In a good way. I’m looking forward to check out the rest of Obsolete. Outerbridge’s compositions or performance doesn’t sound or feel obsolete.”

    Luna Kafe

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Licensing

Memorybell’s music is  available for licensing (master & sync cleared) through Hidden Shoal. Please contact us with some basic details about your project and the track(s) you wish to use and we’ll be sure to get back to you straight away.

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