Born in Kiev, Ukraine and reared in Baltimore, Maryland, Natalia Beylis now lives in a farmhouse in the middle of a woodland in Leitrim, Ireland where she forges compositions inspired by the noises that emanate from her surroundings. Beylis often layers seemingly incongruous sounds atop of each other to spawn strange juxtapositions and garbled parallels in her work. Her solo releases range from out-of-tune piano compositions & improvisations to recordings created from spliced cassette tapes gathered throughout her life to albums of unadulterated field recordings. In her live performances, Beylis focus on the symbiosis of the sounds that she is creating and the particular physical space into which they emanate. She often sets up live sound stations away from the stage so that the audience finds themselves encircled within the performance, dissolving the traditional directional expectations.
Beylis is the founding member of Woven Skull, a group that uses minimal instrumentation and improvisation to teeter on the brink of total sonic meltdown creating engulfing, raw primal drones and damaged rock manoeuvres; the result of which has often been described as the traditional music of a self-imagined land. Beylis also plays in Divil A' Bit, an ensemble that records site-specific compositions and she co-runs the improvised free noise collective, Three Eyed Makara with Willie Stewart. She has done collaborations and improvisational performances with Agathe Max, Aine O'Dwyer, Tor Invocation Band and United Bible Studies amongst others.
As a curator, Beylis co-runs Hunters Moon with Willie Stewart which hosts experimental/outer sounds festivals, gigs, film screenings and workshops, mostly in Leitrim, Ireland, often in her living room & haybarn, but at times in other venues as well. The list of musicians they have hosted at these events include Tony Conrad, Jennifer Walshe, Vivienne Dick, Rhys Chatam, Blood Stereo, Daniel Higgs and Pat McCabe.
In 2015, Beylis started the record label Sofia Records to create handmade editions of recordings by the people around her. So far, she has released sounds by Fuzzy Hell, Jorge Boehringer, Ailbhe Nic Oireachtaigh, Queef!, Gnod, Woven Skull, Divil A' Bit and more.
As a DJ, Beylis hosts Sunken Transmissions, a monthly radio programme of experimental bric-a-brac on Dublin Digital Radio. She also co-creates the Maghreb Sharit mixes with Willie Stewart, the aim of which is to digitize and preserve music they have bought on cassette tape while in the Maghreb region of Africa.
"Last up was Natalia Beylis. I have never witnessed a performance like this. She set up a record of nature sounds, walked around the room with portable tape recorders playing bird sounds and then went up on stage where she manipulated a selection of cassettes. It was somewhere between curation, DJing and live performance, an overall experience of wonder and awe" - Adrian Hanratty, The Thin Air