Cyrnai

About Cyrnai

Cyrnai is the solo project of Carolyn Fok, an award-winning multimedia artist and musician from California. Using an array of analog and digital instruments, Fok builds textured electronic music that is experimental while remaining deeply personal. Her first official release was 1985's Charred Blossoms, a 12" EP of dark, dubby post-punk/industrial recorded at her parents' house. Following several tapes and compilation appearances throughout the '80s, Fok began embracing digital technology, producing works such as 1996's Transfiguration. Starting with 2001's The Listener, Fok began recording more meditative work under her given name. She continued recording and sporadically performing in the years to follow, eventually archiving her life's work on her Memoir of Sound website beginning in the late 2010s.
Born April 3, 1966 in Los Angeles, California, Fok began writing and illustrating her own books at age five. When she was nine years old, her experiments with music began when she discovered a drum machine built by her father and a reel-to-reel four-track. Fok's formal studies focused on visual art, and she graduated from Academy of Art in San Francisco with a B.F.A. in illustration. As Cyrnai, she recorded dense, dreamy electronic music filled with flange-heavy drum machines and introverted poetry. Following several private, home-recorded cassettes, her debut release was Charred Blossoms, a 1985 EP on Mind Matter Records. She also recorded with self-described "peace-punk" band Trial, appearing on their 1986 LP Moments of Collapse. She continued releasing cassettes as Cyrnai, including 1986's Parts of the Insomnic Wheel (on Ladd-Frith) and 1988's self-issued To Subtle-Drive, which was updated in 1990 as Fok began incorporating digital technology into her recording set-up.
In 1996, Fok released Transfiguration, an album and book project that focused on dreams and the psyche, on Titanium Records. Her first recording as Carolyn Fok, the sprawling two-disc set The Listener, followed on Titanium in 2001. Magic Realism, another atmospheric solo work, appeared in 2011. In 2018, Fok made her entire recorded archive, consisting of more than 100 albums' worth of material, available on her Memoir of Sound website. Additionally, Dark Entries released 1980-1990, a vinyl box set containing all of her officially released recordings from that time period as well as previously unreleased bonus material. The individual albums, from Charred Blossoms through To Subtle-Drive, were also reissued separately. ~ Charles Spano & Paul Simpson

  • HOMETOWN
    Los Angeles, CA
  • BORN
    April 3, 1966