Shenfeld’s cycling arpeggios are set to a stunning black and white video directed by Maia, created with digital and analogue filming and processing techniques.
Berlin-based composer and sound artist Maya Shenfeld’s music draws from both a classical tradition and experimental electronic techniques, blurring the boundaries between digital synthesis and organic sounds. This contrasting approach is shared with filmmaker Pedro Maia, whose combination of analogue film processing and digital techniques have featured on ‘live cinema’ for artists including Vessel and Shapednoise.
Shenfeld and Maia collaborate for the first time on the video for Shenfeld’s track ‘Body, Electric’, a track that was written during the first Covid lockdown in spring 2020 following a 10-day silent meditation retreat. The track, which appears on her forthcoming Thrill Jockey-released album In Free Fall, is written in a classical sonata form, and combines a soaring romanticism with cycling arpeggios that reflect the physical experiences Shenfeld has had when meditating.
“The introduction came through Matt from Thrill Jockey, and as I discovered Pedro’s work I immediately became a fan and thought it’d be a perfect collaboration for In Free Fall,” Shenfeld says. “I found some parallels in his visual language to my own production process, experimenting with form, time, and especially analogue processing which adds this fine layer of noise and grain – also a key element in the production of the music.
“I love that collaborating with musicians is an integral part of his practice, and the way his work offers an expansion of sound works, making the listening experience, especially in the context of a live show, immersive, inviting the listener to get lost in time and space.”
“In this video we’re responding to some of the concepts Maya explores in In Free Fall, the idea of being on the edge of falling, still movement, three-dimensionality,” Maia says of the video, which features cinematography from Fact’s Pedro S. Küster. “The track has a somewhat romantic flare, a sort of playful reference to the Strum und Drang movement – and the dark forest echoes that. While the contrast, shades, and overexposure are responding to the track’s title: body, electric.
“The main idea was to explore some kind of physical restraint, an idea of movement without moving, a constant panning shot inspired by avatars in video games.” Maia wanted the video to “explore an idea of constant rotation” while being inspired by still photography. Maia used a darkroom technique called solarization, “where the analogue film manipulated in the darkroom while processing creates a partially reversed tone and becomes a game of light and shadows”.
In Free Fall is released on Thrill Jockey on January 28, 2022. Pre-order it from the Thrill Jockey website or Bandcamp.
Find Maya Shenfeld on Instagram and Bandcamp, and follow Pedro Maia on Instagram.
‘Body, Electric’ by Maya Shenfeld
Taken from the album “In Free Fall”
With Maya Shenfeld
Directed by Pedro Maia
Cinematography by Pedro S. Küster
Special thank you to Fact
(c) 2021 Maya Shenfeld
(p) 2021 Thrill Jockey Records
Watch next: Primary Optics: Pedro Maia on creating ‘live cinema’ for music from analogue film