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Various - The Word: Voice, Language and Technology Album

Various - The Word: Voice, Language and Technology Album

  • Performer: Various
  • Genre: Electronic / Sounds
  • Title: The Word: Voice, Language and Technology
  • Released: 2005
  • Style: Musique Concrète, Poetry
  • Label: Leonardo Music Journal, LMJ CD Series
  • Catalog: LMJ 15 CD, 15
  • Country: US
  • MP3 version size: 2656 mb
  • FLAC version size: 1672 mb
  • Rating: 4.3
  • Votes: 900


1Charles StankievechMöbius Fields6:06
2Pippa MurphySonic Postcard 32:29
3Tonya WimmerScotian Shelf 12:05
4Andrea Polli & Joe GilmoreN. April 16, 20065:39
5Chris WatsonBlue Grass Music2:27
6Jo LucasSonic Postcard 11:44
7Pascal BattusSound Massages6:14
8Yannick DaubyTaiwanese Animal Phonography6:51
9Rafal FlejterBridge Vibrations5:22
10Christina KubischMagnetic Nets5:13
11Chris DeLaurentiOur Streets!7:46
12Chris WatsonAnt-Steps3:27
13Tony WhiteheadSonic Postcard 2
Recorded By – Sophie Hunt-Davison, Victoria Langford
14Jacob KirkegaardConcert Room7:55
15Tonya WimmerScotian Shelf 21:54


  • Compilation Producer [Curator]Peter Cusack
  • CoverSonic Arts Network
  • DesignPeter Soe, Jr.
  • Engineer, Remastered ByTom Erbe
  • Executive Producer [Project Coordinator] – Patricia Bentson


Vox ex machina
Contributors' Notes

Tomomi Adachi: KANA

Composed and performed by Tomomi Adachi. Recorded at Künstlerhaus Dortmund, Dortmund, Germany, March 2005.

Contact: Tomomi Adachi, Künstlerhaus Dortmund, Sunderweg 1, 44147 Dortmund, Germany. E-mail: . Web site: .

What is the border between pure vocal sounds and spoken words? A laughing voice functions as a sign but it is not a word. What is the border between a meaningful sound and nonsense noise? When the recorded reading of a text is distorted, there is a moment at which a sentence loses its meaning. The distorted sound will then function as a kind of sign. These borders are deliberately manipulated in my composition.

I composed a basic time structure and some phonemic combinations before recording. The details were generated by improvisational interaction between my live voice and computer signal processing (using Max/MSP). The piece was recorded directly on hard disk without any edits or overdubbings. All sounds were produced by my voice; no pre-recorded materials were used. The sound-processing techniques used were delay line modulation and sample/playback. I controlled some parameters of the signal-processing patch using a MIDI controller in real time, but they contain some elements I could not control precisely; the consequent sounds balance between controllability and unpredictability. In the latter part of this piece, the basic phonemic structure in Japanese pronunciation is followed; every consonant has a vowel. Listeners who understand Japanese will find some meaningful words from these sounds, but as a sentence, the sounds are almost nonsense. The title KANA forms the final sounds of this piece, predicating many meanings in Japanese, including “may,” “metal” and “Japanese syllable letters.”

Tomomi Adachi, born in 1972, is a performer/composer, sound poet and video artist. He studied philosophy and aesthetics at Waseda University, Tokyo. Known for his versatile style, he has performed improvised music (solo as well as with numerous musicians) and contemporary music (works by John Cage, Dieter Schnebel, etc.) with voice, computer and self-made instruments in Japan, the U.S.A. and Europe. He performed the Japanese premiere of Kurt Schwitters's Ursonate. He has also composed works for his punkish choir group Adachi Tomomi Royal Chorus and has collaborated with many dancers and dance companies. His video work has been screened at European film and video festivals. His CDs include the solo album sparkling materialism (naya records), and, with the Adachi Tomomi Royal Chorus, nu (naya records) and yo (Tzadik). He recently has been working in Japan and Germany.


Américo Rodrigues: O som que circula nas veias

Written and performed by Américo Rodrigues (voices, pumpkin stalk, electronics and sound poetry). Recorded, mixed and mastered by César Prata, Reque Rec Studios, Portugal, March 2005.

Contact: Américo Rodrigues, Rua Mouzinho de Albuquerque, 59, Third Floor Esq., 6300 Guarda, Portugal. E-mail: .

The piece O som que circula nas veias (The Sound that Circulates in the Veins) belongs to a work that I named Aorta tocante (Playing Aorta). In this recent work, edited in Portugal, I use my voice, electronics and a vegetable instrument commonly called “pumpkin trombone,” which is, very simply, a pumpkin stalk. This “trombone” is an ephemeral toy, with a short life that poses a stimulating challenge to its users. One starts by cutting the stalk from a pumpkin, preserving the membrane, which, when blown, vibrates in a unique way. Each tube has its own voice. To the voices of the tubes I added my own voice, my own voices. The tubes/stalks of the pumpkins, sticky on the inside, look like the arteries of the body that carry blood and other fluids. This association between the vegetable tubes and the body’s tubes (some of which carry the sound of speech) led to the Aorta tocante. What I now do I call sound poetry and vegetable music. To create these pieces, I also studied the shamanistic traditions of several parts of the world. My vocal work is inspired by those practices.

In this project I use words in my first language (Portuguese) and voices of the world in a kind of cosmic communication. The pumpkin stalk is a source of sound, used as a wind instrument but also as a percussion instrument, in a rhythm that induces the search of ecstasy. I used more than a hundred tubes in Aorta tocante, thus building a big pipe organ. I also used the sound of the friction of the tubes against each other and the sound of their own destruction.

