Heidi Lord :: English Electric (Weme)

Each piece is self-contained perpetual motion. Sourcing MRI equipment, modular synthesizers, gongs and guitars, sampled conversation from the grocery store and her own voice, she waxes elegiac, abstract, concrete, and yes, somehow very English. One of the most successful debuts of the year.

Heidi Lord :: English Electric (Weme)

English Electric is a gallery of sonic sculptures, the first solo exhibition by Heidi Lord. Like a tabletop Brancusi or sea-rounded stone, you want to pick each of them up, feel its smoothness and weight in your hand. At the same time, each piece is self-contained perpetual motion. Sourcing MRI equipment, modular synthesizers, gongs and guitars, sampled conversation from the grocery store and her own voice (spectrally when ah-ing on “Am2,” humorously on “Am8,” which appears to incorporate a sneeze into its percussion), she waxes elegiac, abstract, concrete, and yes, somehow very English (“Am3” conjures both dance palace Wurlitzer organ and private school morning chapel, however obliquely). She aims a fishbowl lens at the street but turns it also back on the universe within the mind, as on the airy, emancipating “Am9.”

Lord is unashamedly modernist, insofar as hers is music unattached to anything but the artist’s “I” and her materials, exploring the different cycles of simple actions, examples of what can be done with different sonic objects. The listener hears her art as movement. Barbiturate tribal rhythms hammered out of bronze or wood (“Am4” and “Am5,” respectively), a creaky old violin eking out a tune, a cello bouncing away from a short-circuiting light socket. Interplanetary pachinko for spastic dance or softly shaded with unobtrusive ambient, the calm beneath the kineticism.

Certainly one of the most successful debuts of the year.

English Electric is available Weme.

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