Premiere: Emah Fox "The Light Gets In"

We’re beyond excited to be premiering the new video from Melbourne based artist, Emah Fox. The Light Gets In really showcases Emah’s diversity as an artist - steering away from electronic pop into more sound design and video work. As Emah puts it, the video is a written as an ‘abstract environmental light and sound exploration’ of her home city, Melbourne. These will be eerily familiar sounds to anyone who calls this place home, as the audio is built solely from field records of tram journeys. The video is surreal, yet grounded in familiarity at the same time, and is part of A Thousand Tones - a 40 track compilation featuring music made by cis women, trans women, trans feminine and non-binary composers from around the world and presented by Elestial Sound and Eastmint.

We always believe the artist describes their work best, so here is an excerpt from Emah explaining the piece to Natasha Home of Elestial Sound;

“The idea came to me when I noticed the way that, at dusk and dawn, the lights outside the tram - office lights in skyscrapers and the streetlights, billboards etc - would be fading or illuminating in opposition to the natural light of the sky, and how at these transitioning times the lights inside the tram would also shift in focus and intensity against those contrasts. I started to take footage just of the light in the windows as the transitions fascinated and entranced me, especially at times like peak hour, when everyone is so tired and worn out, there was this incredibly beautiful dance happening if you only knew to look for it. I started planning a deliberate series of tram journeys simply to record this - starting at the edges of the central tram grid, just before dawn, or just before dusk, and in the time it took to reach the other side of the city’s outskirts, the transition was complete. I took a field recorder to capture the audio and used my iPhone to capture the light - and I documented all of the different classes of tram that run through the city. They all had different light and sonic qualities. Listening to the hours of recordings I had I earmarked the moments which stood out to me - sometimes this would be the low rumble of a tram waiting at the lights, or the sound of a Myki (electronic ticket) being validated or rejected, the sound of a stop being requested, the rattle of windows or doors opening, the white noise of crowds talking to each other or on their phones, embarking and disembarking. At certain moments everything would suddenly converge into an inadvertent rhythm or melody, and the stressful mundanity was suddenly an orchestra. 

I composed the piece by weaving together these moments to create an abstract emotional narrative, focussing on the beauty and calm that noticing these small moments gave me. When I was working on this I had no secure living situation, was dealing with some trauma, and in many ways was working hard trying to find a way to feel safe and at peace - in the world, in the environments I was passing through and never settling in, and in my own body which I carried with me always. I was trying to find a way to remain open and vulnerable in the best of ways, while keeping a strength and groundedness during a time when everything was uncertain and some things were decidedly unsafe. For me that active listening and looking has often been a self-protective, guarded act - scanning the horizon for danger, staying alert and vigilant - but active listening and looking can also be seeking to discover beauty, sanctuary, sacredness, where it is least expected.”

If you’re in Melbourne, the compilation launch will be happening this Sunday 26th of Feb at Eastmint and will bring together 8 acts from the compilation; OK SureToyah HoetzelCold Hands Warm HeartAviva Endean & Evelyn Ida MorrisEmah FoxThe PersonSha She and Quadrifid plus an art installation by Courtney Blackness. More info over here.

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