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Music for Pressing Flowers and Other Pressing Matters

Sylvia Shale | Music for Pressing Flowers & Other Pressing Matters


Music for Pressing Flowers & Other Pressing Matters began in August of 2016 after I moved from Central Texas to London. During the first couple of months I lived between Peckham Rye Park and Nunhead on Therapia Road — a residential alcove surrounded by a network of cemeteries with abundant flora. The entrance door to my flat supported red tulips in stained glass.

Meanwhile in Corpus Christi, Tamara pressed flowers in preparation for her exhibit, Your Name Is Mine. With a sentimentality for North American landscapes and the accompanying flora admixing with the omnipresence of London’s gardens, spaces with extraordinarily undefined boundaries — I even spotted a weed growing out of a toilet — I began working on Music for Pressing Flowers & Other Pressing Matters. Initially the mix was intended for Tamara’s personal use, her process and as is commonly the case, as an exercise in catharsis. Yet its efficacy matured. Tamara sent me vignettes of her own recordings, found sounds, friend’s playing music and droning soundscapes, and I added a selection of my field recordings from Oaxaca, Texas and Ireland. These personal fragments are sequenced within the original mix, which features both obscure and iconic recordings. Some of the compositions have a recurring presence in my life; they continue to carve into me and influence my own work. Other fragments are also found within my Ambient Acupuncture series or are resurfacings from cassette mixes to old friends and lovers. As a mix, the majority of the material is sourced from others work, which informs, like an erosion of riverbed sentiment, our own passages.

Unlike music to aid the growth of plants, Music for Pressing Flowers & Other Pressing Matters is a wake of sorts, where preservation, mourning and relief flicker between reality and fantasy.  A river pours out, drifting from place to place, separating one side from the other; one which flows through the past to blur the present. It carries with itself the silty brume of conservation, where ghosts linger and overstay their welcome, until a sense of release oozes forth or remains dormant to suspend in moments to come. 


Track Listing:


Geir Jenssen - Camp 1.5: Mountain Upon Mountain [Ash International 2006]

Jean C. Roche - Thrush Nightingales: In Willows at the Edge of a Marsh, Danube, May [Sittelle 1991]

Richard Skelton - Green Withins Brook [Type 2010]

Eliane Radigue - L'Île Re-Sonante [Shiiin 2005]

Grouper - Moon is Sharp [Yellow Electric 2011]

Tamara Becerra Valdez - A recording from the truck stereo of Willie Nelson’s “An Opportunity to Cry” playing on the radio [Austin 2015]

Sylvia Shale - Insects, Birds & Frogs in the Reeds — Lost Maple State Park, TX [Autumn 2015]

Tamara Becerra Valdez with Dorothy Peña - A recording of Peña practicing piano while in the other room David shares how they first met [Corpus Christi 2016]

Nick Drake - River Man [Island 1969]

Richard Youngs - The Sea is Madness [Table of Elements 1996]

Chris & Cosey - Send the Magick Down [LD Records 1986]

Shuttle358 - Dead Leaves [12k 2004]

Cocteau Twins - Cherry Coloured Funk (Seefeel Remix) [Fontana 1995]

Tamara Becerra Valdez - A recording of folding paper with pressed flowers [Corpus Christi 2016]

Sandy Denny - It’ll Take a Long Time [Island 1972]

Fennesz - Rivers of Sand [Touch 2004]

Sylvia Shale - Monté Alban Bee Tree, Oaxaca [March 2016]

Gas - Pop 1[Mille Plateaux 2000]

Philip Jeck - Pax [Touch 2002]

Hisato Higuchi - Watashi Wa Asa O Matteita [Family Vineyard 2006]

Tamara Becerra Valdez - Drone Zone [recorded at ACRE Residency 2016]

Mica Levi - Love [Rough Trade 2014]

K. Leimer - Stationary Image [Palace of Lights 1980]

Sylvia Shale - Tide Heading Out - Carlingford Lough, Northern Ireland [February 2016]

Jabir - Origen [Discos Esplendor Geometrico 1988]

William Basinski - Silent Night [2062 2004]

Erik Satie - Gymnopédie No. 1 [Harlekijn Holland 1977]

Steve Roach - Reflections in Suspension [Fortuna 1994]

Sylvia Shale - Metal Stairs Down to the Sea, Carlingford Lough, Northern Ireland [February 2016]




All Notes Off Sound Map