Chicago-based sound artist Dorothy Carlos refreshes drone textures on Circuit Spectre

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Cellist and sound artist Dorothy Carlos moved to Chicago last year to begin an MFA in sound at the School of the Art Institute, but she’s got a foot planted on the east coast. She studied cello performance and anthropology at New York University, and she recorded all of the new Circuit Spectre (American Dreams) in Brooklyn. She collaborated with instrument builder Brian Oakes, aka Untitled Sound Systems, whose synthesizers look like visual art that could hang in a gallery on South Halsted. In Carlos’s hands, his synths can sound like a hummingbird’s heartbeat wired through a PA system (“A New”) or the comforting buzz of a didgeridoo amplified until it blocks out the whole horizon (“And Found”). She teases out resonant textures, prodding humming drones till they shriek (“I Started”) or making nuanced textural shifts that feel as rejuvenating as a hint of cool lakeside breeze on a hot July evening. Throughout Circuit Spectre, she sustains that subtle tug-of-war.

Dorothy Carlos’s Circuit Spectre is available through Bandcamp.

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