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

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).

[audio:http://www.rarefrequency.com/podcasts/Podcast_Spec_Ed_54_Caroline_Park.mp3|titles=”Live on Rare Frequency June 2011″|artists=Caroline Park]

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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  • about

  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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  • My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, was published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury. It has been translated into Japanese (2019) and Spanish (2018).

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