How Philly soundscaper Nina Keith created a sublime musical score to the vote count - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

The moment Nina Keith woke up the day after the presidential election, she began making music.

The Philadelphia multi-instrumentalist and composer had experienced a stressful 24 hours, and sought out release in her work. “I wanted to create something as an anxiety salve for myself and hopefully others,” she tells us via email.

Around this time, she also stumbled across the Philadelphia City Commissioners’ video feed from the ongoing count of mail-in ballots. “I found the live stream to be a good alternative to the doom-scrolling.” And so she made a score, using piano, synthesizers and cello “while extremely sleep deprived.”

The results first popped on our radar thanks to a Tweet from WHYY’s Peter Crimmins. The short video shows a room in the convention center filled with folding tables and counting machines, yellow vest-clad election officials calmly walking back and forth between them carrying boxes of ballots as warm synthesizer chords hum, soothing notes ping, and subtle beats shuffle. It’s most easily comparable to the incidental music style of Brian Eno’s Music for Airports and Music for Installations, where sublime sounds are designed with a meditative physical space in mind.

Today, Nina Keith posted the recording to Bandcamp — both a 4-minute version, and a 22-minute extended loop, along with a YouTube link to the live feed so you can score the count yourself as it unfolds. She’ll be donating Bandcamp sales to the Philadelphia Red Umbrella Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to ending stigma and violence towards sex workers. Tomorrow is another Bandcamp Friday, where the streaming service waives its fee, donating all proceeds directly to artists.

Learn more here, and listen / watch below. For additional fun, check out Keith’s latest version of the score on Twitter, with an introduction featuring the viral “BBQ Beer Freedom” protester.

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