Maria Chavez – Plays

Artist: Maria Chavez
Title: Plays
Keywords: acoustic electronic experimental house techno Berlin
Label: macro

Turntablist and sound artist Maria Chávez turns in her first continuous full length audio work. “Plays” is a DJ mix CD that doesn’t feature any tracks. It is a remix of a work whose original doesn’t feature recorded sound. It is a minimalistic yet complex electroacoustic work, literally built from scratch, bootstrapping sound out of sheer silence: creatio ex nihilio.

The story of this album starts with a record given to Chávez as a birthday present. It is Stefan Goldmann’s ‘Ghost Hemiola’, a double vinyl set of empty locked grooves. The record contains no sound whatsoever other than the vinyl’s own surface noise.

I played “plays” by Maria Chavez and got in for a lengthy, but interesting surprise. This was not just some playfulness or an album you just hit play for and chill out with; it’s an vague, perhaps a bit difficult, yet very listenable audio adventure, one that is as abstract and slightly bewildering just like a fascinating piece of modern art in a museum, but without the odd looking crowd that stare at it in their peculiar ways. It seems to dig up a soundscape in which delusions delightfully flow about and instant trippery could be well rewarded. It’s the spaces in between that kept my mind boggling with stuff… what will happen after this? Where is this going? Do I have to be insured before tuning in, will my speakers explode half way?

Not sure if any of that what I’ve just wrote made any sense, but trust me, if you are on mushrooms, you will probably agree with any piece of gibberish truth that you see over here and even sign it with the seal of your own approval. Hope you won’t use a sharpie pen as those marks are hard to get off your screen.

Back to the music, (or shall I say ‘the audio trip adventure?’) it’s an odd case of noise, at times severely minimal, shimmering in the lower parts of the ear receptors that are coming across as deep as the bottom of the ocean. Yet brighter sounds, or a slight case of lonely foot steps are also spotted as they are parading around in a abandoned alleyway. The balance between soft and loud is sporadic and slightly a good reason to keep your hand busy on the volume button. But the best option is of course having this trip bravely with the volume up to the most voluminous maximum; just so you wont miss out on the lower regions on this release or be thrilled by the louder ones!

Sometimes little electric flubbing sounds can be heard, they made me think of lonely grasshoppers that had been evolved into something more robotic. They are all over this work, very sporadically popping up as if they are our little Geppetto that guides us in a friendly way through the untouchable soundscape. One that feels like an electrifying organic journey that offers strange tones along the way, either gassing our sensibleness or simply providing the sounds to scratch our heads and wonder about. It’s a very fine listen, clearly being a continuous session of audio art that could be played on loop without it making you go crazy. (Or at least not making you crazier as you are already!) I could imagine it being part of some kind of art installation, or simply the soundtrack to create something visually yourself for it.
Here is a kinky link for you towards ‘plays’ in order for you to play it within your own hearing range & maybe let it be the inspiration to get you DIY box out for some fine arts and crafts, as with a soundtrack like this you’ll certainly be focused and tested at the same time :


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