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Reality Rounds

by Alex Dowling

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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Artwork by Angela Guyton

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four of chains nine of teeth jack of thumbs six of pins blue of ivy queen of bees
the reality of the situation is i literally just woke up an hour ago i am literally living for it today is the day
king of thumbs ten of chains two of bluebird queen of bees i’m sorry my thoughts are all over the place they just sort of roam around the house i get a little lost in here sometimes feels like it’s been forever
Atoms 05:32
i just read an article about how i’ve never met me my atoms are your atoms like the ink bomb in the money bag the password is silence the six of pins the ten of chains the blue of ivy and the queen of bees bless room 48 and the citadel in reno the place of all things i believe in free flow my atoms are your atoms like the ink bomb in the money bag through the steel door through the middle of death with the clouds at their knees teeth of porcelain and silver you’re 100% real can you please stop asking everything i say here is just my thoughts this is my tried and true this is my sacrifice from shadow to physical in the mouth of heaven
in silence, in cold in desire, of the echo
Vesper 01:56
behold, behold night angel at my door juno, sutro have mercy on my soul behold, behold night darkness on my wall crema, willow bring light to the colour upon me behold, behold night angel by my side walden, vesper show brightness in my shadow behold, behold receiver sing my praise life-giver, hear my cry
God Rays 01:53 video
God Rays II 04:15
Rills 03:51 video


Listed in Steve Smith’s Top 10 contemporary music albums of 2020

“Say hello to my first obsession of 2020: "King of Thumbs," a selection from Reality Rounds, a new album by the composer and vocalist Alex Dowling. I find this realization of a cybernetic vocal consort – created by four singers individually equipped with AutoTune and other effects, and synthesizer accompaniment – completely mesmerizing.” (Steve Smith - Night after Night)

“The piece is heavily emotive for being so nontraditional, evoking feelings of Radiohead-levels of alienation without the density that accompanies their pieces. The beginning of the piece aspires to heights, while the conclusion sends the vocalists tumbling down; the spare, unusual lyrics accompany these patterns in atypical but clear ways. Very interesting work. Highly recommended.” (Independent Clauses)

“The choir is simply amazing, ethereal to the point of transcendence. The result is uncanny, an effortless virtuosic performance that blends the best of cold digitization with the comfort of heavenly progressions.” (Critical Masses)

About the album:
After years of experimenting with electronic vocal effects to extend the capabilities of the voice, Irish composer Alex Dowling has released his debut album, Reality Rounds, on Carrier Records. Written for ‘AutoTune choir’ and synthesizer, the work was performed live by four singers, each controlling their own vocal effects in real-time. The innovative use of effects allows for a stunning array of sounds from rapid flickering textures to unusual tunings that would be impossible for a normal choir to sing. Breaths build into propulsive rhythms by imprinting amplitude modulation on the singers’ voices (Channeling II) and two-voice hocketing with delayed harmonizers forms complex interlocking patterns (God Rays).

Influenced by the writings of Yuval Noah Harari, Reality Rounds is a future ritual of ‘Dataism’, a new religion that worships the eternal flow of data. The performers’ voices are digitally extended beyond their physical boundaries allowing them to connect with the information stream and become imbued with its spiritual presence. To begin, a form of séance is enacted where the performers chant symbolic playing cards in order to connect with the Great Data Flow. From this, streams of information cascade through the singers creating a swirling blend of thoughts from the mundane to the profound, like fragmented memories ricocheting in the subconscious. They give praise for the vast data centers that sit underground like inverted cathedrals (‘Room 48 and the Citadel in Reno’ in Atoms), and sing hymns for Instagram filters (Vesper) and the fear of isolation (In Silence, In Cold).

Reality Rounds was recorded and filmed live at Princeton University in early 2019.


released January 31, 2020

Singers: Emma O'Halloran, Annika Socolofsky, Chris Douthitt, Alex Dowling

Synth: Pascal Le Boeuf

Produced, Mixed, and Mastered by Alex Dowling

Album Artwork by Angela Guyton (


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Alex Dowling Dublin, Ireland

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