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Up To The Surface

by Jenny Beck

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In the Ether 06:14
Wake 04:13


Composer and sound designer Jenny Beck is captivated by alternative modes of listening, conjuring ambiguous sound worlds that draw from nature and a rich internal world. Up to the Surface is a four track EP of electronic music that encapsulates her reflective, textured approach. Beck’s music, while subtle and inward facing, is anything but static, as various features of the sonic environment emerge to become catalysts in the gradual structural evolution of each piece.

Up to the Surface traverses a wide range of timbral territory within its ambient frame, from the shimmering chime and wind sounds of the opening of Someplace Sacred & Submerged to the intimate, processed sighs and vocal sounds at the end of Radiant Currents to the nocturnal crickets that draw us into Wake. Sound color functions as an emotional key in Beck’s music, a guide into a new internal, resonant space.

Beck’s approach to pitch is varied as well. Often focused pitches pass across the audio image like waves, guiding the undulating forward motion of the piece. Beck also builds larger harmonic sonorities as one of the strategies to intensify the texture. These vertical pitch collections sometimes function in a progression, pushing the music forward, while at other times they are simply the byproduct of a momentary congruence of linear material. In fact, the music on this release can often be heard from both perspectives, as Beck guides us through moments that revel in temporal suspension while a subterranean teleology is present throughout.

Much artistic work since 2020 has come to terms with the isolation imposed by the pandemic in one form or another; Up to the Surface certainly lives in that space as well. But it goes beyond a covid-specific expression, capturing a dynamic that seems particularly attuned to our current moment. In a tech saturated environment, often dominated by the loudest and most powerful voices in the proverbial room, artists seek solace in spaces that afford them control over their materials and expressive outcomes. This retreat can be seen as an act of reclamation over the technological milieu, rediscovering the intensely personal in a realm that is being hyper-commodified and lends itself to a detached emotional interface. Jenny Beck’s Up to the Surface goes against the grain of these trends, delivering powerfully personal electronic music in its twenty five minutes.

- Dan Lippel


released August 11, 2023

All sounds created, edited, and mixed by Jenny Beck

Additional mixing and mastering by David Darlington

Produced by Pascal Le Boeuf

Album art created by Helena Mutak and Jenny Beck

Album design by Traci Larson-Katz

Video by Four/Ten Media




New Focus Recordings New York, New York

New Focus Recordings is an artist led collective label featuring releases in contemporary music of many stripes, as well as new approaches to older repertoire. The label was founded by guitarist Daniel Lippel (who is the current director), composer engineer Ryan Streber, and composer Peter Gilbert in 2003-4, and features releases from many of new music's most active performers and composers. ... more

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