♫♪  Olivia Block - Karren [Excerpts]

Ever since her 1999 debut album Pure Gaze, Olivia Block has been exploring the surprisingly ephemeral sonic differences between field recordings, chamber music, and electroacoustic improvisation. With each successive release, Block’s disparate sound sources have grown more and more synthesized into a coherent unified whole. Like Michael Pisaro’s fields have ears series, Block’s compositions seek to highlight the inherent musical qualities of the natural world. But where Pisaro’s work often does this through the use of space and the juxtaposition of pure tones with field recordings, Block’s music instead plays with idiomatic instrumental technique and an extreme integration of sound worlds to create totally new acoustic spaces.

In this way, the sources of Block’s sounds often become indistinguishable/inconsequential as they imperceptibly bleed together. On Karren, Block has created two long pieces that blur her sound sources in elegant ways that show the natural evolution of her work. On “Foramen Magnum,” Block weaves the tuning of an orchestra into a mysterious collage where the natural world collides with heavily processed versions of itself.

On the other hand, “Opening Night” begins with a near Ligeti-esque cloud of voluminous harmonies that eventually gives way to clicks and clacks that seem to come from within the ensemble itself, but gradually transform into something that sounds natural yet completely alien and warped. Both pieces serve to illustrate that Block is still creating some of the best amalgams of space/sound out there.

Karren is out now via Sedimental Records. You can stream (fyi) excerpts from the record above via Block’s soundcloud.

• Olivia Block: http://www.oliviablock.net
• Sedimental Records: http://www.sedimental.com

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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