Evicshen AKA Victoria Shen is an experimental sound artist who has worked with electronics for over a decade. Her practice blurs the lines between sound, visual, and tactile art. Shen originally got her feet wet working for Jessica Rylan (a student and former employee of Don Buchla) at Flower Electronics, creating patchable analog synthesizers. She cultivated a fluency with electronics, which in conjunction with her expansive interests in the arts and sciences, challenges a conventional means to “make music.”
Though synthesizers are the backbone of Shen’s music, while performing live, she plays self-made synths, invented instruments, and even acoustic objects like a bull whip. Shen is a markedly mobile performer that muddles of the boundaries between performer and audience, stage and floor. Her sets tend to be site-specific, in direct response to the physical and acoustic qualities of the space in which she performs. Her live show vacillates between moments of restraint and swells of frenetic and confrontational movement. A tightrope walk between control and chance, the whiff of danger is never far during Shen’s performances. Her sound is dynamic with a sensitivity to texture and structure throughout.
This sensitivity is maintained in her debut LP Hair Birth. Hair Birth is the result of several weekends locked in a studio creating cacophonous, wondrous synth noise with Harvard’s Buchla 100 and Serge modular systems. She tracked hours of stems before cloistering herself in a painstaking editing process. Songs like “Under The Stall Door” sound like a cybernetic rollercoaster with rumbles and shrieks that hurtle the listener through virtual space. Others, like “Bolete,” are tense, dense mood pieces that move from the queasy to the tranquil to the surreal.
Hair Birth is not limited to audio though – Shen wants the full expression of the album to be experienced visually, haptically, and to be embodied as a living breathing artifact. In a total integration of sound and image, Shen has created an album that you listen to, through its own art.
Here’s what she had to say about the limited special edition record with a jacket that functions as a loud speaker: “The art is the speaker and the speaker is the art. The width of a continuous copper coil is modulated as it radiates across the surface of the jacket, rendering the image of my face mid-performance from a show last summer in Kumamoto, Japan. The coil, when connected to an audio amplifier and placed in front of a magnet, turns the material of the cover into an active speaker membrane. The whole thing dances and vibrates in your hands as you listen to the album, as it pushes the particles in the air back and forth to create invisible waves that we perceive to be sound.”
Shen’s curiosity and creativity knows no bounds, and Hair Birth is an unbridled emblem of her inspired, joyous mind.
Price is higher for special editions here than Bandcamp because shipping is set at $5 and all orders will be sent out priority, so $10 has been added.