Google data centers and voice recognition inspire this probing ambient LP.
"Live @ Google Data Center" emits a warm ambience not unlike the server banks that inspired the music. A sample of what sounds like a baby's gurgle is accompanied by vibraphone. The gentle beat then starts to take shape, whirring like a hot laptop. The chimes grow joltier and more processional as they march forward like workers to the line. All too often, albums of this conceptual nature put more energy into the press release than communicating these ideas in the music. In this sense, "Live @ Google Data Center" is a triumph. The track truly seems to capture a sense of the place, full of buzzing warmth and possibility, mechanistic precision and subtle corruption.
The other track, "Voice Recognition DoS Attack," makes music out of a tool Kidel designed to scramble voice recognition software. In an age where access to your phone or computer's built-in mic is often asked for and granted, the patch could, in theory, protect your conversations from surveillance. It does so with tiny units of speech called phonemes—they're the little sounds at the beginning and ends of words that differentiate "bad" from "bat," or "thumb" from "dumb." Throughout "Voice Recognition DoS Attack," you'll hear fragmented shards of speech cut in and out. The vocals have a clanging industrial quality, like steel rods falling into a pile. It sounds like a machine's attempt at free jazz. But the record is more listenable than that comparison suggests. Besides the seamlessly executed concept, that's Silicon Ear's greatest strength.