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Listening to art.
Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

Caroline Park, Live (MP3)

Moving from noise to signal is along the lines of the loud-quiet-loud of abstract electronic music, albeit minus the structural benefits of the refrain. In the able, laptop-ready hands of Caroline Park, this means an expanse of white noise, one that falls like heavy particulate on a slow-moving windshield for upwards of eight minutes. And like the downpour it resembles, the noise in time conceals less and reveals more, nothing specific, just shapes, patterns, but more than enough to keep the ride interesting. As the noise moves forward, its root tone rises in pitch, for a total of four or perhaps five pitches. The effect is subtle — playing a track in fast forward isn’t the worst way to come to understand its structure — and lends a sense of momentum (MP3).

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And then the piece switches modes, like an analog radio receiver that tunes into a new station but manages to let the preceding station bleed in and under. In this case the noise continues as light chatter, like someone playing typewriter from an adjacent room. What follows is baroque, albeit baroque in slow motion. It resembles an organ solo, played deep and low, as if heard from the bottom of a swimming pool, all refracted and warped. But according to Park, at her blanksound.org site, the source material is, in fact, voice.

Track originally posted at rarefrequency.com, from which the above photo is borrowed. And you just have to love that cover of the LP of John Denver and the Muppets’ A Christmas Together in the background.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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