‘Right Error’ is required listening for anyone who digs process-based composition or abstract computer music. Parodi is a pianist by training, which makes his use of a Thelonious Monk quote (‘I played only the wrong errors!’) both for his title and his methodology entirely natural. However, if you’re expecting bop-licious keyboard jams, you’ll be disappointed. Stick around, though, because ‘Right Error’ is marvellous and startling. For nearly 45 minutes, monolithic blocks of digital sound erupt out of nowhere and then, abruptly, disappear, occasionally overlapping but more usually coming and going as if following the precepts of some esoteric criteria. It is brutal and hypnotic.
True, these chunks of sonic material show some variation in pitch, length and volume, which lessons the heft of their serrated attack and provides an almost soothing electro-mechanical rhythm. But the overriding impression is of a fiendish death trap from an Indiana Jones film, these auditory belches moving like a field of rigged boulders through which the wary adventurer must pass, any of which may suddenly be triggered into malign shifts, squishing the unlucky traveller in their crushing embrace.
Understanding the process used to create ‘Right Error’ gives us some clue to the strange and brutal codes of its deployment. Parodi basically converted the written lyrics of ‘Round Midnight’ (Monk again, kind of) into digital sound, adding the results to an existing glitch he’d discovered during a recording session, before assigning the various sonic chunks to eight different speakers. This binaural version is provided with the CD of ‘Right Error’, although, listening through headphones at home, one can only imagine the spatial headfuck that ensues when experiencing it in its intended environment. Here, the alternative, stereo, version that’s also provided works better, with some rather cosmic EQ-ing making for some cortex-mangling disorientation.
And, while imaging the lyrical ebb and flow of ‘Round Midnight’ gives us a bit of a clue as to what governs the ups and downs of the five parts of ‘Right Error’, it’s much harder to map a specific correlation. Which bits match which lines? The wringer through which Parodi puts these syllables – creating what he calls ‘sound and silence’ events with the sonified data and then grouping them in a non-linear sequence – makes it impossible to tell. (You can read a bit more about the methodology on the ‘Right Error’ Bandcamp). But that’s ok with me. Anything more would be cheesy and overdetermined. Better to think of Parodi’s method as creating a way in for him, enabling series of decisions that gave us the buzzing, bludgeoning slabs of ‘Right Error’, instead of a guide to the sonic terrain he has produced.