Alexandra Spence – A Necessary Softness

Photo by Nick Langford

Sydney based artist Alexandra Spence creates a cascade of inter-relational sound worlds with her new edition A Necessary Softness. Waves of sound cycle into and out of phase with each other, field record- ings revealing a sense of location adrift. It’s a record that is rooted in performance and in the gestures of the body. It’s also a record of sensing and being sensed, a reaching out into the world and a willing- ness to allow the world to reach inward.

A Note From Alexandra…

I have a near-spiritual obsession with the animation of material and object through sound. A necessary softness is my attempt to hold onto and translate through sound this fascination with material, object and place.

I like to imagine sound as a transient thread – unravelling and connecting our isolated homes, our objects, our bodies – degrading, changing form and leaving traces along the way. A necessary softness presents the shifting soundscapes of real and imagined places; tactile objects amplified to merge with sounds made by resonant bodies and digital processing, slowly unravelling into ambient landscape.

tidewater and bell, fern both began and were inspired by places in which I resided for a long (Vancouver) or a short time (Hong Kong). And both developed through performances presented over the past few years, beginning with a solo set at Destroy Vancouver in April 2016, intertwining in a performance at 20? in Hong Kong, June 2019, and solidifying with the launch of an album at the Petersham Bowlo in Sydney, August 2019.

A necessary softness is built of materials repeating and retelling, two performances-come compositions with a shared synergy. In a way, bell, fern was birthed from tidewater, exploring it’s own narrative whilst sharing in tidewater’s structure. They exist in a kind of parallel/binary form and my intention is that the cassette may be played in either direction. While, the digital fragmentation of the tracks allows for a more modular approach – chapters of a story to be entered into at any point.

A necessary softness, over and over, in homage to material and place.

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