Geneva Skeen “Universal Building Supply”

Absolute stillness is one of the creepiest feelings. The air grows stale, each tiny sound in the distance echoes across the empty space, a dagger in the dark. Universal Building Supply captures this ghostly lull and channels it into a captivating sonic dossier about spirits inhabiting specific locations and the way those spaces ultimately become wreckage.

Recorded in Red Hook in summer 2021, Universal Building Supply marries suffocating field recordings of a drainage ditch filled with croaking frogs and rotting water with ephemeral music accompaniment. Synthetic drones sit in constant opposition, embracing the airless environment while the natural world screeches endless warnings about the end of days. Capturing these sounds, Geneva Skeen transfers this fleeting moment into something permanent which brings up the question of what moments we should capture, and what moments we should leave to the ether?

Skeen’s ability to balance the duality of these ideas in a cohesive, entrancing way. I live in a place that’s hot, humid, and still and I hate it, yet I find myself longing to venture into this sound world. It’s music with a tactile quality, a sonic environment with temperature and smell. It’s uncomfortable with a purpose, familiar without being bland. In the unease, the inhospitable spaces, a rapt focus emerges like a transformative blossom that brings peace and solace with the harsh reality. Universal Building Supply is a meditation for the downfall.

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