Electroacoustic improv with aural artifacts
FULL-TEXT AVAILABLE IN PRINT EDITION ONLY The sound of a clarinet passage emerges from a quiet section and is punctuated by a series of minute electronic tones. Accompanying the clarinet is a recording of the wind, but the sound is more than just that of a rush of wind; it is the sound of the wind buffeting the microphone being used to record the wind. Slowly the wind sound is joined by a quiet trombone-and-oboe duo and the wind morphs into the sound of a needling rain that in turn morphs into the sound of a flag flapping in the breeze, The recorded flapping has an added texture, like a Geiger counter clicking. Finally, the faint sound of bird call can be heard in the background, and the recorded sound fades away, allowing room for a short composition for reeds and horns, played by a small group of improvising musicians.
This is the middle section of Change Ringing (2005), written by Texas-born and Chicago-based composer Olivia Block. The piece is the final part of a trilogy that also comprises Pure Gaze and Mobius Fuse. Notable for its vividly tactile and richly imagistic thirty-minute compositions, the trilogy reveals Block’s ability to successfully weave together music composition, field recordings, electronic processing, and the sonic artifacts of each of those elements. It serves as a strong introduction to Block's work and represents her first compositions since moving on from the indie-rock-oriented Austin music scene.
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Image by: Yuko Zama