Ongoing: Liz Meredith – Repro

SPLEENCOFFIN.

INDEX:
01: 13 March 2019
02: 21 March 2019
03: 07 April 2019

01: 13 March 2019
We open with a piece that resembles an old film loop shivering upon a projector screen. Greyscale light and splattered interference. The viola heaves like the sea, the long harmony cracked by lesions of age and dancing celluloid granite. Immediately, I’m unable to differentiate the grain of the viola from the texture of the tape. The rasp of the bow collapses into the static of a perishing spool, and combined they become whispers that haunt the margins between broken drones. Further into the piece, and I start to place an object within the film loop: a broken playground seesaw, just barely moving through the resistance of rust, world-weary yet still innocent at the root.

Meredith’s gestures are simple and seemingly impulsive. Recurring drones that whirr and cough. Harmonics snagged on the sharp edge of the looper return. Yet endurance renders them profound, just how even the most everyday objects accrue a quiet wisdom as their colours start to fade and mud smatters their surfaces. The more intensely I examine these pieces, the more I become fascinated by their ongoing dialogue with time – how they nobly accept their gnawed edges as the price of continued resounding, crackling as time compromises the bonds that bring continuity to these murmurs and frictional sighs. They endure, even as death gradually enacts itself.

02: 21 March 2019
With each listen, I discover new details within the distortion that coats Meredith’s instruments: sometimes as a sticky varnish that glosses the electronics, sometimes as a foam or spittle pushed between teeth, sometimes as a vibration in its own right, like an electric razor pressed against the wall until it complains. The two longer tracks are particularly inviting in this respect, given that the harmonies are congruous enough to slip to the back of my listening consciousness. My concentration turns to the variances in texture, like feeling the nooks and bumps that exclaim against my hand as I run it along an otherwise smooth railing. The distortion is applied beautifully, and Meredith is generous in its initial application – bringing a piping-hot buzz to the drones on the third track – before moving to more subtle modulations in tone thereafter, like the fatigued amble of a radio dial through wastelands of white noise, or the oppressive drift of painful pressure as a migraine works its way across the head. It’s enough to rouse these static scenes to life, but only just, akin to the flutter of reed beds that frame a dormant lake.

03: 07 April 2019

The second piece carries the impression of being an accident, as though the recorder was mistakenly set running. Tape flaps like a sad and tattered flag, ridged with the shudders of audio playing back at the wrong speed, moist with the slurps of cassette set running in the wrong direction. After a few seconds, it loops back on itself. Once I’ve heard it for the 10th time, the accident hardens into conviction, convulses with urgent communication, lunges out to speak to me. What begins as waste soon shimmers like a gem. I learn the rhythm and trace it. The way it collapses and outstretches like accordion bellows, albeit guided by anxious and shaking hands. The track fades out, and I play it through again. Leaning into it. This piece feels important.