ICR is proud to announce the re-release of a double CD of 2 seminal works of UK electroacoustic music by Trevor Wishart. "This Double Album brings together many of my major pieces from the last 40 years. "Red Bird" has been held up as a pioneering work, using both a "cinematic" approach to audio, and sound morphing, especially because it predates the use of computers but prefigures many of the techniques later used for making computer sound art. "Anticredos" brought together my research into new vocal sounds, developing new ways to notate sound itself, and uses sound-morphing as a live-performance technique. "Tongues of Fire" was the first full-length piece I made on the Composers Desktop Project, and won an award (the Golden NICA for computer-music) at the Linz Ars Electronica, International Computer Arts Festival, while "Two Women" crossed the boundary into actuality, using and transforming the voices of people in the public eye.
" Both works feature some of the composer's most striking music, but they belong to two very different realms. "Red Bird" is a 45-minute piece of musique concrète in four movements. Made for the most part of bird sounds, body sounds, and selected mouthed words, it weaves an intricate network of symbols. Completed in 1977, it was made with traditional electro-acoustic techniques. It has a crude tape splicing aspect that aged surprisingly well. Often brutal in its contrasts, it presents interesting sound transformations, but most of all a dense, relentless abstract drama that compares very well to Pierre Henry's best works from the '60s and '70s. The result of four years of work, "Red Bird" is a significant work and conveys ideas of imprisonment and freedom that are beautifully expressed. "Anticredos" dates from 1982. It involves no electronics at all; it is a live performance by the experimental vocal group Singcircle. Wishart scored the piece for six voices, using extended techniques to expand, so to speak, the word "credos." Often the listener is tempted to believe there are electro-acoustic manipulations involved, but on close-up inspection it turns out Wishart simply found ways to make real voices perform sound morphings that some musique concrète composers used to work on relentlessly in the days before the computer age.
Master composer Trevor Wishart shapes recordings of the human voice into a majestic, sonic extravaganza. With satire, sympathy, and his extraordinary talent with sound, Wishart gives us an audio panorama of the world today through the voices of many different people, famous and unknown. You'll hear the voice of Margaret Thatcher as a political cartoon, a touching portrait of Princess Diana, the powerful resonance of Martin Luther King's well-known words, the crackly voice of Neil Armstrong, the zany musicality of Elvis Presley, the playful sounds of Wishart's young daughter's voice, and the touching story of an 80-year-old woman's dream. Tongues of Fire, the final work on the CD, is a masterpiece. It is a complex extended composition that explores the human condition through the transformation of the human voice. In a spectacular display of skill in performing audio transformations, Wishart bases a major work of sounds and textures on a few utterings. This disc is an important moment in the history of electronic music.