Boomkat Product Review:
Cellist and composer Lia Kohl improvises with radio static on her Longform debut, layering delicate synths, cello, and processed field recordings into a fuzzy, beatless lullaby.
Created while she was in residence at ACRE in Wisconsin, "Untitled Radio (Futile, Fertile)" is a dense and self-consciously lovely work from Lia Kohl. The foundation for the piece is radio static, the fuzzy sound you get when you're trying to tune into a radio signal and there's not enough stations around - a concept no doubt alien to many younger people. Kohl was in a particularly rural zone on her residency, so the FM signal was full of texture: "a rich and varied palette of drones, percussive stutters and pops," she says.
Kohl's piece rises from this base slowly and purposefully, and the crackling static gradually cedes to whistling drones, before forming into bizarre rhythms, heaving basses and effervescent noise. It's hard to hear what's a response element (Kohl's cello, field recordings, synthesizer, and voice) and what's taken from the radio; she's engineered the track so painstakingly that each sound might as well have come from the gusty well of FM noise.