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Unofficial

by Rachel Beetz

/
1.
Behind 05:52
2.
Undertow 03:51
3.
Pressures 07:03
4.
Hold 05:20
5.
Vessels 04:56
6.
Climb 06:37
7.
Leaving 06:02
8.
Dreams 06:09

about

Rachel Beetz - Flute & Electronics

Composer, sound artist, and flutist Rachel Beetz presents Unofficial, her first full-length album of improvisations exploring the electro-acoustic flute with texture, and noise.

“The sound of the acoustic flute was never satisfying enough for me. I would always push to the extremes of acceptability in both contemporary and bel canto playing. My performances are intensified by living on the edge - overblown louds and softs that you could barely hear. I was always wanting more out of my instrument and have had trouble ‘playing nice.’ This album is me exploring my instrumental voice by transforming it into synthesizers and layering those with noise and effects.”

Beetz’s flute playing has been described as “evoking the roar of prehistoric animals” by the San Diego Union Tribune and “soulfully elegant” by the Washington Post.

To create Unofficial, Rachel improvised with custom synthesizers made from samples of her acoustic flute playing (Tracks 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8) and also on the acoustic flute with effects pedals (Tracks 2 and 3). All of the tracks capture in-the-moment creations with some production in post. Other than the desire to transform the flute into the entire range of musical frequencies, there were no rules or systems employed in creating these tracks. Performed in the privacy of her home studio, these improvisations are an attempt at revealing the inner subconscious.

“Improvisation is also a challenging area for me. My desires for long, sustained lines and polyphony are difficult to explore on the flute. Even with a mastery of the instrument, the sounds I want to make require me to sustain the limits of my physicality. This often brings an undesired element of physical virtuosity into the work. No longer limited by my physical body with the flute synthesizers, I was able to be more in the moment. Listening back, I was surprised to hear such intense emotion. Hearing my true feelings reflected back at me, I was more able to process the world around me.”

As a composer and sound artist, Beetz’s works recreate physical atmospheres based on her deep listening adventures in the wild, exploring hidden worlds of nature and machines. Combining experimental field recordings and electronically modified flutes, her works examine community, environmentalism, and women’s work through sound, video, textiles, and lighting. Her projects have been featured in concert halls and galleries in Australia, Iceland, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States. As a flutist, she is dedicated to performing works by living composers, as well as pushing the boundaries of the instruments traditional roles and techniques.

“There has always been some cognitive dissonance for me in my identity as a musician who plays the flute, a somewhat gentle instrument. I’ve trained for decades to be able to play with that beautiful, resonant singing tone and can do it, but it is a challenge for me. I’ve come to enjoy adding some dirt and grit into my sound and have been exploring that in contemporary music for years. The first time I truly heard myself in my sound was in the creation of my tracks on Script – Rescript. Those were a reaction to drawings made by artist Nichole Speciale. I made them with strict rules, measuring every line and defining every color. Unofficial takes the opposite approach, leaving the door completely open to a moment in time. I am surprised that the outcome feels even more like my sound. It is very freeing as an artist to hear something you’ve been trying to make for decades come true and invigorating to find it through a completely different working approach.”

“This release needed a special place where it felt safe to be open and vulnerable. I am proud to have Unofficial on Orenda Records, a label that accepts and encourages sound makers of all kinds. To me, Unofficial is science fiction, representing a utopia where we are self-aware enough to know when to express our feelings and when to protect them. It is where we are free to be officially unofficial.”

credits

released January 21, 2022

Recorded and Produced by Rachel Beetz
Cover Art by STIGMA FOG SAINT
Design by Dan Rosenboom
© 2021 Rachel Beetz (ASCAP)

www.rachelbeetz.com

ORENDA RECORDS 0095
www.orendarecords.com

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Orenda Records Los Angeles, California

"Orenda Records punches above its weight... informed by rock, modern classical, and jazz, and combine these genres in a natural, organic fashion... Orenda’s musicians grew up in a post-Braxton era where musical styles are viewed on a continuum rather than as individual silos of expression."
–Avant Music News
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