Stereomyth is an album that's about the big transitions we face in life—the ones that might hurt but also make you stronger in the end. It’s about the joy of adventure and the thrills and fears that one experiences when confronting the unknown.
But it’s also about a really deep love for cinema and cinematic storytelling. Some major influences on this project include films like the 1960 adaptation of H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine, Bond series entries like You Only Live Twice, 70s Italian cinema scored by greats like Ennio Morricone and Alessandro Alessandroni, and martial arts classics like Enter the Dragon. There are a lot of other influences on this work, too, and you’ll almost certainly pick up on them if you have a listen.
Back when I was in college—in 2004 and 2005, to be exact—I had the idea of making an album that very intentionally told a well-crafted story with characters and motifs and plot structure and truth throughout. I tried to record a hip-hop album that did this. It was based off of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. I wanted to create something that was upsetting and dissonant and honest and reflected my general state of being over those years. It never came together, though, probably because of my general state of being over those years.
Then, somewhere around 2011 or 2012, I became interested, as so many have, in the work of Joseph Campbell and the idea of there being an archetypal Hero's Journey or Monomyth that pervades human legend. For the uninitiated, the Monomyth is something like an amalgam of or blueprint for the many great hero stories told across different cultures all over the world. Campbell pointed out that all of these hero stories have elements in common. There’s usually a young hero living a restless life who (1) is met with adventure (often unwillingly), then (2) learns from a mentor figure they have a special fate, and, finally, (3) must willingly meet that fate, usually by challenging Death. You can find elements of the Monomyth in ancient stories like the epic of Gilgamesh and the myth of Orpheus, and you can find it in modern ones like Star Wars, the Matrix, and many others.
Stereomyth is the above two ideas—a story-based hip-hop concept album and a Campbellian Monomyth tale—put together. Now, I should probably be up front and say that this album really isn’t all that “fun”—nor is it really meant to be that. If you threw this on at a party, people would probably look at you funny and tell you to put Thriller back on, and rightly so. What it is meant to do, though, is tell an introspective, immersive story through some well-crafted hip-hop. Call it short-form sonic art that harkens back to a long-form era. Listen to it with headphones on, listen closely, and you may find something wonderful and unexpected there waiting for you.
Sincerest thanks for reading and listening.
–K. Gould, Summer 2016
Stereomyth was recorded by Kevin Gould and Aaron Hatch over a four-year period in Boulder, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
Kevin Gould: concept, lyrics, vocals, beats, synths
Aaron Hatch: production, vocals, beats, synths, mastering