The Ceiling Reposes

Lia Kohl


Louis Pelingen

May 15, 2023

Tracks in this feature

Tracks in this release

A curiosity towards radio transmissions leads to airy audio recordings framed in mesmerising and dense soundscapes on this release.

Air is a realm where soundwaves weave and connect. A marvel in their time, radios allowed us to replicate and transport live sound. Though an older piece of tech now, the was a large step in humanity’s journey towards rapid non-physical communication. Through it, voices and sounds can be transmitted and achieve a form of new life.

Lia Kohl, with her curiosity for radio and the freeform nature of sound, grasps recordings taken from the now-dated machine and situates them in her world of layered improvised electroacoustic soundscapes. The Ceiling Reposes – its title derived from a poem, as well as the titles of the seven tracks that, when combined, read like an assembled poem – echoes Lia Kohl’s intrigue in packaging audio recordings and improvised composition. 

There is a vastness explored in The Ceiling Reposes. Clocking just over a half hour, Lia Kohl captures radio recordings from different dates and programmes, fashioning sonic spaces, allowing for her skills in improvising and layering to truly shine. This style can be seen to be an expansion on Too Small to be a Plain, her 2022 solo record. Whereas in this new album, the instrumental breadth widens and the atmosphere is made stuffy and dense, yet still, ample space for each instrument and audio recording to breathe is achieved. 

On tracks like in a specific room – and to an extent the moment a zipper and became daily today Lia Kohl guides waves of organic and synthetic instruments to their specific positions, letting their notes weave and tap around, overlaying crackling radio samples that shift from station to station. It is mesmerising, despite how jittery the soundscapes can be, that Lia Kohl still has a grasp of all the elements, given their effervescent nature. 

Even with its density, the artist still manages to create a blanket of comfort within The Ceiling Reposes. sit on the floor and wait for storms soothes the listener with droning waves of deep cellos and swelling kazoo. Those melodies continue to linger as glitchy synths and radio weather forecasts follow into the back half of the song. or things maybe dropping follows a similar soothing cadence as well, the presence of pristine synth pads, lumbering percussions and major key piano melodies that Lia Kohl incorporates inject a new age tone into the meditative music. After a jazz solo sample is introduced for a brief moment, the back half stirs into a haunting atmosphere. The piano cascading in the background becomes faint, distanced away from the isolated field of grainy noises and splashing waters.

And when glass is there, and water, with its almost eight-minute runtime, is a concoction of density, instability and comfort all in one. Lia Kohl’s cello peeks in and out, giving space to the array of breathy concertina and noisy fuzz of radio signals tuning in underneath the rumbling low end up until the 4:19 minute mark. That section onwards is then replaced with a pleasant melody, plowing through the jittering remains of deep cello swells and radio fuzz lurking its way through, ending now with a birdsong that resolves things in the air.

The Ceiling Reposes is a breathtaking display of radio recordings and instrumental motifs from Lia Kohl. She emphasises the shifting nature of these radio signals through the textures she creates and layers them alongside her improvised techniques to let each sonic element have their individual phrases heard amidst dense soundscapes. In this record, Lia Kohl assures that these radio recordings have their own place and time, able to breathe and be remembered.