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

The Fractal Voice

Rotating shards courtesy of Boston-based Erika Nesse

Erika Nesse makes fractal music. She imposes intricate, self-reflexive patterns upon pre-existing material, breaking it like mirror that has shattered, except this shattered mirror has been reformed into a gleaming, spinning, geometrically intricate and fascinating mirror ball. The ball goes round and round, speeding up, slowing down, shifting suddenly, and all the while shooting back tiny sliver segments of the source material that is reflected in it. Well, sonically speaking.

In Nesse’s hands, a simple vocal tone can be turned into a momentous rhythmic figure, shifting endlessly between variations subtle and stark. This piece, “Kyrie (Geometric Clouds),” takes its fractal methodology from the image that serves as the track’s cover art. As Nesse decodes the image in a brief accompanying note: “An audio clip is split into fragments. Up and down represents the location in the clip where the fragment starts. Left to right represents time within the track. Many layers of the fragment starting at different times are stacked together, creating an echo effect.” Listen for the patterns. Then take a deep breath, step back, and listen to it as a multi-movement composition with echoes of Scott Johnson (vocal cutups) and Philip Glass (hyper-charged minimalism).

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/conversationswithrocks. More from Nesse, who is based in Boston, Massachusetts, at fractalmusicmachine.com and erikanesse.bandcamp.com.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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