In O som que circula nas veias I use this poem:

The water that circulates in the body/The water that circulates in the veins/The sound that circulates in the body/The sound that circulates in the veins/The sound that circulates in the water/The water that circulates in the sound/The sound that circulates in speech/The speech that circulates in the veins/The words that circulate in the water/The words that circulate in the sound/The sound that circulates in the words/The words that circulate in the veins/The letters that circulate in the words/The words that circulate in the words/The words that circulate in the letters/The water that circulates in the letters/The letters that circulate in the letters/The water that circulates in the water/The music that circulates in the words/The water that circulates in the music/The music that circulates in writing/The writing that circulates in the body/The sound that circulates in the sound/The blood that circulates in the words/The music that circulates in the veins/The blood that circulates in writing/The writing that circulates in speech/The words that circulate in the voice/The voice that circulates in speech/The voice that circulates in the body/The voice that circulates in the blood.

To the poem I added the sound of the pumpkin stalks and, in a dominating crescendo, a recording I did in the State of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, of an African ritual, presented by the group Coco de Zambê de Tibau do Sul. The words of the poem overlap each other until they are suffocated by the rhythm of the drums and the voices.

Américo Rodrigues was born in 1961, in Guarda, Portugal. He has done experimental work with his voice since 1979, when he worked with actress Catherine Dasté in Paris. He is a sound poet with several books and object-poems published. He has participated in musical and vocal improvisation sessions with Carlos Zíngaro, Günter Müller and Silvia Barrios, among many others. He has edited the CDs O despertar do funâmbulo (The Rise of the Funambulist) ; Trânsito local, trânsito vocal (Local traffic, Vocal Traffic) (with Jorge dos Reis; and Aorta tocante (Playing aorta) . In 2003 he edited a record of sound poetry, Escatologia (Eschatology). In 2001 he created two sound-poetry shows, Como um relâmpago and Chamamento (Like Lightning and Calling). He is the artistic director of Teatro Municipal da Guarda. Rodrigues has presented his work at several festivals in Europe and South America.


Christian Bök: Excerpt from Mushroom Clouds (from The Cyborg Opera).

Composed and performed by Christian Bök. Recorded by Sean Gamble at the Rozsa Centre in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, March 2005.

Contact: Christian Bök, 401--1818 14th Street SW, Calgary, AB, T2T 3S9, Canada. E-mail: .

The Cyborg Opera is a long poem in progress---a linguistic soundscape that arranges words, not according to their semantic meanings, but according to their phonetic valences, doing so as a literary response to the ambient chatter of technology. While the title of the poem suggests that this work might constitute a libretto, the word “opera” in this case abbreviates a technical “operation” that strives to imagine a hitherto undreamt poetics of electronic musicality. When avant-garde poets resort to a musical metaphor in order to explain their activity, they often cite jazz as the prime model for their own use of improvised methods and syncopated rhythms, but despite the important influence of this music upon such avant-garde poets, jazz for me has become a nostalgic, if not antiquated, paradigm for my own practice. I think that, in order to explain ourselves through music, poets today may have to adopt a genre better suited to expressing our millennial anxieties in an era now driven by the hectic tempos of our most advanced, robotic devices.

The Cyborg Opera uses words to compose a kind of “spoken techno” that emulates the mechanical rhythms and cacophonic melodies heard in the pulse of our machines. Mushroom Clouds, for example, consists of an excerpt from a longer sample of this opera---a sample inspired by the acoustic ambience of a whimsical videogame, like Super Mario Bros. by Nintendo. While Japan has so far remained the only country on the planet to suffer atomic attack, the nation has, eerily enough, chosen to counterstrike, not with its own military weapons of mass destruction, but with its own cultural symbols of cute disposition: Hello Kitties and animé girlies. The poem responds to this modern milieu of global terror by combining, purely for phonic effect, silly words from the popular culture of globalized capitalism, doing so in order to suggest that, under atomic threat, life itself has taken on the cartoonish atmosphere of our pinball arcades. I imagine that this “aria” in the poem constitutes a kind of videogame that I play through the activity of speaking aloud.

Christian Bök is the author of Eunoia (Coach House Books, 2001), a work of experimental literature that has won the Griffin Prize for Poetic Excellence . Crystallography (Coach House Press, 1994), his first book of poetry, earned a nomination for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award . Bök has created artificial languages for two television shows: Gene Roddenberry’s "Earth: Final Conflict" and Peter Benchley’s "Amazon." Bök has also earned accolades for his virtuoso performances of sound poetry. His conceptual artworks (which include books built of Rubik’s Cubes and Lego Bricks) have appeared at the Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York City as part of the exhibit Poetry Plastique. Bök currently teaches in the Department of English at the University of Calgary.


Sprechakte X/Treme: Vielleicht

Composed in Munich, Germany, 2001. Recorded live at Literaturhaus München in Munich, Germany, November 2003.
Performers: Axel Kühn (saxophone); Oliver Hahn (keyboards); Klaus Sperber (electric bass); Thomas Eberhardt (drums); Michael Lentz (spoken words).

Contact: Axel Kühn, Sprechakte X/Treme, Ganghoferstrasse 56, 80339 Munich, Germany. E-mail: . Web site: .

The title Vielleicht is based on a communication between music and a quote from the novel Leonce and Lena by the well-known German author Georg Büchner. We used the sentence "Vielleicht ist es so, vielleicht ist es auch nicht so" as the basis for improvisational space for word and music. Michael Lentz breaks up the words by using electronic effect devices, distortion, delays, gates and every kind of variation his voice can create. We composed music that is able to communicate and use the variety of effects in order to give this sentence a new dimension. We wanted to figure out how far we could get using just one single sentence and combining it with the spontaneous music of all the musicians. One can hear a playback of voice at the beginning, which was prerecorded and played in reverse. Lentz starts with some echo and delays on Büchner's words, followed by the entrance of the band with a sampled drum line. The straight beat gives Lentz time to stretch out with any kind of effects. Axel Kühn's saxophone responds to Lentz’s performance. Live (as in this case), Lentz walks around with a wireless microphone, screaming and whatever, and after his return to the stage, the band concludes with the theme.

