"St. Louis-based experimental musician, artist, and DJ Eric Hall may not identify with any particular scene or aesthetic. But his singular mix of deep audio processing, audio-visual collaging, installation work, and improvisational chops has cemented him as a fixture in his hometown’s creatively rich avant-garde circuit (which has also spawned the likes of Raglani, Brett Naucke, and Ghost Ice). Aside from perhaps his occasional work as a mash-up artist under his mind-blowing Lil' Daddy Reba McEntire moniker, Hall's immersive work—which can be deeply explored across dozens of free releases on his Bandcamp page—kind of re-contextualizes the classic electro-collaging concepts of musique concréte, conjuring sounds in the moment with contact mics while also employing homemade field recordings and synthesized melodies, transforming them through a detailed, home-built processing interface (i.e. through custom effects and stuff).
While some experimental electronic music is criticized for being a bit too closed-off and cold, Hall's sprawling movements always feel personal, spontaneous, and very much alive. This is probably because Hall is generating sounds and visuals from the room he's performing in in real time, but also because Hall never plays the same set twice. He plays a completely improvised set every single show—on Bandcamp, he has diligently recorded and posted every live set from his current tour, and each one sounds completely different. Ahead of his upcoming show on September, October 17 at Good Style Shop, Hall talked with us about deliberately destroying his Disco Duck LP as a child for his own listening pleasure, his lean toward improvisation, converting to software, and that one time he got to jam with Damo Suzuki from Can.
Tone Madison: You’ve been at this for a long time. What piqued your interest in diving into the abstract? Did you have routes in more traditional musical forms?
Eric Hall: My mother is a for-real musician. She can play any instrument by ear and is incredibly driven to play all of the time. She plays out and does guitar circle jams and whatnot. She'd always play at home when I was a kid, so I totally came up around music. She writes her own stuff, but would also do country and folk classics. When I was tiny, I liked the community and fun of it—going with her to open mics and coffeehouse shows. I even did a kazoo number at one of these when I was like four. I apparently did a false start, then pardoned myself, and said I had to tune up first—smacking the kazoo against my palm, and then resumed the song. So, I liked it. But then when it came time to actually try to learn something to play, I had no commitment. I stopped guitar lessons after only a couple and played snare in some grade school band, but that's just a snare, you know? I was quickly bored with it and stopped participating after school. Meanwhile, my dad had next-to-no interest in music, but he did have stereo equipment and a dictaphone, so I'd use that stuff when I was like six to record sounds around the house or the neighbors talking on their porch, and then I'd make collages and manipulate stuff. I didn't have the will power to learn to play anything, but I loved the instant gratification of being able to make weird sounds with that stuff. I also got into hip-hop as soon as I heard it and loved the sound of scratching, but I had no idea how it was done. I thought it was literally scratched records, so I went at my Smurfs and Disco Duck albums with gravel and tore them up and recorded that.
So, basically, to answer your question, I wanted to play like my mom, but was too impatient to learn anything, so I got into just busting stuff and making a racket. That's why I got into abstract music. I had no idea it existed anywhere else. I thought the world was Joan Baez, Afrika Bambaataa, and Disney records and that I was doing something crazy, but it was probably what every other bored kid was doing with a cassette deck, a pencil, and an FM-transmitting toy microphone.
Tone Madison: You’ve been very consistent about documenting your live performances and posting them on Bandcamp. It seems like you never perform the same set twice. Has it always been this way?
Eric Hall: Mostly. When I started playing out often in 1999, I had actual songs that I'd built on samplers, and then I'd just send the different outputs through effects and have tape loops play other synths and racket on top of it. It was really bad trip-hop and noise-collage stuff. It's humiliating to think about, to tell you the truth. In about 2003 I committed to not using pre-arranged sequences or songs anymore, so each show is usually prepared by building a new palette each time—picking a key and finding progressions I like in it, setting up the voices and processes for the piece, and then just improvising from that palette for the performance. After a set, the palette gets canned and I build something new for the next time. It's kind of a wasted gesture though, because I get things that sound so similar from one to the next, but there's always a lot of nuanced differences. Plus, I learn more about the sounds by making them from scratch each time.
