(Chicago, Illinois) - performing a multi-channel, in the dark, surround version of her composition Aberration of Light
range of materials and techniques encompasses found sounds, field
recordings, notation for acoustic instruments, manipulated extensions
of amplified instruments and purely electronic textures. Her
willingness to employ this wide range belies the fact that Olivia Block
is an artist with a tight focus and clear voice. Whether working in
installation, performance or composition for performers, she is not
limited to exclusive designations of “sound artist”, “composer” or
“performer”. In a sense, Block is a truly contemporary sonic artist for
whom these designations are not identities, but roles inhabited in
order to create work.
Block’s compositions are clear and unhurried - often constructed from
layers, dynamics and densities, where the music dwells at the edges of
perception. They may range from lush-filled spaces to the edges of
audibility, where found sounds or instrumental sonorities are only just
clear enough to be identifiable. Furthermore, along with these “found”
sounds, the microphone emerges as an instrument itself, present in the
music. But this music doesn’t merely live within these margins. Its
narrative is a journey taking you through these spaces.
Block’s music is experimental in the sense that the processes and
results often frame environmental ambience. However, this is not a
music that is of purely experimental concerns, where process takes
precedence and results are merely the outcomes. The music is thoughtful
and composed. It goes places. Its passage is one of framing perceptions
and sensations, while making narrative from that framing. There is
expression, quiet but deep emotion, and beauty in its sensations.
Block will be performing a live version of Aberration of Light.
Originally conceived as an expanded cinema collaboration including
filmless 35-millimeter projectors, Block will present a version of this
piece in the darkened venue with 4 speakers surrounding the audience
with sound. It is music that both envelops the listener with its motion
and physicality and draws them in to its subtle textures and detail.
assembled, finely detailed and dramatically taut as any modern
composition you might care to name, … evoking a dreamlike story without
words.” – The New York Times
textures of environmental material and occasional surges of raw sonic
power are blended with an elegant instrumental architecture...
Compositional ordering and digital processing enter into an absorbing
dialogue with the natural world.” – The Wire (UK)