Axel Kühn, born 1963 in Darmstadt, is a saxophonist and composer from Munich. Established in the local jazz scene, he has played with Joo Kraus, the SWR Bigband, Thilo Wolf Bigband, Paquito d’Riviera, Frank Foster, Diane Schuur and Sam Rivers, among others, and has toured with Udo Lindenberg, Konstantin Wecker and others, and with his own jazz quintet Conception (CDs: Conception, Conception Live).

Michael Lentz, born 1964 in Düren and living in Berlin, is an author, musician and interpreter of experimental texts and sound poems, has published, among other things, Neue Anagramme , Oder (Prosa 1998), Lautpoesie/-musik nach 1945, Eine kritisch-dokumentarische Bestandsaufnahme and Muttersterben, which won an Ingeborg Bachmann Award in 2001.

Bassist and producer Klaus Sperber, born 1958 in Herrsching, worked with Edo Zanki and Ina Deter (until 1989). Afterwards he toured with the London jazz duo Acoustic Alchemy (GRP Records) in the U.S.A., playing well-known jazz events in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, New York. Since 1991 he has worked as a producer for Nina Hagen, Giovanna Deiana, BMG and Sony Music, and of solo albums in the chillout-ambient area.

Oliver Hahn, keyboardist and composer, has worked for many years as a studio musician in all areas from metal to pop, having worked with Robben Ford, Peter Erskine Michael Fitz among others. He has gone on tour with such cabaretists as Werner Schneyder, Dieter Krebs, and Dr. Ringsgwandl, written music for film and theater, and produced children's records with Wilfried Grote (Lieder mit Mupf für aufmüpfige Kinder); from 1992 to 1996 he was a keyboardist on "Thomas Gottschalk's Late Night Show" and with the singer Petra Scheeser makes up the writing team PAO.

Thomas Eberhardt, drums, percussion and miscellaneous effects, has worked for many years as a session and concert musician in Munich.


Vincent Barras and Jacques Demierre: OOA

Composed by Vincent Barras and Jacques Demierre. Voices and noises by Vincent Barras and Jacques Demierre. Sound engineer: Thierry Simonot. Mix by Thierry Simonot and Jacques Demierre. Recorded at @PTT, Chêne-Bougeries, Geneva, March 2005.

Contact: Vincent Barras, 48, Chemin de Carabot, CH-1232 Confignon, Switzerland. E-mail: .

OOA is a short piece about flows of vowels and gestures amid bodily surfaces and aural technology.

We try not to think of or use technology as a mere means to improve, amplify or enhance natural sounds such as those supposedly produced spontaneously by human bodies, nor even to try to create unheard of sounds out of existing ones. From our perspective, aural technology should be conceived as a conceptual circle according to which humans build listening, recording and reproducing sound machines that can exist only if we are already able to listen to them. In other words, sounds only exist if our ears have in a way prepared the way---this process might last decades or even centuries---for the sound to be experienced anew, i.e. through new techniques.

OOA is based on two particular vowels, "A" and "O," which are related to a specific history. Since the 19th century, language theorists have stubbornly tried to reconstruct the first or "primitive" vowels that the first humans on earth might possibly have uttered. They have speculated on the passage (in a technical sense, a hiatus) from the supposed first vowel ever to have existed, "A,” to "O," and then on to the whole spectrum of vowels that the human voice and resonance organs can generate, trying to reconstruct a phylogeny of the sounds of human languages, starting from very hypothetical languages such as Indo-European. In turn, OOA speculates in a more embodied and perhaps ontogenic way on the primitive language that flows out of the open mouth, occurring every time we articulate hiatuses and let them run out like the flow of some childish or barbarian or idiotic language.

In our system, consonants, which result in "natural" languages from the rubbings of different surfaces of the vocal organs, are replaced by the resonant traces of precise gestures performed on different bodily surfaces or materials (such as percussion, succussion, palpation). Such gestures also possess their own history, beginning less than 2 centuries ago, at the moment when the human ear opened itself to the sounding space of the whole body. It then became desirable and possible to technologize human bodily sounds for the first time, with the help of a simple stethoscope: to extract from the depth of the body (and of the symptoms) some cues (or signs) from which the trained ear in turn could extract some meaning. Contemporary technology, consisting in OOA of simple contact microphones placed on specific surfaces of our bodies (chin, sternum, stomach), thus plays the role of establishing them as new, meaningful sound objects.

Jacques Demierre (born 1954, living in Geneva) is a pianist, performer and composer. Demierre has developed his musical and sound work in various directions: improvised music, contemporary music, sound poetry and sound installation. His compositions and sound realizations are concerned with the activity of listening and with sound space. He collaborates with many improvising musicians (including Barre Philips, Urs Leimgruber and Thomas Lehn), regularly performs solo piano concerts and works with Vincent Barras in the field of performance and language art.

Vincent Barras (born 1956, living in Geneva) is a performer, historian and translator. He teaches the history of medicine at the University of Lausanne and sound and the history of the body at the universities of art and applied art in Geneva. He is a member of Contrechamps Editions in Geneva and a programmer of sound poetry and art language festivals (La Bâtie Festival and Roaratorio in Geneva). He has published various books, essays and articles on body theory, medicine and psychiatry, contemporary poetry and music. He has presented solo and group performances (the latter with Jacques Demierre, Dorothea Schürch and Annemarie Weber, among others).