Tone Madison: I feel like the last time I saw you play, you were processing certain sounds and images from the same night (including a certain audience member's goon-ish laugh). When did you start working your present environment into your live performances?
Eric Hall: I’ve always used contact mics and found objects, but now that I do live video stuff, I can find new objects for each performance and amplify the sonic minutiae of it with the contacts, and use a USB microscope to get super close to it visually too. The live microscope video feed gets processed and layered the same way the audio does, plus there's obviously tons of synthesized audio and video built up over that, so it's a live electroacoustic and synthetic audiovisual project.
Tone Madison: So, when you're doing a collaboration, like the one you just posted with Oakland-based guitarist and composer Andrew Weathers, is your role mostly to process what the other is doing in realtime?
Eric Hall: In that case, he played acoustic guitar through a few effects and I played sine waves and field recordings, plus I processed his guitar and my sines in realtime, while also manipulating the playback of those elements through granular sampling and speed changes. It turned out so tasty—mostly because of the grace that Weathers plays with.
Tone Madison: I also noticed that you collaborated with Damo Suzuki from Can a ways back. How did you approach that?
Eric Hall: There were probably eight players, each riding along as Damo ad-libbed vocalizations. It was two hour-long improvisations. It's a little hazy, for real.
Tone Madison: I feel like the first time I saw you play back in 2008, there was lots of gear and hardware samplers involved. When did you begin transitioning to the laptop?
Eric Hall: When I was finally convinced that the processors, interfaces, and controllers could replicate what I did with all that outboard gear. I'm all in Ableton Live, Max, and a lot of custom builds. There's finally nothing that I could do with those older rigs that I can't do with this set-up. It's been about three years since I played without a laptop.
Tone Madison: What do you mean by custom builds in this context?
Eric Hall: Max For Live is totally open to make anything you can think of—any effect, sound, video, light show, or garage-door opening. It's whatever you want it to be. You can build any device with enough effort. There's a huge community of people making and sharing these, plus some pros that make and sell theirs. It's really endless, though. It's the same as circuit bending, modding, hacking, or DIY process, except it's inside of a computer.
Tone Madison: One thing that people often complain about in regards to using a laptop is that there are "too many possibilities and not enough limitations." Do you try to set certain limitations for yourself for each piece or performance?
Eric Hall: As far as "too many possibilities," I only started using a laptop when I thought I could reproduce the same processes that I did with external hardware, so I didn't come at in open-ended wonderment, so much as spend a few years researching specific possibilities. Once I collected enough software analogues to my outboard rig, in Ableton especially, to know I could transition to that format, then I kind of phased the heavy gear out.
Tone Madison: Also, I've noticed that, in your work, there's usually some kind of comforting melodic component weaving in and out of the mix. How do you generally approach the melodic factor?
Eric Hall: The melodies are usually spontaneous and then I'll sometimes play them into an arpeggiator that repeats the play order and loops the pattern until I switch it off or replace it with a new melody.
Tone Madison: Many of the releases on your Bandcamp page are of various live sets spanning across the last decade or so, which is cool, especially since you have them all available as a pay-what-you-want. Do you have any plans to work on something that's more of a "studio album," per se, in the near future?
Eric Hall: I’d be smart to do a proper studio album, except it doesn't really align with my work flow. I could assemble a palette and improvise on it at home, same as I do on stage, but that's really the same process as preparing a performance for me. Otherwise, I could plan songs or whatever, but I'm horrible at that. I'm much better being spontaneous and feel a lot more at ease and prefer those results. When I do remixes or tracks for compilations, I realize what a lousy writer of music I am. Every remix I've done is weeks of me freaking out about it, then panicking and completing it several minutes after the last minute. Some of those have worked out really well, but some totally missed the target I had in mind, so I felt like I was doing a disservice to the artist and the opportunity. So, I'm always hesitant to accept remix offers. With compilation tracks, I usually just treat it like a live performance, but I perform it several times over and refine it until it's a fair compilation track length. I do not excel at writing or editing or condensing my stuff at all, unfortunately. That's why I just document each live set and then move on. Maybe it'll come to me some day and I'll do an album, but albums are kind of dead anyhow. I don't know, it's not regarded like any other art, which I've always thought was shitty. Like, if a painter shows a piece, nobody's ever obligating them to do nine more just like it. Actually, they might be. What do I know?
