Olivia Block, Mike Weis, MT Coast | Hideout | Experimental | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Olivia Block

Olivia Block

Andrea Bauer

Olivia Block, Mike Weis, MT Coast Recommended Soundboard

When: Wed., Dec. 14, 9 p.m. 2016
Price: $10
An esteemed architect of Chicago’s experimental-music incubator, Olivia Block has often built her innovative work by finding alternate uses for—and backdoor entrances to—instruments, perhaps, for instance, digging into and exploring the guts of a piano in an attempt to assemble new sound. On her latest LP, Dissolution (Glistening Examples), Block twists and knots together chopped shortwave radio frequencies and slivers of found microcassettes, among other fleeting noises, to “dramatize the fragility and failures of communication and language in shaping memory and experience.” The scene is postapocalyptic in sound, the splicing together of lo-fi signals and the layering of fluttering, indiscernible voices working in fractured unison to build the image of a decimated, scorched wartime bunker. Cricketlike chirps and dull, swelling tones are foiled by what I imagine the tearing of time would sound like from one dimension to the next. Split into “Dissolution A” and “Dissolution B,” the LP keeps you squirming and repositioning throughout its 30-plus minutes as Block refuses to allow you to get comfortable or settle into any one long tone or turgid buzz. It’s quite an accomplishment, really.
— Kevin Warwick

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