Together, Vincent Barras and Jacques Demierre have published Au Homard, LP ; Homard et autres pièces inquiétantes et capitales, CD ; and Gad gag vazo gadati, Voicing through Saussure, CD .


Ricardo Dal Farra: . . . due giorni dopo

Realized at Centro di Sonologia Computazionale---University of Padova, Italy, 1988. Premiered at Centro Cultural Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Argentina, November 1988.

Contact: Ricardo Dal Farra, 3555 Berri, Apartment 810, Montreal, QC, H2L 4G4, Canada. E-mail: .

. . . due giorni dopo (. . . two days later) was composed by Ricardo Dal Farra in 1988 at the Centro di Sonologia Computazionale---University of Padova, Italy. It was realized using the Interactive Computer Music System developed by Graziano Tisato to access a digital file with all the elementary components of the Italian language (vowels, vowel-to-vowel transitions, consonants, consonant-to-vowel transitions, etc.) and to convert written texts into typical speech sounds. The linear predictive coding technique was used to (re)synthesize the vocal sounds.

Using unusual texts and fine control of the resynthesis parameters, I created four electronic "singers," carrying out a text-to-speech-to-music process. While in the original quadraphonic version each of the four artificial voices are played isolated through different speakers surrounding the audience, the stereo mix on this CD has two “singers” placed in each channel. . . . due giorni dopo was premiered in Buenos Aires in 1988.

Ricardo Dal Farra (born in Buenos Aires, Argentina) has been active in the arts, sciences and new technologies for more than 25 years as a composer, multimedia artist, educator, researcher, performer and curator. He has been coordinator of the Multimedia Communication National Program at Argentina's National Ministry of Education; co-creator of an electronic arts university program in Argentina (at UNTREF); consultant for the UNESCO Digi-Arts project; researcher in residence and official representative of the Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science and Technology; and professor of music and new media at several universities and educational institutions. Dal Farra has been performing using live interactive systems since the late 1970s. Dal Farra has been a member of the Board of Advisory Editors of the Journal of New Music Research since 1988 and International Editor for Leonardo Music Journal since 1995.


Jelle Meander: Al Amin Dada

Composed by Jelle Meander, 2004. Recorded 2004--2005. Setup for a live performance: one voice, one vocal effect processor, one tape, one sample and one toy trumpet.

Contact: Jelle Meander, Brabantdam 139b, 9000 Gent, Belgium. E-mail: . Web site: .

Al Amin Dada was commissioned by Josef Anton Riedl of Klang Aktionen---Neue Musik München. The piece is dedicated to the Belgian composer Lucien Goethals. The first performance of the work took place 10 December 2004 in Munich, Germany (at Gasteig) along with poems by Michael Lentz and Giovanni Fontana. The text consists of Swahili, English, Dutch, Latin and Dada elements.

A story? Former dictator Idi Amin (Dada) enjoys his coma. For a moment he's al amin (the wise man), reflecting on his acts and words while thinking of his sister (Dada). Gandhi also pops up somewhere. He knows all this is made up by a western muzungu.

A poem? 14 x “mmm,” atmospheres, (anaforen in Dutch, don't really know the English word for it, and it's much more exciting if somebody else makes up a new word), lots of vowels and only a few sounds don't really fit. Just to make sure the others do.

Lots of silence? kugoga kwingi nwa kunwesanga mpasi, you hurt your mouth by speaking too much. So they told me. Or maybe I just want to hear you talk.

Voice, language & technology? Yes. And I really really enjoy playing the toy trumpet.

Jelle Meander is a poet and musicologist. Since 1993, he has been working on an oeuvre consisting of prose and drama as well as poetry. These pieces are brought together in several works: Opus I to III collectively form the Verzameld werk (Collected works), logically followed by the Postuum werk (Posthumous works). He worked on these foundations until the year 2000. Since then, he has written two poetic pieces: Triplum (No. 1) and Slaapversjes voor Lorelei (No. 2). The compositions he has written besides these are collected under the titles Hors d'oeuvre(s), Dicht Boek and Vers Boek. These and recent books/audiopieces have been performed onstage in the form of recitals and performances. At present he is working on several projects: Krikri (poetic collective), Alies (open form project) and N.I.M. (sound structures), De Roze Balletten (libretto), He is also involved in doctoral research into the fusion of poetry and music since 1950 (Ghent University).


Jörg Piringer: en do

Composed, performed and recorded at rramp studio by Jörg Piringer, spring 2005.

Contact: Jörg Piringer, Ramperstorffergasse 41/9, 1050 Vienna, Austria. E-mail: . Web site: .

My piece en do can be seen as a lot of things: as music, as sound art, but for me it is mainly poetry. When I speak of en do as poetry I think of an art manifest through language and voice. I think of poetry without publishers and the necessity of meaning---a poetry without books and alphabets. A body poetry. A poetry of information systems.

Literature may be the only form of art in which one can see almost no trace of modernity. The mainstream in literature is still oriented toward forms of the 19th century, whereas visual arts and music have incorporated abstraction and electronic means long ago. In literature everything is still semantic and traditional.

My vision of poetry draws instead influences from dada, zaum, the Vienna Poetry Group, the text/sound composers, Lettrism, slam poetry, Henri Chopin, Joachim Montessuis, Ide Hintze, Jaap Blonk, Trevor Wishart, Christian Loidl, AGF, etc.

All the above artists and groups use combinations of elements in their work that are essential to my own work, such as abstraction, electronics, sound poetry, rhythm, noise, body performance, microphones, amplification.

Like most of my pieces, en do was written for live performance. Presentation before an audience requires my pieces to hover in a permanent state of transformation. Performing demands flexibility and reflection about the processes onstage.