I've always hated the curator or benefactor or manager or teacher roles that some artists latch onto for their career plans. Good for them for finding a way to advance their careers, I guess, but if you're doing something for yourself, from yourself, who needs to be directed? If you're doing it for the sake of having a career, you're not much of an artist to me, but you're also not doing it for me at that point anyhow. So, get at your audience however you need to, I suppose. Not trying to be up my own ass too much, but it's like a sculptural process for me—I make it and that takes however long it takes, I display it or share it online, as it were, and then I don't think of it again. For how I work right now, an album would feel like making little gift-shop versions of sculptures I never intended to keep working on. I don't think this makes me better or cooler than anyone else. I fucking love pop and mostly listen to "songs" in my listening time—hip-hop, Top 40, stoner metal, art-rock, jazz, folk, all of that. But for me, I'm stuck doing it this way for now.
Tone Madison: What else does the immediate future hold for you? Any upcoming installations, releases, or new work of any sort that you'd like to mention?
Eric Hall: As for the future, you know, more of the same, I'm afraid."
- Joel Shanahan, Eric Hall on creating in-the-moment live electronics sets, Tone Madison, October 13th, 2015
"Experimental musician Eric Hall's curious obsession with sounds began at a very early age. Technically, his first set up consisted of a mishmash of manipulated cassettes and turntables. He'd scratch his Smurfs records with gravel to bounce the needle, record his neighbors splashing around in a pool outside his window and would then play all these noises together, recording them on his dad's Dictaphone. Over the years his tool set grew to include everything from Moogs, reel-to-reels and CB and shortwave radios to toys, contact mics and all manner of effects. 'I record my neighbor telling stories on the stoop or people talking on their phone on the sidewalk and fold that into pieces. The squeaky hinge on my oven or pushing clunky buttons on an old Betamax player becomes a part of a beat,' he says. 'I listen to a lot of lectures on art theory or history in the background when I'm preparing for shows and think about that, and I listen to tons of music on any given day and that informs my ears a great deal, too.' From experiments on KDHX's (88.1 FM) airwaves in the '90s and a recent artist residency at Laumeier Sculpture Park to organizing variety show Third Lip Cabaret and performing with local improvisation group N. Nomurai, Hall's creative end knows no bounds. His long list of collaborators includes Damo Suzuki (of Can), Fontella Bass and Grandpa's Ghost. Still, he's well aware that his art, like any other art, isn't for everyone. 'I'm grateful for the people that actually listen to my work and dig in a bit, but I know most people don't really listen or get it or care, which is fine, too. No one's obligated to care about this,' says Hall. 'I know that my work doesn't fit in with what many people even consider to be music.' Hall's creative approach shares many elements with visual art. He cites cubism, futurism, surrealism and pointillism as examples of art movements he tried to realize sonically in past performances. Hall first performed his solo work publicly in 1999. Since then, the resulting evolution of sound art has taken on hundreds of different forms, as evidenced by Hall's massive archive of live recordings. 'I use live sampling to manipulate the phrases I play and build scenes from them, playing rough fragments of them over each other forwards and backwards and making odd-timed rhythm cycles at different speeds,' says Hall. 'Beyond that kind of premise, each piece just develops however it will.'"
