The Blue of Distance is a phrase coined by Rebecca Solnit in her book A Field Guide to Getting Lost referring to the phenomenon that gives far away mountains their color due to the dissipation of light particles over distance, or what Solnit rather poetically refers to as “the light that gets lost” but which “gives us the beauty of the world, so much of which is in the color blue”. The poignancy of her observation is further revealed as she goes on to describe blue as “the color of solitude and of desire, the color of there seen from here, the color of where you are not”. It is a an emotionally resonant metaphor and one that composer Elori Saxl has chosen for her new album of the same title which she says began as a meditation on the effect of technology on our relationship with land, nature, & place but ultimately evolved to be more of a reflection on longing and memory.
Born in the age of the internet, Elori was specifically interested in exploring what it means to have grown up contemporaneously with technology that allow us to access distant people and places without being physically present and how that affects the personal experience of memory formation. As she shares with us, the project was written in two halves from two very different perspectives.
The Blue of Distance began as a meditation on the effect of technology on our relationship with land/nature/place but ultimately evolved to be more of a reflection on longing and memory. It combines digitally-processed recordings of wind and water with analog synthesizers and chamber orchestra. I wrote half the piece in the Adirondack mountains of northern New York in summer surrounded by lakes, rivers, and moss-covered forest floors, and the other half on a frozen island in Lake Superior in deep winter looking back at videos from my summer (which is where the processed audio comes from). I tried to remember what it had felt like to be there. Thinking about questions of reality vs imagination/ physical vs digital/ and the ways in which memory shifts through both our minds and technology.Elori saxl
And here now is the first preview of the album, the song “Wave I” along with a video directed & edited by Elori that deftly ties into the conceptual & musical themes of the album. It perfectly complements the stark but elegant minimalism of the piece as she parallels undulating electronics with wind instruments to haunting effect.
In the Blue of Distance will be available on January 22, 2021 on Western Vinyl on CD and a limited “cloudy clear” vinyl LP edition as well as digital download & streaming. The album was mastered by Taylor Deupree. In addition to her solo recordings, Elori has composed music for commercials and radio as well as directing films for the New Yorker and Slate. She is also a member of the trio Alpenglow.