‘Relic’ —derived from the Latin ‘reliquiae’, meaning ‘remains’, and the verb ‘relinquere’, to ‘leave behind, or abandon’. This is an apt word for the name of the physical medium of Celyn June’s Location, released on label W – I (Worldwide International) and premiering on aqnb on June 15. It’s the first of several upcoming releases of its Relic series, a sculptural format intended as a viable alternative to the economically, industrially and sonically wanting physical media of vinyl or tape. “I’d had this idea for a while about building sculptures that also would act as music players with audio jacks, with the look of the sculpture being a visual representation of the music inside”, says W – I founder, Oli XL.
Though the already mentioned analogue formats similarly convert musical information into a tangible object, W – I’s Relic expands music’s physical form into a visual language based on experience, and avoiding familiarity. “I wanted the shape of the sculpture to be completely removed from any visual or sensory cues traditionally associated with playing music (like the feel of holding an iPod or clicking the ‘Play’ button on a streaming app etc.) and in that way try to cause some kind of dissonance in the listener. I believe that by avoiding everything familiar about playing music and completely alienating every aspect of the interaction, the listener can approach the music in a different way”.
Oscillating somewhere between musique concrète and abstract music, the trajectory of the ‘sound object’, in this case, seems to move from the objective sound source toward its ‘effect’, and back again: beginning with the sonorous body of music organised in thinking and ending up in the article of sound itself. Indeed, for Celyn June, the artist behind W – I’s first Relic release, “releasing music on vinyl is this almost absurd and hopelessly outmoded approach, so if you have the opportunity to decide exactly how this physical item should look and then produce it yourself, why not do it?”
Concurrently, in producing music, “working solely with samples as your source material could be seen as almost sculptural in a way, beginning with a mass of sound and ending up with this new form as you go along”, Celyn June says about the concrete aspect of music production, a process of coalescing separate particles into a cast of its own. “Shaping new realities out of old layers. Trying to redefine the attribute of a specific sound and to embrace the therapeutic effects of ‘feeling’ that new sound deep within, through what you could call a sort of cyber mindfulness practice”.
By the same token (quite literally), the idea of Relic is fitting of Location’s own themes, Celyn June says. “It seemed to me that the whole idea was based on the concept of the world being a place of decay, and the beauty and melancholy of leaving something physical behind was reason enough. What these songs have in common is to communicate a sort artificial nostalgia that resonated with the aesthetics of this new kind of medium”. **