- Mabel Suen, Fill In The Blank: Meet Eric Hall, Musical Surgeon Obsessed with Splicing Sounds, Riverfront Times, February 14th, 2014
A coworker of Eric Hall once asked, 'Are you a musician?' Hall reportedly replied, 'No, where did you hear that?' A more accurate title for Hall may be 'sonic artist,' even though we wish most musicians shared his consciousness of texture and timbre. For Eric Hall, any intentional or aleatoric noise can be electronically mangled into the spontaneous compositions of a 22nd century orchestra. Hall furthers his each-sound-is-precious aesthetic by documenting nearly every live performance and posting the results to his Bandcamp page. For a lesser non-musician, this habit could resemble social media over-sharing, but keeping up with Eric Hall online is more like following a forward-thinking electronic-music blog than looking at pictures of your friend's salad.
- Ryan Wasoba, Electronic (Eclectic): Meet the 2014 RFT Music Award Nominees, Riverfront Times, May 29th, 2014
“You could probably fill your iPod with nothing but solo releases from Eric Hall and still run out of room before you got to his collaborative work with other musicians. Last year he was put in charge of curating a massive installment of musical pairings at Laumeier Sculpture Park – and he actually pulled it off. That alone demands attention, but it wasn’t enough for Eric Hall. He is constantly working on his craft – not so much for the fans as for his own sanity. It is pure, and it is good, but Hall’s fans already know that. This is brilliant music for eager ears.”
- Kenny Snarzyk, Meet the 2013 RFT Music Showcase, Riverfront Times, May 28th, 2013
“Listening to Eric Hall’s spontaneous compositions — the patient instrumental scenes that grow from unicellular sounds into living organisms in the course of twenty minutes — one might expect the man to be an introspective recluse. This is simply not so. Hall may be the most visible improvisational musician in St. Louis. He performs constantly in the area’s DIY venues, is the current resident composer of sound installations for Laumeier Sculpture Park and has released a stunning 25 hours(!) of original music in the past twelve months alone. Hall appears far from worn thin; these multiple outlets seem necessary to collect his unending stream of ideas. Some musicians spend their lifetimes trying to compose music this deliberate and fearless. Eric Hall culls it from the ether.”
- Ryan Wasoba, Electronic/Dance: Meet the 2012 RFT Music Award Nominees, Riverfront Times, May 1st, 2012
“The line between music and art is frequently blurred; Eric Hall twists it into pulsating sound shapes. The artist/composer/improviser/producer/DJ is also a member of a half-dozen collectives (Grandpa’s Ghost and N. Nomurai are two), and he taught a workshop on improvisation at this year’s Crankfest. He carves out time to perform solo, whether at installations at various art galleries or in more traditional club settings. His sonic palette mixes whorls of hip-hop, jazz, doom metal and more to craft a wholly original artistic experience.”
- RFT staff, Meet The 2011 Riverfront Times Music Award Nominees, Riverfront Times, June 2nd, 2011
“South St. Louis pillar Eric Hall has stood tall over the local experimental music scene for more than a decade now. With a focus in sampling, looping and live manipulation, Hall’s mixology skills encapsulate an expansive universe of sound and sonic wonderment. By blurring the lines of improvisation and composition, Hall is able to keep things interesting with each evanescent anthem, illuminating a symbiotic marriage of broken beats and melody in decline.”
- Josh Levi, 2010 Music Showcase: 1 night, 50+ bands, 5 bucks this Saturday on Wash. Ave., Riverfront Times, June 2nd, 2010
“Like many noise artists, Eric Hall is curious and prolific. Unlike many noise artists, Hall is fearless and consistent, succeeding whether improvising found-sound collages; remixing twee-poppers Bunnygrunt, sludging up with stoner metal outfit N. Nomurai, mashing up “99 Problems” with “99 Red Balloons” as DJ Lil’ Daddy Reba McEntire or performing John Cage compositions with samples made from striking the Arch. Such versatility leaves little room for pretension — and in fact, Eric Hall is just a kid in a candy store when it comes to sound.”
- Ryan Wasoba, RFT Music Awards Nominees & Showcase Performers, Riverfront Times, June 3rd, 2009
“As a musician who manipulates, shapes, and otherwise corrals noise into manageable forms, Eric Hall has performed as part of experimental groups like Grandpa’s Ghost and Peanuts. But when he is on his own, Hall’s compositions float, formulate and dissipate in an ongoing exercise in entropy as chaos and order feed into one another. His work tends to turn from dreamy and ambient to disruptive and distorted, and his on-the-fly method of performance ensures that you never hear the same song twice.”
