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The Viola and the Oscillator (MP3)

Like Caroline Park’s piece noted here earlier this week, Catherine Lamb‘s recent “cross/collapse” is a noise-to-signal work. That is to say, it moves from abstraction to impression, from chaos to form. In comparison to Park’s lengthy opening, though, the noise here excuses itself far earlier on. Lamb’s slowly bowed instrument, a viola, emerges from sinuous waveforms less as a contrast than a comparison. The attenuated, sing-song bowing yields these extended held tones, which resemble electronically produced waveforms thanks to the patience and poise Lamb brings to her performance. According to the brief liner note accompanying the track upon its release, “This is from a series of pieces involving the viola coalescing with various forms of (spectral) oscillators.” That modus operandi becomes evident as the work progresses, and the viola is heard in tandem with various tones, some in contrast, some in comparison, all in sympathy.

Track available for streaming and free download (as a large Zip file) the netlabel devinsarno.com/absenceofwax.

More on Lamb, pictured up top, at adagio.calarts.edu. Piece recorded live in Los Angeles at the Wulf (thewulf.org) on November 20, 2010.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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