The American, Chicago-based composer and sound artist Olivia Block arrives Notam on the 14th of June, where she will be residing for two weeks, working with compositions in immersive sound. She is the first residing artist in the new, complete with all equipment, studio Sirius, where she will create a 16-channel version of her recent piece, ‘Dissolution’ (forthcoming on Glistening Examples, fall 2016). She is also working on a large sound installation which will première at the Chicago Architecture Biennial in 2017. Amongst other things, she creates immersive sound collage with the sound of objects. Block’s works is showing an interest of ethnographic listening processes, as she sometimes use found sound recordings and text in the form of microcassettes, sequenzes from broadcast sound and electronic sound.

Block is known for her ability to bring things further by her artistic curiousity. “She uses a very interesting blend of things she’s recorded on tape, acoustic instruments, computer processing and effecting of the raw sound source. Her music is very gentle at times, slow moving and delicate, but also roaring, intense and overwhelming.” -Toby Aronson, NNA tape. She is an internationally recognized, award-winning composer with 16  releases who has performed in festivals and tours throughout Europe, America and Japan for more than fifteen years.

Sirius is as far as we know, one of its kind in Norway. As immersive sound is thus, this far, a small field in Norway, we have a big interest in inviting composers who have insight in the kind of topics, technical and artistic, which is specially connected to work processes in this studio. During her residency, the academics around Notam may have a glimpse into Olivia Block’s work and methods, and hopefully be able to give reciprocal knowledge and insight!

Olivia Block took classes of composition at New England Music School, but describes herself as mostly autodidact. She once said “I feel like I’m doing it right when the found sounds seem like instruments, and the instruments almost sound like noises”. Olivia Block creates studio-based sound compositions for concerts, site-specific multi-speaker installations, scores for orchestra and chamber groups, and and cinematic sound designs. Her compositions include field recordings, amplified objects, chamber and orchestral instruments, and electronic textures. She creates electroacoustic compositions for performances, installations and multimedia-pieces.

She has been exhibited in meny continents, amongst others installations at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, at the Wesleyan University and an echibition for the winter olympics 2006 in Turin, Italia. Block performed at festivals and toured in Eropa, USA and Japan for more then 15  years. Her release from 2013, ‘Karren’ (Sedimental, 2013) was on the top list of The Wire, Pitchfork and Artforum. Interviewed printed by The Wire, Music Works and Pitchfork’s Outdoor. Olivia Block is a lecturer at prestigious universities, as Yale and the University of Chicago.

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Main photo by Andrea Bauer