- Christian Schaeffer, 2008 Music Awards Nominees, Riverfront Times, May 28th, 2008
“Eric Hall describes himself as a producer, performer, improviser, DJ and installation artist. Unsurprisingly, elements of all these titles reveal themselves in his music. Using field recordings, percussive metals and various electronic devices, Hall coaxes ambient sheets of sound from various sources, and the results are both soothing and unnerving. His drones and tones mutate and overlap, creating dissonance and percussive patterns that linger for a while before flittering away. While Hall’s been involved in many projects over the years (most notably the experimental music collective Grandpa’s Ghost), his own recordings contain multitudes of styles, from ethereal arias to gritty dirges and everything in between.”
- Christian Schaeffer, 2007 RFT Music Showcase, Riverfront Times, May 31st, 2007
“If you’ve never experienced a sound art exhibit before, or you’re not quite sure what it is (no, it’s not just another word for music!) Eric Hall’s Reconnecting to a server… is a great introduction. What may at first look like an empty room with simply surveillance videos in the upper corners of an otherwise empty space, is quickly understood as something much more once visitors begin to move around and different sounds, depending on where and how they move, start to detect their location and direction of movement through audio. Each experience depends on how much people move around, and how many people are in the room (2-4 is probably best). The sounds that visitors hear are actually recordings from Hall’s ”Chatroulette” account (a website that connects strangers and allows for conversations through webcam chat) that he experimentally left up while idle. While the connection to Laumeier here might be a bit more obscure, you’ll see a lot more of Hall’s work at Laumeier this year, which often involves site recordings, as he is Composer in Residence.”
- Electric Is The Love @ Laumeier Sculpture Park, Arched Art Now, November 6th, 2011
“An entire room with blank walls, zoned sensors, and speakers that play distorted sounds (ranging from a heartbeat akin to that in Pink Floyd’s “Speak to Me/Breathe,” to various animalistic and calming woodland sounds), Hall’s exhibit succeeds in diminishing the boundaries between technology and human. He melds the two elements together in a pleasing synthesis of viewer participation and sound.”
- Blair Stiles, ELECTRIC IS THE LOVE – Laumeier Sculpture Park, Eleven Magazine, December / January, 2012
“Eric Hall utilizes chat-room technology to collect the ambient sounds of anonymous users attempting to “connect” in cyberspace. Entering the gallery where his installation is configured, the viewer is met by nothing other than the ambient bleeps, tics and hiccups of the atomized universe of computer users looking for, well, love. Here, the viewer may feel unnervingly implicated — as a half-participant, half-voyeur in this unpopulated space, all we’re left with is the residue of our own confounding relationship to the electric ether.”
- Jessica Baran, In the Galleries: Electric is the Love at Laumeier Sculpture Park, closes January 22, Riverfront Times, November 24th, 2011
“…Hall’s upcoming sound art installation based on Chatroulette“…Hall began recording hours and hours of audio from users on anonymous web cam chat service Chat Roulette… Most of the audio samples collected include the typing of plastic keyboard keys, background music and other ambient noises of an Internet user. The audio from the exhibit includes samples that vary in size, and even come as small as a millisecond of someone coughing or strange computer processed noise… Four speakers have been set up around the room in a peculiar manner. Once an individual enters a zone on the west side of the room, a sound will play on the east side, causing the visitor to walk across the room to pursue the noise. Once they leave their zone and enter into a new space, a fresh sound is then triggered on the opposite side of the room. Eric Hall has users literally chasing the ambient sounds of anonymous Chat Roulette users. This is sculpted to display one’s voyeuristic inclination. Hall manipulates their eavesdropping tendency.”
