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CD Feature/ Olivia Block: "Change Ringing"

img  Tobias

One of the most wonderful things about the arts is that they don’t have to mean a thing to be meaningful. While there is nothing wrong with intellectually dissecting a work, neither is there with merely sitting down and allowing your senses to take over. Olivia Block’s “Change Ringing” is already being reviewed in Jazz- and Experimental publications alike and will very likely be featured on the pages of some open-minded Classical Magazines. This could make it the subject of a theoretical debate on modernism, post-modernism and the juxtaposition of diverse ingredients. Or it might simply engulf you with sounds and aural images of a seldomly encountered intensity.

Feeding the former, Block has gathered genres at the same table, which usually wouldn’t even dare to look at each other: There are orchestral movements, hints at hunting tunes, Jazz impros, field recordings, clicking and hissing noises and sudden outbursts of industrial distortion. Assembled freely in the studio, this singluar, thirty minute long track includes a wide array of sound sources (15 musicians have contributed with instruments from Bells to a Bass Trombone), among which a short segment of a live performance. The various stylistic passages are well separated from each other, yet seemlessly connected – a clear sign to the pensive mind that “Change Ringing” translates to a credo for allowing differences to peacefully coexist and to come together in a new form of corresponding components. To anyone else, this a fluid, focused and dynamic composition that constitutes a world of its own: A one-note brass intro fades into silently ondulating frequencies and deep clicks and cracks, subsiding into an ocean of tiny glistening icicles, before giving way to a gargling and gurgling crescendo. Metallic scratching ensues, exchanging longing looks with romantic harmonic signals from Oboes and Clarinets and then loosing itself in a dream of cicadas- and cow bells-filled idyill. Only the pristine, yet powerful finale allows the musicians back in, bringing things to a moving close.

Never a mere collection of moments, this is a scintillating continuum. It is not a necessity, but a nice fact that it equally serves the mind and the heart: The more you think about, the more sense it makes. The less you think about it, the more enjoyment you will get out of it. When these thirty minutes have passed, something will definitely have changed. You might not know what it’s all supposed to mean – but, in reference to the title, your ears will be ringing.

Homepage: Olivia Block
Homepage: cut records

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