Video for "Scan Santo Stefano (A 27-Sided Argument)
"A Weak Force That Binds" is Blake Carrington's first full-length studio album since 2012, and the first using the moniker Russian Ark Sakura. The album is largely created using custom software synthesis in the Max/MSP/Jitter environment, with Carrington's "CSCAN", "HAE", and "GRAN_EXT" sound engines combining with ambient field recordings. Working with live accompaniment for the first time, drummer Mark Rice (Impossible Shapes, The Coke Dares, Honey Radar) helps bridge the gap between an ambient electronic aesthetic and raw, live rhythm. Also sitting in on one track is trumpeter Paul Giess, improvising on a traditional Catholic hymn.
About the sound engines:
"CSCAN" takes architectural plans of various structures and translates them into polyrhythmic sound corresponding with their structural arrangement. The black-and-white image of the plan is read by groups of oscillators controlled in real time, which convert pixel values from 0 to 1 to audio signals in the range -1 to 1. The oscillator groups may scan the plan in synch, filling one body with low, middle and high filtered sound, or they may scan at different speeds or locations in the plan, resulting in more complex polyrhythms. The CSCAN engine is used most prominently in tracks 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8.
"HAE" is a mixing engine for tuned, over-reverbed field recordings. Families of sound may be loaded -- "Cicadas D", "Reflecting Pond", "Fountain", etc -- each with a range of pitches that are then played with faders on the mixing console. The HAE engine is featured most prominently on the two opening tracks.
"GRAN_EXT" stands for Granular Extender and is a method of stretching sounds in real time using a windowed granular synthesis technique. It is used only on track two to create the various insect sounds.