Portfolio

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PORTFOLIO
Marja Ahti

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”Let us unfold the animal outward: the bronchia will become a thick foliage, keeping its respiratory function, but in reverse, naturally (CO2 absorption), reversed also concerning color, from the tint of calves’ lungs to its complementary cabbage green. The digestive system will become roots, maintaining its role of drawing in nourishment from the outside environment. […] for each animal form there exists a corresponding vegetal form. The man who would find his vegetal negative and unite with it would restore the integrity of the cosmos.”

Vegetal Negatives is a game of sonic mutations, mimicry, inversions, and association inspired by a text called “On pataphotograms”, by the French writer René Daumal – a quasi-metaphysical essay that toys with breaking the conceived separateness of natural forms through poetic imagination.

The four electroacoustic compositions on the album combine and arrange field recordings, electronic feedback, Buchla and ARP synthesizers, bowl gong and harmonium, textures of detailed acoustic sound, and sustained tones with gentle microtonal beating into a precise musical narrative. She juxtaposes recordings of rooms and empty vessels, natural and artificial climates, spontaneous and staged events. Ahti draws upon Annea Lockwood’s ideas about associative movements between sounds based on shared characteristics and sonic energy. Her approach to field recordings is neither diaristic, documentaristic, nor purely acousmatic, but rather it starts out from somewhere in between these notions: the sounds hover between abstraction and the deeply familiar, moving into a realm of poetic metaphor where they are set in relation to each other, fleetingly mirroring or shadow-dancing. Acoustic environments mutate into synthetically derived shadow forms.

The opening track, “Coastal Inversion”, moves from a seemingly familiar seascape into an ocean of wavelike synthetic staccato patterns, turning itself inside-out on the shore, before diving back into a sea of resonance. ”Rooftop gardens” arranges a series of largely unprocessed field recordings into a dream-logic sequence of upward movement towards the clouds. On the other side, ”Symbiogenesis” brews a slow evolution of wet, airy and earthy sounds and resonant friction. The closing track, ”Chora”, imagines a meditative space of breath: filter resonance posing as organ pipes against a backdrop of breezy industrial hoovers merges halfway with a harmonium improvisation that foregrounds the frictions of the wooden instrument itself, just before filtering out into resonant harmony.

Released March 29 2019 via Hallow Ground

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Vegetal Negatives reviewed by Julian Cowley in The Wire, May 2019

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Entering a Cloud is a twenty minute piece, commissioned by the Australian Longform Editions series, that draws inspiration from the cycles of liquid in the atmosphere and in the body. A strange substance trickles, evaporates, condensates, crystallizes, melts and coagulates into slime. It is also a carrier of vibration and resonance. Inside the cloud visibility ends at arms length and we orientate through our other senses. Listening is both a form of investigation and a form of empathy.

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Äänimaailma Parantava astia – esityksestä

Parantava astia on Essi Kausalaisen yhteistyö säveltäjä Marja Ahdin ja performanssitaiteilija Florian Feiglin kanssa. Se on esitys kolmelle kaksijalkaiselle ja heitä kannatteleville tukirakenteille, äänentoistolaitteistolle, tekstille ja modifioiduille äänimassoille. Teoksen nimi viittaa parantamistraditioon, joka operoi erityisillä äänitaajuuksilla ja niiden synnyttämällä resonanssilla. Se viittaa kulhoon soittimena sekä sekoittamisen ja sekoittumisen paikkana.

Parantava astia on epälooginen esitys veden syklisestä liikkeestä, mutaatioista ja myötävärähtelystä – solutason kommunikaatiosta. Se kiipeää ylös vuorenrinnettä, virtaa hikinoroina, sanoina ja äänipuroina. Se muuttaa muotoaan veden tavoin haihtuen, kasautuen ja kiteytyen. Myötävärähtelyn tila syntyy kappaleen altistuessa ulkopuolisen voiman taajuudelle. Kun systeemien, kuten magneettikenttien, koneiden, rakenteiden, ruumiiden tai soivien kulhojen ominaisvärähtelytaajuus on keskenään sama, tai lähes sama, saavutetaan resonanssi. Kohtaaminen voimistaa kappaleiden värähtelyn erityisen suureksi liikkeeksi, jonka voima voi yhtä lailla olla hajottava tai hoivaava.

Ihmiskorva tunnistaa kulhon värähtelyn soivina harmonioina, mutta ääni on myös kosketusta ja liikettä. Se etenee aineen halki aaltoina, kuten vesi tai lima, sitoen yhteen toisistaan irrallaan olevat ruumiit. Ääni rytmittyy äänteiksi, kieleksi ja soinneiksi, merkityksiksi, jotka pilven tavoin hajaantuvat ja kasautuvat, satavat rankkasateina ja tulvivat yli. Resonoiva ruumis on huokoinen astia, joka vuotaa. Vetisen koostumuksensa kautta se kytkeytyy osaksi laajempaa sykliä laajentuen tilassa ja ajassa, menettämättä silti muotoaan.

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Tsembla’s fourth album The Hole In The Landscape (NNA Tapes, 2018) takes as a thematic starting point the deep time of geological processes in contrast to the fleeting lifespan of the human mind and heart – the light fluctuations and deep dents of personal or collective thought and emotion, from the perspective of the slow formation of mountains built by shells, dead organisms or fossilized bacteria, and then carried away by wind or water. The idea of a hole in a landscape can manifest as a hollow desert rock formation, or a sense of personal or collective loss. In either case, there is an absence surrounded by presence. Loss carves a gap in our mental landscape, but simultaneously transforms what is left and infuses it with new meaning. 

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Terror & Healing (New Images, 2015) is a string of mind adventures, ten miniatures of possibilities, a bunch of invisible cities and imaginary beings. It’s a contribution to the exploring and unmapping of reality through imaginative research, making the ears like the fingers of the blind, piecing the multitude back into music.

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Nouskaa henget (New Images, 2013) consists of loosely assembled, rough edged compositions, rich in details, that come together into odd instrumental miniatures in an almost-pop format and venturing into fourth world territory. Two of the tracks on the album are made in collaboration with flute wizard Antti Tolvi (of Rauhan Orkesteri, Lauhkeat Lampaat etc.) layering up Tolvi’s overdubbed flutes with hand percussion, samples and electronics.

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Tsembla: Gravitating Bones, Leah Beeferman, 2018

From The Hole In The Landscape, 2018

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Tsembla: Penumbra, Katri Sipiläinen, 2018

From The Hole In The Landscape, 2018

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Tsembla: Alejandro, Tuomo Tuovinen & Jonna Karanka, 2015

From Terror & Healing, 2015.

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Tsembla: Viikunakatedraali, Mikko Kuorinki, 2012

From Nouskaa henget! 2013

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