Right Error (Migro Records; DL/USB ‘Circuit Board’ CD)
Housed inside a simple clear CD jewel case is an edition of only 100, it’s Claudio Parodi‘s Right Error on a USB that’s hidden inside a CD designed by Vincent Oliver to look like a circuit board. The design is a spectacularly sly innovative deceptive packaging that says digital information with a capital ‘D’ from the outset. Once plugged there are three audio formats; stereo, binaural and quadraphonic to suite every audiophiles fantasy. Also included are various texts, visuals and pcb files. Parodi calls it, “an aleatoric electronic composition“. I do not have a sophisticated sound system, so I hope I can do justice to the components, though I am going to focus on the sounds packed away inside, let’s press play and see what happens….
For this review I’m listening to the AIFF files for best results. Keep in mind that this was released in 2017, and at press time only one physical copy is left remaining here. If you enjoy blocky, synthetic sound waves this will be a main course as the classically trained Parodi plays on digital frequencies with atonal gusts of flat sound signatures, changing pitch and suppressing and switching left/right channels on and off, over and over. The titles on Right Error are basically only identified as Part(s) 1-5. The poker-faced composition seems to occupy space, foreground, sides, front and flipping between, not too unlike a hearing test. It’s almost as though it’s scanning the space to determine dimensions and copy and clone them in some way.
“The inspiration for Right Error comes from a story about late great Thelonious Monk. After a solo performance, Monk looked very upset. When asked why, his answer was: “I played only WRONG errors!”. This means that right errors are possible…” Since I share a birthdate with Mr. Monk, I am curious about this concept, a double negative potentially cancelling itself out. I take the composer’s comments, both the inspiration, and the current work playing, as a wry comment on sound in and of itself. How can it be “wrong” if it were your own creative work, played by your own hands?
That said, the old adage of ‘practice makes perfect’ duly applies, especially if it’s a live performance in question. Parodi further explains that “the right error was made by a Schoeps CMC6 MK4 microphone during a recording session…Listening to the recording, at the very beginning a noise appeared, though no sound was yet played.” A ghost in the machine? Parodi took the “error” here, in the same way that Rauschenberg man-handled his 1953 ‘Erased de Kooning‘ and stretched it to over 41 minutes in a stroke of meta brilliance. Nods.
On Right Error Part 3 we are left with only the most micro punctuation, barely audible blips. This is a didactic sound-loop moving from left to mid to right, alarm like, but like a distant buzz that suddenly three-quarters into it thrusts into the speakers as if it were alive and wanted out. These brief pulsing erasures are like non-harmonic beats, separated, shifting in volume, sometimes slightly overlapped. The silences throughout hold near as much weight as the tenuous feedback, pops and clicks. On the final part something granular this way comes, reminiscent of either Ryoji Ikeda or Ralph Steinbrüchel. Eventually these tiny distortions are unplugged and like tiny snowflakes disappear into an indistinguishable pattern of a larger whole.