olivia bradley-skill - music to wash dishes By

Music to Wash Dishes By (This is of Course a Metaphor) was produced by Olivia Bradley-Skill, and made for a specialty CD for WFMU's 2018 fundraising drive. 


Olivia says: 

I made part of this piece two years ago, kind of as an experiment or a sketch. I recorded myself making sounds in the kitchen, so I made eggs - I turned on the stove, I cracked open the eggs, I fried em up. At the time I was also reading this piece by Zadie Smith, which had an audio component of her reading the piece, and I just needed sound materials and liked her voice and cadences, so I thought it would be interesting to cut her voice up and manipulate it and decontextualize it and see if I could relate it to the kitchen and the idea of cooking as a metaphor for something else, something beyond the piece. So, anyway, I made that piece and I didn't really think about it until a few months ago, I found it on my computer deep in files, and I thought it was an intriguing and interesting piece, but it sounded pretty stale and boring. So I added in a layer of the synth piece by Tom Cameron, which is actually called Music to Wash Dishes By, and then I wanted to add in some more voices that would add depth and complexity to Zadie Smith and cooking, so I remembered this Marvin Gaye clip, which I love, where he talks about music and love and pain and memory, and it's really beautiful and inspiring. And the way he says his words and how he says them - he talks about heat and wounds, and they evoke real energy. I do everything by ear and I try to play around with and fiddle with different audio sources which move me and stick with me, and then I find meaning through that and see if it takes me anywhere new. 

Inspiring Olivia in audio and beyond

I want to be spellbound (held hostage, fully immersed) by the art I consume, a desire that I try to remember when I am creating stuff, too. I love big abstract works of art that I can fall into, a la Jack Whitten, Josef Albers, Mary Heilmann, etc. The music I've been motivated by feels expansive and deep and has that same mesmerizing quality: I'm currently listening to a lot of Marisa Anderson and Carl Stone. I've been dabbling in pottery on the wheel and love watching ceramicists on Instagram. It's more about the process than the final result -- the sensation of clay moving through my hands, the slow and meticulous movements, the awareness of my body and its strength. I've also been reading Fred Moten's new book Black and Blur. Dense and imaginatively written, my brain soaks it up in small chunks, and I find that I have to take a lot of time to chew on his ideas.


Olivia Bradley-Skill is a radio/sound artist who works with voice, field recordings, sampled sounds, and found media. She has a weekly radio show, which layers together various sonic sources into dreamy, hazy matter, including but limited to songs, voice, feedback, and extraneous sounds/noise. In addition to her radio work, she also has an increasing body of performance work, where she manipulates these sounds and her voice live. She has produced radiophonic works for WFMU, Wave Farm WGXC, Resonance, WPRB, and more. She has performed live at various festivals, such as On Air Fest, Megapolis Audio Festival, Trans-X Transmission Arts Symposium, and Wave Farm’s 10th anniversary event. Her WMFU show Radio Ravioli can be found here

dylan gauche - dr faustus begs to come

Dr Faustus Begs to Come was written, translated, performed, and produced by Dylan Gauche. An excerpt of Johann von Goethe's play served as the basis for this piece. Bayard Taylor's 1890 translation was also excerpted here. Thank you to Christian, and Gareth Stack, respectively, for reading those excerpts.


Dylan says: 

I really just want to know what love is, and why it treats me so poorly sometimes. Even though this is far less detailed in its autobiographical elements than some other work I've done and put out into the world, it is by far my most vulnerable piece. I translated this short soliloquy from Faust in November of 2017, with the primary goal of perverting academia. But, while putting a lot of conscious effort into the play of translation, I ended up putting a lot of myself into it. A lot has changed since then, but I do struggle with the same old problems, and I wanted this piece to reflect accurately on many different stages of love.

Inspiring Dylan these days:

David Lynch is always an inspiration, in his work in film as well as in music. His album with Marek Zebrowski called "Polish Night Music" has some really interesting soundscapes, and I've been listening to that quite a bit recently. The music of Nicky Flowers. Genesis P-Orridge. Janelle Monae. 


Dylan Gauche is a Toronto-based writer and performer. He has a movie review podcast called Film Burn, and you can check out his zines on nastymasc.itch.io. He's releasing a video game with some friends very soon, and you can hear all about that when it comes out, on Twitter and Instagram @nastymasc

chris connolly - black beach

 photos by chris connolly

photos by chris connolly

Black Beach was produced by Chris Connolly, from a conversation with Andrew Thomson.

Thanks to artist Lee Rosevere for permission to use his track "Illuminations" in this piece.


Chris says: 

This wasn’t the piece I went searching for as my first extended production, but it was the piece that found me. The heartache at its centre was all I could manage to focus on when I recorded it almost a year ago. It was so off-the-cuff that I forgot to record any extended ambient sound, which left me with only a 12-second loop of waves to work with. I decided to use this as a creative constraint that ended up shaping the piece in an important way.

Initially, I imagined the piece being led by the dialogue, as two men stumbled into and out of the dehumanizing language of masculinity. They seemed to be re-learning something new with the utmost of imperfections -- a way of being together in their pain and loneliness and longing. But as I worked with the tape of the waves, I began to see what I had been missing in own conflicted relationship with masculinity. By layering the waves in crescendos and decrescendos, they began to sound like the breathing of a restless and wakeful presence. I knew that this formed an important character who could bear witness to the powerful forces and voices that are left out whenever men gather -- especially to talk about their pain in relationships of difference with the women and trans* people in their lives.

I wanted to suggest how there are voices and forces that are acting on these men and holding space for something bigger -- whether or not they can see or hear it happening. As these men fall in and out of dialogue with each other, they are also falling in and out of dialogue with the spaces that hold and held them. They still have a long way to go. There is so much that they do not and cannot know. But there is something vital about the instinct to surrender: to fall into those surging waves as they move over and under and through.

Inspirations from the world of radio and sound and beyond:

I’ve been most drawn to the sonic landscapes of poetry lately, especially the book “Passage” by Annishinabe/Mètis writer Gwen Benaway, “Islands of Decolonial Love” by Michi Saagiig Nishnaabe writer Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, and “Devotions” by American poet Mary Oliver. And something about these times has me listening to a lot of classic country albums. (Willie Nelson and EmmyLou Harris have both stopped me in my tracks during each of the last 2 days.) In different ways, each of these speak to me about the counterpoints of love and hardship beyond simple romance, and the dignity of surviving what must never be accepted.

In the sound world, there are two pieces that I returned to while making this piece: Sayre Quevedo’s ‘Espera’, and ‘The Leaves, Frost-Crisp'd, Break from the Trees’ by Jaye Kranz.


Constellations says:

When we first heard this piece, it was at an earlier stage in its development, at a gathering with a group of Toronto audio aficionados. We both were moved by rawness of the tape. This sort of vulnerable conversation about masculinity was something we'd rarely, if ever, heard before. We love the piece's intimacy, not only in the words spoken but also in its style - the stereo recording, the feeling of being able to drift alongside its narrators as they walk the shoreline. Black Beach is Chris' first foray into audio, and we're so glad to be able to share it here on Constellations.


Chris Connolly is a producer, design researcher and community organizer. This first extended production marks a career leap into the realms of documentary and sound art, following a lifetime of ephemeral passion projects in live storytelling, poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction. As a producer, he orchestrates sound-rich stories from fearlessly intimate moments—when uncommon everyday people challenge and reinvent the mainstream cultures they just can’t abide. He has called his home Tkaronto/Toronto, within One Dish One Spoon treaty territory, since 2012.