Jessica Rylan has performed around the world with her handmade synthesizers and intimate songs. Her version of personal noise presents an alternative to the habit of noise as relentless and loud. Her synth sounds are organic and creature-like, her singing unnerving and distant.
Although our musical tools become more hi-tech and sophisticated, the simple analog computers and audio circuits that Rylan builds seem more satisfying in both the complexity and the beauty they produce.
She has made numerous recordings under her name or as Can’t, and has collaborated with Chris Corsano, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Jackie O Motherfucker, C. Spencer Yeh, Kevin Drumm, Mike Shiflet and more.
In an interview she calls herself an “artist turned engineer” which sounds way more interesting than the typical opposite scenario.
Jessica Rylan is an artist and engineer. She was a Research Affiliate at MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies from 2006-2010. She has built synthesizers for playing music, and for sound installations.
Between 2005 and 2007 she gave nearly 200 performances across the U.S. and Europe. Her music has been published by RRR, Weird Forrest, Important, and numerous cassette labels.
Recent projects include a workshop to build circuits that make drawings, and a mise-en-abyme sculpture of the Queens Museum of Art (QMA), scaled to fit inside the model of the QMA in the museum’s panorama of New York. Measuring 40 micrometers x 100 micrometers, the sculpture is much smaller than a grain of sand. In 2010, she presented the paper “Simple Autonomous Chaotic Circuits” at the American Physical Society March meeting. The paper was later published in IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems-II.
She is currently a PhD candidate in Electrical Engineering at Stanford.