To perform a piece for me means making it more comprehensible. With each performance a piece receives different twists and therefore loses the character of an inflexible and fixed work. The ideal would be to create a piece for performance without pre-recorded material or even a concept---a piece that is written in the moment of the performance only. One could see my present and previous work as a kind of precursor to this unrealized idea.

During my work on new pieces (which also includes live performances) the physicality of my voice and its generation plays a very important role. Often a source of sound material develops from the improvisational exploration of these bodily feelings. Consequently I adapt the material to fit in concepts and form it according to my aesthetic and conceptual ideas.

Electronic devices such as samplers and software help me in this process of transformation. I am particularly interested---as in my work with my physical voice---in letting myself be influenced and inspired by the conditions, the randomness and errors of these devices. As in the original generation of the source material through my own voice, I try to fit my work with electronics into the concept of improvisation. I try to achieve an improvisational sound programming (a contradiction in terms) that is influenced by random events and errors in the programs and their handling.

Therefore, en do consists of the elements poetry, performance and the not-too-great contradiction between electronics and voice.

Jörg Piringer was born 1974 in Vienna, Austria, and still lives there. He is a member of the Vegetable Orchestra and of the Institute for Transacoustic Research. Piringer is a creator of audiovisual-interactive poetry. He has a master's degree in computer science.


Kenneth Goldsmith: Eighteen Earrers

Kenneth Goldsmith, vocals. Recorded at WFMU Studios, Jersey City, New Jersey, April 2005.

Contact: Kenneth Goldsmith, 38 W. 26th St., 3B, New York, NY 10010, U.S.A. E-mail: .

Eighteen Earrers is an excerpt from a book of mine called Head Citations published in 2002. The text consists of 800 misheard lyrics of pop songs, all swiped from a massive online archive called "Kiss This Guy" (from Jimi Hendrix's line "'Scuse me while I kiss the sky.")

For several years, I have been devoted to Uncreative Writing. Over the past decade, my practice has boiled down to simply retyping existing texts. I have thought about my practice in relation to Borges's Pierre Menard, but even Menard was more original than I am: he, independent of any knowledge of Don Quixote, reinvented Cervantes's masterpiece word for word. By contrast, I don't invent anything. I just keep rewriting the same book. I sympathize with the protagonist of a cartoon claiming to have transferred x amount of megabytes, physically exhausted after a day of downloading. The simple act of moving information from one place to another today constitutes a significant cultural act in and of itself. I think it is fair to say that most of us spend hours each day shifting content into different containers. Some of us call this writing.

In 1969, the conceptual artist Douglas Huebler wrote, "The world is full of objects, more or less interesting; I do not wish to add any more." I have come to embrace Huebler's ideas, although they might be retooled as, "The world is full of texts, more or less interesting; I do not wish to add any more." It seems an appropriate response to a new condition in writing today: faced with an unprecedented amount of available text, the problem is not needing to write more of it; instead, we must learn to negotiate the vast quantity that exists. I have transformed from a writer into an information manager, adept at the skills of replicating, organizing, mirroring, archiving, hoarding, storing, reprinting, bootlegging, plundering and transferring. I've needed to acquire a whole new skill set: I've become a master typist, an exacting cut-and-paster and an OCR demon. There's nothing I love more than transcription; I find few things more satisfying than collation.

Almost 100 years ago, the visual arts came to terms with this issue in Duchamp's Urinal. Later, Warhol and then Koons extended this practice. In music we have vast examples from John Oswald's Plunderphonics to the ubiquitous practice of sampling. Where has literature been in this dialogue? One hundred years after Duchamp, why hasn't straight appropriation become a valid, sustained or even tested literary practice?

This piece, Eighteen Earrers, is my homage to pop music, a form that has embraced and run with the possibilities of the stolen. But it sounds nothing like pop music. As a matter of fact, as you'll hear, I can't sing at all. Perhaps, then, my incompetence qualifies for the "creative" component of this work. After you hear me sing, I think you'll agree that uncreativity really is the way to go.

Kenneth Goldsmith's writing was called some of the most "exhaustive and beautiful collage work yet produced in poetry" by Publishers Weekly. The author of eight books of poetry, founding editor of the online archive UbuWeb (, and the editor of I'll Be Your Mirror: The Selected Andy Warhol Interviews, Goldsmith is also the host of a weekly radio show on New York City's WFMU. He teaches writing at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is a senior editor of PennSound, an on-line poetry archive. More about Goldsmith can be found on his author's page at the University of Buffalo's Electronic Poetry Center: .


Julien Ottavi: voix imprrsonel

Composed and performed by Julien Ottavi, March 2005.

Julien Ottavi, 17, rue Paul Bellamy, 44000 Nantes, France. E-mail: . Web site: .

For a few years now, I have been developing research work on using the voice to produce body expression other than language alone, evolving from sound poetry, elaborating and performing various vocal pieces (in a wider register, ranging from whisper to a shout, through noise produced by pressure on the nose). I have also worked on a kind of composition in the field of "concrete music in a studio," managing to transform and expand the range of vocal experiments even further, with the help of digital tools.

After this initial practice of vocal performance in a studio, as well as instrumental improvisation, and with the advent of portable computers, I was able to digitize and transform voice performance in real time (as I could not have done in my studio---recording---period).

I then realized that it was not possible to respect the temporality and the energy of vocal performances, or their physical involvement, with a "filter"/computer that showed only its own limitations, adding material to, or interrupting, reducing or dramatically increasing the strength and energy of a performance. Could a computer become an engine powered by a voice/fuel? Could this "digital" machinery stop behaving like the prop of a performing body and become an automaton, in which my voice would introduce another temporality? Could my voice/mouth penetrate the heart of a digital machinery rather than just constitute a filter "agitator"? At the same time, I started work on automation: how can a machine develop its own transforming cycles without any performer likely to be influenced by the temporality of his/her action or his/her relationship with an audience? How could the fuel/voice/mouth make sense and evolve differently when controlled not by any person but by a machine (not forgetting that machine and automation are conceived and built by somebody)?

