Calum Gunn

Paradox of Choice

Mastering: Rupert Clervaux
Artwork: Sebastian Camens

from the label:

Calum Gunn looks down into our obsession with choice and the (in)capacity to handle a large amount of information.

By intervening on different strands of work—mostly small experiments that were filling up his hard disks in considerable amount—Berlin based computer musician Calum Gunn experiments here with what psychologist Barry Schwartz coined as the ‘Paradox of Choice’ effect: the dramatic explosion in choice and information have become so increasingly extended, biased and complex—from the mundane to the profound—to paradoxically turn into a problem rather then a solution, and lead to greater anxiety, indecision and dissatisfaction.

Instead of the "blank slate" problem, Gunn’s challenging take is quite the opposite: how to fit a large amount of pieces together to form a cohesive whole and keep many different combinations of sounds and textures in focus, avoiding decision-making paralysis. Whether it’s algoritmic destruction (LOCUS, TWELVES), synthesis techniques (ASSUMPTION, WALL OF FULL-STACKS) or awkward electro rhythms and future-dark-ambient-dub-ish sounds (INVARIANT, OFFSHOOT, SOLVED PROBLES XII) Gunn manages to glue his big-data-archive via a ‘sympathetic filter’. He works on common elements and physical properties of sounds, coagulating and enhancing unnatural timbres and weird architectures into an enthusing organic whole by playing with sound processing, effects and his signature coding steroids—techno-angel’s share for the ‘big picture’...