Since the release of her recording Pure Gaze (Sedimental Records) in 1998, Olivia Block has remained a prolific and influential media artist, and one of few women in the field of sound art from her generation. Her body of work includes sound recordings, performance, multi media installations, scores, production, video and pedagogical practice.
The sound piece includes portions of the micro cassette tape sounds (names edited to anonymise the narrator), interwoven with field recordings of wind and water. I wanted to create a sonic fever-dream; a place where pieces of recorded voices wash up on a shore, then blow away in the wind. I wanted to create a transformational energy, as if the sounds were fleeting memories or souls between realms.
Additionally, I included recordings of a 2019 performance by The Chicago Youth Orchestra, playing my related orchestral score, Streams and Cycles, conducted by Thomas Madeja. The inclusion of these young musicians was meant as an infusion of hope, and a necessary contrast to the themes of death and loss in the composition.
I am interested in the cycles of listening and memory which are possible in long form sound compositions. As a long composition unfolds, the listener can sink into the sounds, fully concentrating, or listening deeply, then forget.
In this long form piece, there is no melody, and therefore no inherent cultural coding, so the listener is not directed how to feel. After a long duration of time has passed, the listener may forget to listen for a while, then later remember to concentrate and listen again. I appreciate the ability to forget or let go of certain memories as I grow older, which feeds my interest in this type of listening cycle.