I had contemplated an automated vocal performance 4 years ago, but never got down to working on it. Following a request by Joachim Montessuis for an event, I started to work on an automated vocal performance. I reflected on what I really wanted to show of the evolution of my research. I could not accept the temporality of the performance and the accompanying dramatization, and as I was not able to fully develop a proper command of my voice without mimicry or clichés (like in a circus or a zoo), which are common in this sort of situation, I did not attempt a public vocal performance and used only my voice for recording, everyday life and ordinary communication.

This proposal stems out of these reflections on time and performance, on the timing of a performance, on a certain relationship of time with space, on the roles of machines and digitization---on the power of man with a machine, the dispossession of humanity by man through the machine and the multiple versions of the self made possible by the computer.

In this performance, the computer mixes four vocal performances spread over 20 samplers (recorded in a studio between April and May 2004) and changes their pitch automatically, according to algorithms of random combinations.

This piece was recorded during the month of March 2005, exclusively using a GNU/LINUX operating system and free audio software.

Julien Ottavi is a Nantes-based sound artist. He studied sound and photography at the art school of Nantes. Since 1997 Ottavi has developed compositions based on the voice and its transformation by computers. Ottavi acknowledges that his work has been influenced by the sound poetry of Henri Chopin, Bernard Heidseick, Kurt Schwitters and Jaap Blonk. Ottavi also acknowledges the influence of contemporary mustic, citing composer such as Karlheinz Stockhausen, John Cage, Morton Feldman, Giacinto Scelsi, the Musique concrete composers Pierre Henry, Michel Chion, Luc Ferrari and "noise" composers such as Merzbow, Zbigniew Karkowski and Bernard Gunter. Ottavi is the founder, artistic programmer, audio computer researcher and sound artist of the experimental music organization Apo33. Founded in 1997 Apo33 is a collective of artists, musicians, sound artists, philosophers and computer scientist who aim to promote new types of music and sound practices that do not receive large media coverage. The purpose of Apo33 is to create the conditions for the development of all the kinds of music and sound practices that contribute to the advancement of sound creation, including electronic music, concrete music, contemporary written music, sound poetry, sound art and other practices that as yet have no name.


Daniel Goode: Juicy Cantata---Violence in America

Composed in New York City, 1995--2000.

Contact: Daniel Goode, 167 Spring Street, #3, New York, NY 10012, U.S.A. E-mail: . E-mail: . Web site: .

For many years I have been very taken with the idea of radio spots, radio plays and political sound pieces using texts and ideas from our daily struggles. During the 1995 O.J. Simpson trial we were all treated to the racist and sexist proclamations of Los Angeles cop Mark Fuhrman, a witness at the trial, from whom quotes appeared in the New York Times [1]. Coincidentally or not, there also appeared at around the same time articles in U.S. newspapers about various “cop-killer” armaments and bullets. I was morbidly captivated by one such set of quotes in the Los Angeles Times , made by a representative of the Winchester corporation, about bullets that “slice and dice” the insides of the victim. To get a grip on my nausea, I started a new piece, finished in 2000, which I now call by the title above.

After setting those quotations (which are embedded in a larger text in the manner of a radio play) by means of computer-generated voices provided with my Macintosh Quadra and some basic editing software controlling phoneme synthesis, pitch frequency, speed and more, I let the piece rest for a while. I presented and published it as a short work modeled on a radio spot for a progressive radio network such as Pacifica (for which I had done an earlier, similar piece, Pornography Made Me Do It---Again, based on quotes by lawyer-author Catherine MacKinnon).

Then came the Timothy McVeigh Oklahoma City terrorist bombing, trial and execution and, probably coincidentally, a horrifying description in the New York Times of a bungled electric-chair execution in Florida in which the victim was set on fire. Also much in the news were the white racist “militia,” “Patriot” and “Christian Identity” organizations. William Pierce, author of the fictional Turner Diaries and head of the racist National Alliance, which agitates against “racial mixing,” was profiled in an article by James Ridgeway in the Village Voice (3 June 1997). These newer manifestations of homegrown violence and terrorism (state, individual and group) provoked in me the need to compose, almost as a purgative, a final section to the Juicy Cantata and to present all the characters and incidents as a miniature portrait of violence in America. Now, several years after the terrorist attacks of September 2001, the hyper-patriotic vision of fortress America under attack from without has largely obscured our own tendencies towards hate and violence. Still, scandals about our detention camps bring the external and internal violences together in perhaps an even harsher brew than before 9/11.

I felt urgency in 1995 about getting this material out on tape (this was before we could burn our own CDs at home), so I decided not to become a number cruncher myself but to consult colleagues on technical matters and use low-end solutions when I could.

For computer speech, I worked with the Macintosh speech voices as found objects to be edited. Rather than use clumsy phonetic symbols, I simply respelled words, adding, changing vowels and consonants to achieve intelligibility or in some cases a lack of intelligibility---sounds, “nonsense.” The embedded commands that Larry Polansky found for me as shareware did the rest. Some routing and triggering from hardware to software and back provided sonic texture behind the speaking voice needed to underscore a mood without distracting from intelligibility, the main characteristic that political art must have, in my opinion. This background texturing was used sparingly. I find the Timothy McVeigh speech chilling because of its bareness.

