Caroline Park: RIM [vuzh 047]
Caroline Park’s RIM, a new EP released on the Vuzh netlabel, presents two works exemplifying a generative or systems approach to sound art. Both pieces take minimal initial input material and subject it to controlled or semi-controlled processes, the result of which is a complex output.
The first track, we can be what they are doing, feeds in a brief sample of a viola to a layered system of delays. The output is an overlap of sounds varying in length and tonal complexity, which in turn are fed back into the system for further processing and reprocessing. The reiteration of these more or less fixed processes gives way to semi-chaotic results. The second track, Live at Studio Soto, takes several pitch sets generated by sine wave oscillators and runs them through structured combinatorial operations. In both tracks the layering of transformative processes creates a rich, shimmering weave of converging and diverging harmonies, pitch shifts and variable dynamics, the cumulative aural pattern of which is highly convoluted. Yet there are moments of transparency when the source material is laid bare.
Although both pieces’ compositional focus is on process this isn’t to the detriment of the end results, which are pleasing in their own right. Park’s iterative structures are designed to generate relationships between specifically audible elements, and in the end it is precisely the sound that remains with us. Thus RIM shows that a systems aesthetic can be sensually appealing as well as conceptually compelling.