Maria Chavez is a Peruvian sound artist, best known for her work with sound installations and turn tables. Although primarily known for her work as a sound artist, she also creates pieces with multiple forms of media, including performance and visual objects. She plays all over the world, and is in short, a renowned DJ. I watched an interview with her where she said that for the first two years of her life she had water in her ears so she couldn’t hear, leading to her first memory of hearing sound for the first time at the age of 3. I think this amazing, seeing how sound has influenced her career to such an extent now.
She reminds me of Christian Marclay in her work with turntablism. What I like about this video is that you get to see her in action, you get to see her place the record piece on top of the other. I think this is one of the clearer videos I’ve seen of the process, which is something I appreciate. I also find it interesting how she lets the person on the first record talk for a little while, and then carefully plots the addition of the second record. Was it chance that the music and the words would line up like that? It seems like it would have to be, it would almost be impossible to get them to line up exactly.
What struck me about Chavez’ soundcloud was that she had so many turntablist tracks that were loooong. The one above is the only one I was able to find that was under 30 minutes. It starts off crackly, and then becomes a bit eerie, as she adds different tones. I also like the fact that this was a live-recorded performance, as you can hear her shifting and changing things in the background. It adds an elusive, mystical quality to the track, which again I think adds to the title, “Offering”. What’s being offered, I couldn’t tell you, but I’m spooked and intrigued.
This piece is more of a collection of sounds than a melody, and it’s fascinating. When first glancing at it, it almost seems like she’s just randomly playing around with the dials, even hitting it hard with her finger on a few occasions. However, if you look closely (or really, listen closely), you can hear how she plays with tempo and pitch, slowly increasing the pace and volume (and through this, tension) as the piece continues. She’s manipulating sounds into ways that we aren’t used to, and thus pulling us out of our listening comfort zones.