I am still looking for a user-friendly means of realizing sonically based, intelligible, meaningfully political “radio plays” that use synthetic voices as “characters” and hoping for an intuitive modulating software, if you please! Verisimilitude to the real historical personages is not my aim. That is why I do not require, or know how to use, actors for these parts. I use a generic device for every character, such as: “My name is . . .” or “This is . . . speaking.” The listener quickly focuses on the content, often bizarre, sometimes over the top, sometimes dripping with irony, and the synthetic voice is just a placeholder. Occasional warping of the sonic space, sometimes not really noticeable, is all I am after. I spent much time on one word, however: “beer” in the Mark Fuhrman sentences: “There’s nothing better than a good beating. That’s when everybody wants to get some beere.” The misspelled beer was part of a rather long process of making that word count, in every category I hold dear. There are other words and other sentences in the Juicy Cantata that fill those categories, sometimes to overflowing.

Juicy Cantata Parts 1 and 2 were published on the CD accompanying Crayon, Festschrift for Jackson Mac Low's 75th Birthday , edited by Andrew Levy and Bob Harrison. Juicy Cantata: Violence in America, Part 3, in a version for tape, clarinet and guitar, was performed by the DownTown Ensemble (D. Goode, clarinet; Bill Hellermann, guitar), Hudson Opera House, Hudson, NY 10 June 2000; at Deep Listening Space, Kingston, NY, and at Greenwich House Music School, New York City, 11 June 2000.

1.David Margolick, "What the Tapes in the Simpson Case Say. Transcripts Have Detective Relating Joyful Shootings and Beatings," New York Times, 23 August 1995, p. A14.

Composer and clarinetist Daniel Goode is co-founder/director of the DownTown Ensemble, formed in 1983. He has been a performer and composer with Gamelan Son of Lion since 1976. In 2004 he initiated the Flexible Orchestra, a large ensemble devoted to a new concept of symphony orchestra. It has commissioned eight new works for the 3 years it has been in existence. Goode's innovative music for solo clarinet includes Circular Thoughts (Theodore Presser Co.) and Clarinet Songs on the XI label. His latest CD release is Eight Thrushes in New York on Frog Peak Music. A complete catalog of his works is available at Frog Peak Music at .


Anne-James Chaton: Extraordinary Voyages

Composed and performed by Anne-James Chaton, 2005.

Contact: Anne-James Chaton, 41, rue Alexandre Cabanel, 34000 Montpellier, France. E-mail: . Web site: .

Extraordinary Voyages is a triptych made up of three sound environments: the city, the countryside and the sea.

I composed the account of a voyage using textual traces that attest to my passage through a place at a given time. The text begins with a train ticket, for a trip from Montpellier to Besançon, on which appear the route, the time, the date, mileage, etc. It continues the second day, once in the city, with a deposit slip from a bank, then receipts from a coffee taken on a terrace, the purchase of a package of cigarettes, a newspaper. . . . From day to day the documents accumulate until the moment of return, when a final train ticket brings the voyage to a close in the same way it had begun.

Each of these tickets speaks of me, of the traveler, but also of the city, of its spaces, of others, of the world. Each receipt is the trace of an action, always located and often dated; these writings testify to contacts I have had and thus to others---a barman, a tobacconist, a bookseller---in a manner at once most general and always extremely concrete. Because each document is manufactured by a machine, each attests to dimensions of our society presented by the interlacing of an individual with a world in movement.

The sound track introduces another degree of concreteness and displacement. I composed it using words that name objects observed, which little by little form landscapes: a tree, a car, a farm, a river, a field, what I see from the window of the train; then a shop, a cafe, a street lamp, when I enter urban space. To each word I allot a voice, that of a man or a woman, which I adjust by means of composition software in order to accentuate its timbre and consequently its complementarity with all the others. Played with a MIDI keyboard and organized randomly, the words and the timbres intermingle on the sound track in proportion to their recurrences and their depth in the landscape. Gradually, these 150 voices sketch geographical spaces and sound rhythms differentiated according to the specificities of real places traversed, of the timbres of the foreign voices. The voice of the author reading the account of the voyage, my voice, placed at the center of the sound spectrum, traces a continuous line, like a metronome. The monotony of the reading embodies the movement forward, which always brings the traveler back to his starting point.

Thus, I conceived Extraordinary Voyages as the meeting of two concretenesses. One is with the evidence in these writings of a great banality that nevertheless speaks of a divided daily existence since, consciously or not, these are the writings that we read the most. Every day, and in a mechanical way, we look over these texts and immediately decipher them, as if by flash reading, so familiar they seem to us. The text is given from the start; however, the textual trace is distinguished from the readymade. Subjects, worlds, writings, like geological strata, are imbricated there, without, however, the possibility of distinguishing a decisional instance of meaning. The writing is traversed by a multitude of intentions; it is arranged by movement that differentiates it from the naked exposure of the object. These notes, these tickets are never left to themselves. In them are clarified a life, a world, and a possible mode of writing and poetry.

The voice that reads the tickets and receipts tends to awaken the meanings, but meanings that would precede any feelings. The numbers, the marks, the codes acquire a power of evocation that their a priori dry reading prevents. Thus, meaning and feeling are indissociable, overlapping one another so that only the ear of the listener can decide the significance to give to each unit: Emotion or critical vision of a world, sonic impression or account of a voyage. This physicality of the text and of the names of things, at the center of my work, is reinforced by the performance, that is to say the moment when all bodies, textual, sound, individual and collective, my body and those of all the listeners, meet in a precise place and time.

