18 Floors (LP)
In her artistic practice, Magda Drozd is deeply concerned with listening. The artist and musician not only investigates the ways her audience listens but also continually hones her own auditory sensibility. For her second album, 18 Floors, Drozd trained the latter on the Lochergut, an iconic residential estate in Zurich’s Kreis 4, which she called home for several years. Over the past two years, she compiled a corpus of field recordings in and of the apartment building, which became the basis for an examination of how sound produces knowledge. The result challenges current assumptions about buildings, urban living, and the ecologies of cohabitation. In the context of her project, Drozd conceives the building as a living organism rather than a collection of static material. The field recordings served as raw material for the compositions, which were woven into eleven speculative tracks consisting of analog and digital sounds, including violins, guitars, synthesizers, drum machines, and Drozd’s voice. The music moves between sound art, ambient, and experimental electronics, occasionally showing flashes of pop, indie rock, and R&B.
Drozd’s album released one and a half years after the COVID-19 outbreak, could not be timelier—even though the conception of 18 Floors predates the global pandemic. The album’s actuality derives from Drozd’s sense of the importance of the home, which has become glaringly obvious in the age of Corona. She concentrated on what was close by when attention was habitually lavished on far-away places. In this process, she examined the constitution and potential of her home and her preference for documenting what might be over what actually defines her avant-garde attitude. The result is an album that creates a space for what is transient, uncertain, and unstable. And it creates a space for opportunities, which we need now more than ever.
18 Floors is Drozd’s second album. Her debut, Songs for Plants, was released on vinyl and digitally by Präsens Editionen in 2019. Her follow-up enters the label catalog among releases by Samuel Reinhard, Belia Winnewisser, Martina Lussi, and Leo Hoffmann. The album was mastered by Stefan Betke and produced with the help of Nicola Genovese (lyrics) and Samuel Savenberg (additional mixing). The artwork, which is based on an aquarelle painting by Drozd, was designed by Kaj Lehmann. The liner notes were written by Salomé Voegelin.
Release date: 7th May (digital) and 4th June (vinyl)
While inhabiting a one-room apartment on the 18th Floor of the tower block Lochergut in Zürich, I started to explore the house's sonic environment. My starting point was the recording of and listening to the building. With my perspective of listening and capturing sounds, I aimed to perceive the house as an organism. Through sound, other bodies and other things appeared on and under the surface, while others stayed under the radar and showed up first during the process of listening again and again. I asked myself in the process, how sound contributes to and challenges the knowledge that we have about buildings and living together in an urban environment, the ecologies of living side by side, and the building as an organism. “18Floors” does not claim to be a depiction of reality but is an artistic translation, thinking beyond what I have heard, experienced and in a further step also imagined while working on this recording.
The composition that results from this research is a proposition to think and hear beyond the expected. My aim is not to represent the house through sonic capturing but to envision a new reality, to open up spheres, to capture emotions, and to go beyond the understandable and rational.
Instead of being a memory of a place, “18 Floors” is writing its own memory, that how I hope, becomes a new knowledge.