We’re proud to present brand new work from Chicago-based sound artist Olivia Block in the form of “Aberration of Light.” An accomplished composer of electro-acoustic music, Block has premiered her work all over the globe in the form of both solo and collaborative live performances, sound installations at highly-regarded art institutions, and lectures at academic establishments. This conceptually inspired work was originally conceived in 2011 as a four-speaker soundtrack for a collaboration with two expanded cinema artists using manipulated light from film-less 35mm projectors. For NNA’s 82nd release, the artist offers us a 31-minute reworked version of this material for the cassette format. In essence, this piece is as much about the absence of sound as much as the presence of it. Slowly materializing from total silence, Block utilizes acoustic sounds, including various mechanical sound recordings of 35mm projectors, blended with a palette of electronics to create intricately assembled fields of sonic depth. The result is richly ominous without being overtly aggressive, as the compositional arc of the piece follows a swelling, almost respiratory motion of expanding and contracting. The dynamic nature of Aberration of Light is enhanced by Block’s delicate use of white noise as a textural guide, calling attention to the acoustic sounds at its valleys, and overwhelming the listener with ferocity and harshness at its peaks. As the piece progresses, harmonic tonalities begin to emerge, reinforced by the use of clarinet and bass clarinet from fellow Chicagoan musicians James Falzone and Jason Stein, respectively, seamlessly integrating themselves into the mass of electronics. The quieter moments of the piece command deeper listening, to the point where the sounds of one’s own listening environment become indistinguishable from the recording, calling to mind Cage’s ideas on the impossibility of true silence. Block claims to bring an emotional element to her work which can be both heard and felt through the delicacy and dynamic nature of the recording, further deepened by a brilliant use of control, precision, power, and patience.