- Joseph Hess, Eric Hall Announces Resedency, Concert At Laumeier, Riverfront Times, October 28th, 2011
“In a year when local bands have formed new partnerships or reconstituted old ones through DIY festivals, home-grown record labels and subscription seven-inch series, the sheer scope of Eric Hall’s Site/Sound project demands respect. For the past year, experimental instrumentalist Hall has been in residence at Laumeier Sculpture Park in south county, and Site/Sound is the summit of well-directed risk-taking for both the artist and for the park. For the project, Hall recruited more than 70 local musicians and bands to write and record songs based on individual installations. Patrons are invited to experience the songs either from a park-provided iPod or through their smartphones’ QR scanner. The cultural double-whammy of walking around that jewel of a park while listening to adventurous and challenging music is in itself an exercise in engaging a specific landscape while listening to new frontiers.”
- Christian Schaeffer, The St. Louis Soundtrack of Laumeier Sculpture Park: Review of the Site/Sound Exhibit, Riverfront Times, October 19th, 2012
“It’s been a long time coming, but it’s here: Eric Hall’s massive multimedia, psychophysical, audio hike through space, SITE/SOUND at Laumeier Sculpture Park opens this month!”
- Evan Salt, Heavy Music, Eleven Magazine, October, 2012
“When asked to perform at the Riverfront Times’ Music Showcase in 2010, Tone Rodent accepted, but not without condition. At the time the band was without a drummer, so Watkins dropped recordings on Eric Hall, local purveyor of sound art. The result was a Tone Rodent show that actually lacked the presence of the band itself. Eric Hall altered chunks of the group’s recordings in real time to mold a new piece of noise. “Eric went and performed as Tone Rodent. It was really great. Just me and Mark [Early, keyboardist] standing there watching Eric Hall play us,” says Watkins.”
- Joseph Hess, Tone Rodent Bridges the Gap Between Noise and Music From Here To Brazil, Riverfront Times, February 14th, 2013
“…one of St. Louis’ finest experimental sampling/mixing/distorting/manipulating DJs…”
- Chrissy Wilmes, Eric Hall Sits in for All Members of Tone Rodent at RFT Music Showcase, Riverfront Times, AtoZ blog, June 8th, 2010
“The chilling night of warm sounds comes headed off by Eric Hall, whose racket has earned accolades from many. Fresh off from his powerful residency at Laumeier Sculpture Park, Hall brings scrambled electronic music amidst samples and captured sounds. Hall’s no stranger to ambient sets, and any Google search will net you 30-some-odd hours of material–no small feat for any artist.”
- Joseph Hess, The Best Concerts in St. Louis This Week: Consonant Drift, Riverfront Times, January 7th, 2013
“The most ambitious and revealing section of Sound is Eric Hall’s “The Phil Sessions,” a sound collage of various musicians performing in acoustically unique spaces. Fred Friction clacks spoons and warbles in an echo-y portion of the Saint Louis Art Museum, and Jason Hutto sings and strums in chorus with a passing railroad train. The nine tracks that comprise the “Sessions” gradually reveal the ambient sounds of the city and the impressions they leave on its working musicians.”
- Christian Schaeffer, Homespun: Various Artists: Sound (52nd City), Riverfront Times, May 2nd, 2007
“This is not the ordinary / average [ Electronic ] music guys. This is absolute drone sound and improvisation that’s going to make you wonder. There’s what we call good music and genius sound. In this particular case, consider Mr E Hall a genius musician. [ TRULY MASSIVE ].”
- Staff, *****Eric Hall*****, The Sirens Sound, September 23rd, 2011
“Eric Hall has a way with machines. His electronic improvisations can be strangely transporting and deeply moving. They are, by their nature, a certain view of a certain moment, making each one an oblique account of a particular crowd and/or space.”
