Cybernetic Orchestra Shift

Cybernetic Orchestra Shift
7
Watching the Cybernetic Orchestra members write code on their laptops in a live performance is a mind-expanding experience. They are clearly grooving on their keystrokes like any musician, but the outcome isn't an instantaneous gratification. Their sounds evolve over time as the codes collect and interact, and as director, David Ogborn chooses the events that come into focus. Based at McMaster University, students, with Ogborn's guidance, create engrossing pieces that are genuinely immersive electronica. Drone-grounded numbers like "Serendipity" float in space with high frequency "stars" twinkling serenely. Tablas give rhythmic forward motion to "Five Functions," which draws out the drums' overtones in subtle ways, while the title piece pulses, drips, susurrates and then just throbs. With the reverberant ambience of an underground parking lot, "Till This Day" screeks, scrawks, clinks and rattles, all with an underlying living pulsation that's both alien and strangely human. Joy Dertinger's mix of improvisation "Light-Frame" is a hypnotic highlight. Shift is its own sound world and it is well worth exploring. (McMaster University Recording)