Natilee Harren on Maria Chávez – Artforum

Maria Chávez performing at Marfa Myths, La Mansana de Chinati/The Block, Judd Foundation, Marfa, Texas, March 2016. Photo: Alex Marks.

IN LIVE PERFORMANCE, Maria Chávez is a bricoleur of intricate, cerebral, capricious sonic landscapes constructed through improvised sampling. The Peruvian-born, New York–based sound artist uses one or more turntables (her typical setup these days includes four) and an evolving collection of scratched and broken records over which her needles glide, skitter, and pounce. Mesmerizing loops extracted from test tones, sound effects, spoken-word albums, and myriad other sources never build into hooks; rather, they stutter or disappear into worlds of static, a celebration of the aesthetics of chance and, sometimes, of failure.

After a 2004 solo album, Chávez avoided recording her work until 2019, when a spate of new releases began to appear, offering multiple access points