The path that leads to where we are now begins in Clara Hill’s childhood.
As a small girl, she carried out her first musical experiments on an East German Triola, a Bulgarian plastic guitar and a small plastic piano. Pro- gressing to a traditional piano at her aunt’s home, her approach remained idiosyncratic: she’d press its keys relentlessly and repetitively, fascinated by its sound, until later she started to compose her own pieces. Eventually she acquired her own piano, but remained spellbound by the noises she made plucking its open strings and playing with the instrument’s pedals. At nights, by moonlight, she’d sneak to the piano in the nursery and play so quietly that her parents never woke. She took piano lessons finally – though she never learned to read music, always playing instead by ear – but her obsession with sound was fuelled further by the discovery on her home’s empty veranda of a grandfather clock, whose door she could open to swing the rods inside. At school, she breathlessly awaited the end of classes so she could hurry home and fill the air with the clock’s melancholic, peculiarly alien chimes.
Looking back, this wasn’t real music, but somehow she found peace and calm within it, and, ever since, Clara Hill has been drawn to the way that the darker, more sorrowful sides of music can express complex emotions. Now, after a four year break from recording, she returns to her childhood inspirations – sound and nature – to combine them with the musical knowledge she has since accumulated. Imposing no limits on the directions she might take, and seeking to reengage with her youthful, playful experimentations, she also draws upon fresh musical inspirations gathered over the past few years, inclu- ding Broadcast, Meredith Monk, Linda Perhacs, Cortney Tidwell, Tim Hecker, and Ben Frost. What’s emerged is bewitching, magical and even – at times – hallucinatory, a disorientating blend of beauty both familiar and otherworldly. As intoxicated by carefully structured songcraft as by abstract soundscapes, it finds Clara Hill retracing her steps while moving forward bravely, determined to challenge herself as much as her audience. Read more