The HooKHeaD Project

Who or What is The HooKHeaD Project?

The HooKHeaD Project is the proper name for music created by Eric Peacock and his occasional contributors. Eric’s music is an ongoing evolution of collages or cut-ups with sound and is mostly electronic, with a handful of exceptions.

Background

Originally known only as "HooKHeaD" (a name taken from a series of paintings by the composer), Eric began to assemble cut-up sound collage around 1987 mostly as a way to fill up extra space on mix cassettes given away to friends. At this time he worked with almost no authentic musical equipment, instead manually controlling two cassette decks to stitch together found loops and sounds into a sequence. Eventually a computer was also used to trigger sounds and as an oscillator that drove various effects. Since Eric had some background in electronics this was all mixed "sound-on-sound" with wire splicing as that was all that was available at the time. Everything was recorded live or improvised even though the cut-up tape method couldn‘t be done in the same time as the music.

At this time Eric was mostly influenced by industrial music - think Skinny Puppy, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails or Controlled Bleeding - but there were also influences from contemporary "art" music, ambient soundscapes and a whole heap of budding "alternative" music bands such as The Pixies.

This phase of composition was highly personal, dark or angst ridden - an outlet for survival that helped the composer survive his teenage years intact. Other sonic themes were highly socio-political, sometimes sarcastically criticizing ethics and morality in our culture. The last recorded piece from this phase is the cut-up social commentary Submission (available on the MP3 samples page), from the last full cassette album produced: The Not of the Want.

Eric would also discover MIDI and began to move away from tape manipulation in favor of digital audio editing on a computer. Much of this was out of necessity from lack of funds for studio space and real analog equipment.

Evolution

Eventually Eric moved into using more acoustic sources basing on his experience playing a trumpet and violin as a young boy, but taking it further with homebuilt percussion along with (broken) guitars played with wood files or reeds and woodwinds. As an undergraduate Eric took a break from his own music and played gigs with a Brazilian batucada and Indonesian Gamelon which served as a path into new sounds and ideas.

It was during these undergraduate years that the "project" was added to the namesake and several years of highly prolific composition took place. Advances in technology allowed the cassette media to be replaced with digitally produced CDs. A lot of things got easier.

Much of the more organic/acoustic work from these years culminated in the difficult release of A Partial Reconstruction of Days in 1996. PRoD is still the only true vocal piece ever recorded by The HooKHeaD Project. It also uses the most acoustic instruments overall. Unfortunately the music was produced over three years in a number of tiny dorm rooms or apartments on a 4-track, all while fending off noise complaints from neighbors. To say that the project suffered from poor acoustics and equipment is an understatement. As far as this author is concerned A Partial Reconstruction of Days exists as a raw and revealing idea that never quite got the treatment it deserved. Nevertheless some listeners have claimed that it is still Eric’s best work.

Rhythm, timbre and many drones

Always changing, this music is hard to associate with any single genre. The most common feedback brings phrases like "very cerebral" or "thinking music". This isn‘t music for everyone, but that can also depend on which CD or track one listens to.

The HooKHeaD Project has had light comparisons to such known acts as Brain Eno, Dead Can Dance, The Art of Noise, Bill Laswell and the pre-industrial SPK.

All of these "releases" are independently produced and distributed. All cover artwork and media is designed and produced by Eric himself. At this time not a lot of promotion goes into this work, as it is there is little time to consistently focus on the compositions themselves. In time that may change, but until then the curious or otherwise will have this web site.

Eric Peacock, Self Portrait In Ampex