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Olivia Block


Label: Sedimental

Format: LP

Genre: Sound Art

In stock


Olivia Block's Karren is a two-movement electroacoustic-orchestral composition. The first movement, Foramen Magnum, is an electroacoustic concrète piece created from heavily processed field recordings taken from orchestral rehearsals and various public locations, including museums and zoos. The second movement, Opening Night, is a layered orchestral score performed by the Chicago Composer's Orchestra, with whom I recorded and worked for several years in order to complete this project. Thematically, Karren includes several personal interests and areas of study, including my recent work in anthropology and sociology. Erving Goffman's dramaturgical metaphor described in The Presentation of Self in Every Day Life is a lens through which the entire composition, presented on vinyl, might be viewed as a metaphor for the self. The act of turning the vinyl disc over to play one side or another highlights the binary quality of the metaphor.Side one of the record plays the chaotic, angular and unsettling 'back stage' sounds of Foramen Magnum, while the other side plays the smooth 'front stage' soundsÐthe orchestral layers of Opening Night. The term 'foramen magnum' literally means 'large hole' or 'large opening' in Latin. In anthropological terms, it is the name of the opening in the base of the human skull that allows the spine to connect with the brain. The position of the human foramen magnum is crucial to the evolution of bipedalism. The titles frame the composition with images of openingsÐan opening into a human skull on one side of the record and an opening into night on the other side.

"This is an album which will reward repeated listens. Olivia Block continues to impress with work that is interesting without being overbearing, and inventive without sounding self-consciously experimental." Furiousgreencloud

Olivia Block creates original sound compositions for concerts, site-specific multi-speaker installations, live cinema, and performance. In a recent feature article in the April 2011 issue of The Wire magazine, Julian Cowley describes Block's compositions as 'finely nuanced textures of environmental material and occasional surges of sonic power blended with an elegant instrumental architecture.'

Cat. number: SEDLP062
Year: 2013

Composed 2006-2012. Orchestral score recorded in 2012 in the Fine Arts Building, Chicago, IL. Gong, percussion recorded in Milwaukee, WI, 2011. Field recordings from the following sites:

- Multiple CCO rehearsals in Chicago, IL

- San Diego Zoo

- Serralves Contemporary Art Museum, Porto, Portugal


Edition of 500 with black inner sleeve, semi-glossy insert, digital download voucher and stickered outer sleeve.

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