Boomkat Product Review:
Outzone headmelt algorithmic sound design fractures from Spanish installation dons Elías Merino and Daniel Del Río. Seriously advanced material that sounds like latter day Autechre being funneled down a giant garbage disposal - in the best possible way, of course.
Intended to explore the plasticity of sound, "Structures for Wave Field Synthesis" was assembled in 2016 in Río using Dutch arts foundation Game of Life's Wave Field Synthesis (WFS) system. Using 192 speakers in a 10 x 10 meter square, the WFS allowed artists to move sounds within the field: "a composer can use the computer to 'throw' any desired sound like a stone into space". Merino and Del Río don't opt for the obvious explorations of dimensionality here though, the duo seem more interested in challenging our perceptions of synthesis and space.
Across six "structures", they push and pull sound through the audio spectrum and stereo field as if it were modeling clay, squeezing it and bending it in all directions. At moments, it firms up and seems to crack, while at others it sounds as liquid and viscous as honey. Opening cut 'Structure 1' sounds like broken machinery and artificial strings being plucked by automatons; 'Structure 2' is waterlogged, with ratchet electronics splattering into pools of unsettling squelch and basement clanks.
Occasionally, Merino and Del Río form their complex designs into throbbing rhythms: on 'Structure 4', electroid splatter bundles up into thudding patterns, sounding like a malfunctioning laundromat in a damp cave. This is challenging material, and an absorbing, physical listening experience. Highly recommended.