Tabs Out | Keroaän – Pulsars in Rhombus Form

Keroaän – Pulsars in Rhombus Form
12.13.18 by Ryan Masteller

Magic! It’s when something mysteriously happens that we can’t pinpoint with our human brains, something so out of the ordinary that we ascribe to its occurrence a sense of awe and trepidation. Like when someone seemingly at random chooses our card out of a shuffled deck, or when someone teleports a rabbit into a hat with their mind, or when millions of emails disappear into the ether. Or maybe there’s no human element at all – maybe something just gets conjured out of thin air.

Take Keroaän, then, the project name used to release sound recordings of “Pulsars in Rhombus Form,” a processing and playback program developed by Ian M Fraser and Reed Evan Rosenberg. But rather than do any work, I’m going to simply wave my wand above these computer keys and POOF – a description I didn’t write appears!:

“Pulsars in Rhombus Form is a real-time generative music agent with two major components: a listener and a player.

“The listener takes as input and audio stream from the album Planisphærium by sci-fi technical death metal band Wormed (ES). It identifies kick and snare drum strikes as well as vocal phrasing and communicates its findings to the player in order to trigger gestural events and compositional shifts.

“The player consists of an 8-voice Max/MSP implementation of pulsar synthesis (Roads). It’s parameters are controlled by various chaotic maps and stochastic methods.

“The program performs with no human intervention whatsoever.”

Hey, wait a minute – that sounds more like SCIENCE than magic! Still, we get the “conjuring out of thin air” thing I alluded to above, but that whole backstory makes it all way less mysterious. Regardless, this thing is definitely fascinating – certainly as fascinating as sawing a lady in half or escaping from a locked safe perched atop a skyscraper. The cassette’s eight tracks sound NOTHING like Wormed (seriously, like not at all), instead taking on certain aspects of the band’s manic technicality and spitting it back out in some sort of rhythmic tornado. The sounds are like data blots spattered across a digital canvas, as if Autechre simply threw up their hands and let their harshest gear take over before transmitting the results via radio waves out into the solar system.

“Pulsars in Rhombus Form” comes in an edition of 50 from Minneapolis’s Nada Records. Summon your wallet from the next room and prepare to purchase without the use of phone or cable wires!

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