Music to Wash Dishes By (This is of Course a Metaphor)

Olivia Bradley-Skill

August 10, 2018 [2018 Season]

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 really just want to know what love is, and why it treats me so poorly sometimes. 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

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