In The Greenhouse with Sophia Loizou

 

Multidisciplinary artist and doctoral researcher Sophia Loizou’s latest work comes in the form of ‘Untold’: a series of ambient compositions that explore the different elements of Earth’s relationships with non-human forces and forms.

Through these sonic landscapes she seeks to capture the relationship between the natural and the technological; leaving her own structural and compositional approach at the door, and instead finding ways to utilise sounds and field recordings as control sources and signals to shape each piece of music. 

Marking her third full length record, following outings on Astro:Dynamics, Kathexis and Cosmo Rhythmatic, ‘Untold’ sees Loizou dive further into her passion for the ecological, matching this with her ongoing work in the realm of contemporary electronic music.

In today’s playlist she charts several pieces of music that helps her to connect with the natural world around her…

The theme ‘In the greenhouse’ stood out to me as being about the earth, about being profoundly enmeshed and entangled with all other life on the planet. Each piece that I’ve chosen creates a deep sense of immersion, which I find enables me to feel these non-human connections more vividly – encouraging me to let the outside in.


Follow Sophia Loizou. Buy Untold on Houndstooth.

 

Hildegard Westerkamp - Beneath The Forest Floor

I first heard this piece in the late 1990’s and it has been one of my favorite soundscape
compositions since. The work was created using recordings taken from old growth forests on
British Columbia’s west coast, which is home to some of the worlds largest and oldest spruce
trees. Through creating this piece Westerkamp hoped to raise awareness of the importance of
these old growth forests and to help to protect them from clear cut logging, a practice that has
created vast ‘dead zones’ that emit significant greenhouse gases from decomposing matter and
soil.
To me the piece really amplifies the sentience of the forest, not just in what is heard above the
ground but also what lies below. The roots and branches of these old and enormous trees
stretch out far and deep, both spatially and temporally. I find that listening to this work really
amplifies the vastness of the spectrum of the living, and the need to respect these other forms
of life as sentient beings. The movement between interior and exterior space highlights the
known and the withdrawn aspects of the forest, whose communications may not be accessible
due to my own human sensorial limitations.

  • Hildegard Westerkamp - Beneath The Forest Floor

    I first heard this piece in the late 1990’s and it has been one of my favorite soundscape
    compositions since. The work was created using recordings taken from old growth forests on
    British Columbia’s west coast, which is home to some of the worlds largest and oldest spruce
    trees. Through creating this piece Westerkamp hoped to raise awareness of the importance of
    these old growth forests and to help to protect them from clear cut logging, a practice that has
    created vast ‘dead zones’ that emit significant greenhouse gases from decomposing matter and
    soil.
    To me the piece really amplifies the sentience of the forest, not just in what is heard above the
    ground but also what lies below. The roots and branches of these old and enormous trees
    stretch out far and deep, both spatially and temporally. I find that listening to this work really
    amplifies the vastness of the spectrum of the living, and the need to respect these other forms
    of life as sentient beings. The movement between interior and exterior space highlights the
    known and the withdrawn aspects of the forest, whose communications may not be accessible
    due to my own human sensorial limitations.

  • Bethan Kellough - Vision

    I can’t stop listening to this piece, it’s a wonderful collaboration between a human and the earth.
    Kellough’s composed violin parts, sound design and field recordings create a unique and
    complex ecosystem, where each part is intrinsically linked to all others. Her own performance
    feels like it is with the earth, not added to or layered – but in dialogue with the shapes and forms
    of the environment. Using recordings of the hisses and rumbles of geothermal activity captured in Iceland and
    recordings of the savannah winds, she develops some beautifully dynamic and detailed
    sound-design that is extremely powerful yet still feels of the earth.

  • Gavin Bryars/Philip Jeck/Alter Ego - The Sinking Of The Titanic

    I find this work extraordinarily calming and life affirming, I think this is the only piece of music I
    have ever listened to on repeat for 24 hours! The tragic sinking of the Titanic on its maiden voyage in some ways challenges notions of human exceptionalism, while highlighting the inseparability of humans from nature. Bryars
    original work was conceptualised around the idea that the Titanic’s resident chamber group played until the last possible moment, and that sound continued to reverberate in it’s submerged state, which proposes an interesting concept by which music lives beyond human experience. Over the years there have been a number of versions of this Bryars masterpiece, but to me this one is by far the most captivating. The combination of the Alter Ego ensemble and Philip Jecks use of electronics bring layers of dynamic tonality that are bathed in noise and hiss, highlighting the interconnections between humans, technology and the natural world.

  • Jana Winderen - Spring Bloom In The Marginal Ice Zone

    I love this work so much, it highlights the power and beauty of forms of life that as humans we
    rarely come into contact with, but which we are completely dependent upon to live! The original
    recordings were taken from the marginal zone of the Barents Sea, which is an extremely
    ecologically vulnerable dynamic border that lies between sea ice and the open sea.
    There are so many sounds of different forms of aquatic life from plankton to migrating whales,
    creating a rich tapestry of sonics that combine seamlessly to highlight the importance of the
    spring bloom. The sounds of creaking and cracking sea ice punctuate the utterances of other
    life forms, in a way that clearly indicates the voice of the environment is as loud or louder than
    that of these other forms of life.

  • Jonsi & Alex Somers - Wind In Our Ears

    This piece is just stunning. It feels like new beginnings or the end of a recursive chapter – It’s
    both hopeful and mournful, reflective and futuristic, human and non-human. I love the fact that it
    challenges these distinctions, seamlessly moving across timescales and through different forms
    of life.
    The textures are deeply detailed, allowing me to hear something different on each listen and to
    be enveloped in it’s blustery environment. I love the pacing and movement – it feels like the wind
    is an active collaborator in the compositional process – creating dynamic energies and
    more-than-human forms. The submerged rhythms add a natural depth and dimension,
    reminiscent of a biotic heartbeat or seismic shudder. Some of the sonic objects seem to fold in
    on themselves, creating circular or cyclical gestures – but in a non-repetitive manner.
    I can sit in this work for hours as it feels like it has no beginning or end.