- Kiernan Maletsky, Homespun: Eric Hall Releases 22 And A Half Hours Of Music, Recorded Between 2005 and 2010, Riverfront Times, September 1st, 2011
“N. Nomurai was assembled close to the entry way, with Eric Hall seated atop a small drum riser and his cohorts planted in a triangle. Jim Winkeler (of the Conformists) shook the walls of Washington Avenue’s Smash Bar with his thousand-pound bass sound and Jeremy Brantlinger sent compliments to his band mates via disjointed percussion… the powerhouse trio showed up to sling its booming improvisations… I watched N. Nomurai begin its set, and an over-sized flat screen TV, which was adjacent to the stage, started blasting former pop-diva Shakira and her signature belly-dancing. Gyrating hips on a screen with the brightness settings maxed out was a jarring juxtaposition to the dark, noisy squall of N. Nomurai. If only Eric Hall had an exotic woman contorting her body every time he performed.”
- Joseph Hess, N. Nomurai and Demonlover at Smash Bar, 2/15/12: Recap and Photos, Riverfront Times, RFT Music blog, February 16th, 2012
“Eric Hall does not play songs. It’s hard to describe the meaningful element of his improvised electronic performance without falling into hopeless abstraction: He fills the room, sends his audience within themselves and documents a time and place.”
- Kiernan Maletsky, Homespun: Eric Hall’s Live Solos 2011: The Best Value in St. Louis Music, Riverfront Times, January 13th, 2012
“Eric Hall’s creative takeover of the Laumeier Sculpture Park hit an early high point this weekend with his performance in the Park’s Cromlech Glen. It’s a spot he says has inspired him as an artist for years, and his half-hour set on Saturday was nothing if not respectful of his surroundings. Starting low, he allowed his sounds to blend with the surrounding forest before building to consuming hum.”
- Kiernan Maletsky, Eric Hall Laumeier Performance Video, Riverfront Times, RFT Music November 14th, 2011
“…experimental legend in the making Eric Hall, employs an entirely different process. He improvises with digital equipment and records his compositions in real time as they are written. Hall recently released Live Solos 2005–2010, 22 hours of improvisational recordings with exceptional fidelity. The live element, often a distraction in rock or jazz recordings, provides a welcome spontaneity to the listening experience.”
- Ryan Wasoba, The New Sound Of Local Music, Riverfront Times, December 15th, 2011
“These days everybody has a fancy title. In the spirit of “sanitation engineers” (garbage men) and “high-impact pugilistic assault technicians” (bullies), local musician Eric Hall has become “an electro-acoustic soundscape architect.” In this one instance of grandiose verbiage all the highfalutin terms are justified. Hall’s one-man-and-a-cocoon-of-electrical-equipment shows require sound generators, effects boxes, samplers, captured ham-radio frequencies and the occasional use of a thumb piano. Hall manipulates this potential cacophony into towers of sound that rise and fall in beautiful cycles.”
- Paul Friswold, This Week’s Day-By_Day Pick’s, Riverfront Times, November 5th, 2003
“…local artist Eric Hall’s new multimedia performance… is an ambitious undertaking not just for its size–… a stage full of computers, video equipment, four two-channel reel-to-reel tape recorders and, last but not least, a Frampton Comes Alive!-era vocoder — but for its scope.”
- Paul Friswold, Pledge Ingenious, Riverfront Times, December 5th, 2001
“The highlight, though, was Hall’s synthetic compositions, which recalled the organized beats of Boards of Canada and the Aphex Twin. The music he created was at times gentle, at times a bit abrasive, but always a curious and engaging examination of computer-based beat music. He leans toward the ambient side of the music but never strays into boring soundscapes. Instead, melodies and rhythms collide and merge into one, and the result is some of the most imaginative music in the city.”
- Randall Roberts, Gimme Some Lip, Riverfront Times, June 9th, 1999
“Found in the darkest bar in town on Monday and Tuesday nights, Eric Hall rules his punk-rock heaven of CBGB with a steely will. He doesn’t care what you want to hear. He doesn’t mix the latest zany shot. And if you want a battle of wits, he’ll zing you into submission. Thirty-two-ounce Miller tallboys and well-timed quips go over the bar as Nico crashes into Rob Base on the sound system. The drinkers kibitz in corners. Darts are flung. And Eric Hall, no question, controls the vibe.”
- St. Louis Magazine staff, A-List 2007, Best Bartender: Eric Hall, CBGB, St. Louis Magazine, July, 2007