Carolyn Fok's biography
“Carolyn Fok is one of the most original recording artists working in any genre today, a conclusion which is inescapable to anyone who is smart enough to spend time with this amazing recording,” Wind & Wire.
Carolyn Fok is an award winning painter, electronic musician, and writer – perhaps best known for pioneering a form of experimental music intertwining her sound designs, real life, and popular rhythm constructs. She is embarking on innovating a new format of releasing music by using a ‘memoir’ to involve drafts and final product, as the product. Today, Fok is preparing for the launch of her new website, memoirofsound.com. Although she has been featured in publications including Electronic Musician, Keyboard and Bikini (to mention a few), collaborated with artists including Elliot Sharp, Jack Hertz, Tim story, Kevin Kendle and Joaquin Lievano, she has been an intensely private musician. However, she has always spent extensive time in the studio, privately amassing 100+ albums of electronic, experimental music, field recordings, collaborations, bands, and more—and is now set to release these all in one place. Carolyn’s music and sound began with recording stories on a tape recorder at age 9, 1976. Intrigued with an early drum machine that her father built from scratch, and his multitrack recorder, she developed a self-taught songwriting approach—experimenting in a vacuum growing up in the suburbs of Walnut Creek, CA.
At age 12, Carolyn being playing guitar at church recitals. Around this time, she explored the scattering of musical instruments her father left in the living room, and discovered his Teac 4-track reel-to-reel—which set off a lifelong fascination with sound design.
As one sound engineer, who heard some recently-discovered tapes from that era, noted, “Each one of the tapes that I’ve previewed is a project in and of itself. No one tape was recorded in the same way as the one before it.”
In early 1982, Carolyn created the stage name CYRNAI, and released the Charred Blossoms vinyl / EP, in 1986, distributed by Rough Trade. Also, in 1984, Carolyn won a scholarship to The Academy of Art College San Francisco and moved into a family property which provided an excess of space to develop art and music, and located across the street from the college. However, the space was mostly decrepit for years and a long insidious time of isolation ensued, yet the pursuit of creativity became an equally insidious endeavor.She released 1985 Parts of The Insomniac Wheel on Ladd/Frith label on cassette, with various compilation releases. Then 1986 ‘Hypno-Seizure’, and two versions of “To Subtle-Drive” 1989/1990 cassette. She also simultaneously played in numerous San Francisco punk and industrial bands (from 1983-1991), including Treason, ASOM, Trial, Brainrust, Rhythm and Noise/Sound Traffic Control. In 1996, Carolyn released her album CYRNAI Transfiguration, featuring avant-garde guitarist Elliot Sharp, included a full-length CD accompanied by an 80-page book of paintings, illustrations, and writings. 2001 Carolyn Fok’s debut The Listener followed, and included contributions from electronic chamber music pioneer Tim Story, won OMNI Intermedia and AXIEM Awards for sound design, and landed on many critic’s Top 10 lists. In 2011, Carolyn digitally released Magic Realism, including guest GRAMMY-nominated guitarist, Joaquin Lievano.
Ms. Fok is also a renowned visual artist. Her work won First Prize at the Philippe Charriol Foundation’s (Hong Kong) annual competition, leading to exhibitions sponsored by Movado Watch Company, and shows alongside original masterpieces by Van Gogh, Chagall, Dali, Renoir, Rembrandt, Cezanne, Monet, Rosenquist, and others.
Ms. Fok is excited about the upcoming of her latest release, and the launch of memoirofsound.com. “This will be the mother of all projects,” she exudes. “It’s a lifelong project where new material is continually added, then becomes a part of the chronology, indefinitely.”