Anne-James Chaton is a sound poet. He lives in Montpellier, France. He has directed many poetry revues and published three books: Evénements 99 (book with 2 CDs) (Paris: Al Dante, 2001), Autoportraits (book with DVD) (Paris: Al Dante, 2003) and In the Event, with the Dutch free-rock band the Ex of Amsterdam (book with CD) (Paris: Al Dante, 2005). He has given some 100 performances in France and other countries and has organized numerous sound poetry events in France. Since 2003, Chaton has worked with the Ex and has gone on many tours with them. He has also worked with improvisational musicians Catherine Jauniaux, Carole Rieussec, Andy Moor, Yannis Kyriakides and artist Isabelle Vigier. He has also written text for the French rock band Innocent X.


Christian Bök: Excerpt from Synth Loops (from The Cyborg Opera)

Composed and performed by Christian Bök. Recorded by Sean Gamble at the Rozsa Centre in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, March 2005.

Contact: Christian Bök, 401--1818 14th Street SW, Calgary, AB, T2T 3S9, Canada. E-mail: .

The Cyborg Opera has necessitated extended research into machinic language, often requiring that I sift through dictionaries for a useable palette of words that might evoke, through onomatopoeic connotations, the noises of various devices (be they engines or buzzers, dynamos or beepers, etc.). Such research has resulted in a sidelong interest in the work of beatboxing performers, who use their voices to simulate the toolkit of deejays, mimicking the riffs of turntables and the loops of synth drums. Even though avant-garde sound poets such as Jaap Blonk and Paul Dutton have studiously avoided the use of musical mimicry in their own performances of lautgedichte, preferring to do verbal improv, often based upon libidinal outbursts of emotion, beatboxers like Razael or Dokaka have demonstrated so marvelous a technical expertise in their own vocal works that their activity in popular culture (such as their appearance on Björk's album Medusa) has begun to put to shame some of the achievements by more classical producers of phonic poetry.

The Cyborg Opera may include some overtures of verbalized percussion, if they prove appropriate to the evolving mandates of my work, and so far these tracks called Synth Loops constitute a kind of amateurish experiment, documenting some of my initial efforts to master the elementary vocabulary for a few of the drum kits typically mobilized by beatboxers. While I have learned to perform a memorable rendition of the Dadaist classic Ursonate by Kurt Schwitters, the difficulty of vocalizing such a challenging composition has so far paled in comparison to the challenges posed for me by the clicks and snares of a synthetic orchestra. The beatboxer must learn an alphabet of resonant plosives and sonorant vibratos, all of which combine, like letters, to form a fund of alien words, which, when spoken at a fast pace, generate the acoustic illusion of multiple machines operated at the same time. I am hoping that, with advanced practice, I can incorporate some linguistic variations of these effects into my own poem.


Lasse Marhaug: May Rap Bonk Bonk---MAJAAP Pudding Mix

Remix by Lasse Marhaug of tracks 1, 7 and 16 from the Maja Ratkje and Jaap Blonk MAJAAP: Vocal Duets, Kontrans CD 850 .

Contact: Lasse Marhaug, Uelandsgate 73, 0462 Oslo, Norway. E-mail: . Web site: .

Maja Ratkje, Helgesensgt. 16, 0553 Oslo, Norway. E-mail: . Web site: .

Jaap Blonk, Akkerstraat 65, NL-6822AJ Arnhem, The Netherlands. E-mail: . Web site: .

Lasse Marhaug (born 1974) has over the last 10 years been one of the leading forces in the so-called Norwegian noise scene. As a performer and composer he has more than 100 releases to his name, and he has conducted extensive touring and performing in Europe, Asia and America. In addition to his solo work, Marhaug plays regularly in projects Jazzkammer, DEL, Rishaug Marhaug and a duo with Frode Gjerstad. Past projects include Origami Replika and Lasse Marhaug Band. He has collaborated with several artists in his own field of music, but has over the years also worked with artists in the improv, free jazz, drone rock and extreme metal scenes, as well as theatre, dance and video.

Composer and performer Maja Solveig Kjelstrup Ratkje (born 1973 in Trondheim, Norway) finished composition studies at the Norwegian State Academy of Music in Oslo in 2000. She received an award from the International Rostrum of Composers in Paris for composers under 30 years of age, the Norwegian Edvard prize twice and in 2001 was the first composer ever to receive the Arne Nordheim prize. Her solo album ŒVoice, made in collaboration with Jazzkammer, received a Distinction Award at Prix Ars Electronica in 2003. Major collaborators include SPUNK, Fe-mail, POING, Lotta Melin and Jaap Blonk. She played a leading part in her own opera, based on the texts from the Nag Hammadi Library, in 2003. In 2005 she performed the solo voice part for her first major work for orchestra, commissioned by Radio France.

Jaap Blonk (born 1953 in Woerden, Holland) is a self-taught composer, voice performer and sound poet. His unfinished studies in physics, mathematics and musicology mainly created a penchant for activities in a Dada vein, as did several unsuccessful jobs in offices and other well-organized systems. In the late 1970s he took up the saxophone and started to compose music, and a few years later a real breakthrough occurred: he discovered the power and flexibility of his voice. Blonk has developed into a prolific writer/composer and a specialist in the performance of sound poetry, supported by a powerful stage presence and an almost childlike freedom in improvisation. Besides working as a soloist, he collaborated with many musicians and ensembles in the field of contemporary and improvised music, such as Paul Lytton, Mats Gustafsson, Michael Zerang, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Melvyn Poore, Paul Dutton, Nicolas Collins, the Netherlands Wind Ensemble and the Ebony Band. He performed in several compositions by the German composer Carola Bauckholt, including a piece for voice and orchestra. A solo voice piece was commissioned by the Donaueschinger Musiktage 2002. Blonk is the founder and leader of Splinks, a 15-piece orchestra that plays his compositions, and BRAAXTAAL, an avant-rock trio with synthesizer and drums. He also has his own record label, Kontrans.



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