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Joan La Barbara

Voice is the original instrument

Label: Lovely Music

Format: 2 CD

Genre: Experimental

In stock


Collection of Joan La Barbara early works and her first vocal compositions, originally released on LPs in the 1970s and early 1980s on her own Wizard Records. "One of my earliest pieces, "Hear What I Feel", was a self-exploratory, sensory-deprivation experimental work, designed to help me discover new sounds, delve into psychological aspects, as well as communicate with the audience on a pre-verbal level of awareness. After spending an hour in isolation with my eyes taped shut and not touching anything with my hands, I was led our into the performance space where my assistant had placed a variety of substances in six small glass dishes. As I touched the material, I tried to give an immediate vocal response to what I felt both emotionally and physically, without the benefit of visual information. I expected the shock of bringing a solitary state of mind into the heightened awareness of a performance situation to intensify my experience, and the poignancy of my "prepared" state to affect the audience. The sounds are presented here in their raw state; it is truly an experimental work with no intentional musical implications or designs. "Voice Piece: One-Note Internal Resonance Investigation" explores the color spectrum of a single pitch. Circular Song was inspired by the circular breathing technique of horn players. "Des Accords pour Teeny", an exploration of multi-phonic technique or choral singing, was dedicated to Teeny Duchamp. In much of my early work I dealt with sound as a physical presence, sculpting it, building up layers in complex constructions, letting the flow of thought and the visualization of sonic gestures direct my studio art. Voice Is the Original Instrument was both a statement of purpose and a manifesto as, through various experiments and explorations, I tried to rediscover the basic function of the voice as the first means of expression as well as to release untapped sonic material. As I gave my classically trained voice its freedom, letting it direct me toward new places and ideas, I developed what was a unique vocabulary and used those sounds to score an orchestra of layered voices."

Cat. number: LCD 3003
Year: 2003
Track 1-1 for amplified voice alone (1974)recorded in concert at University Art Museum, Berkeley, California, February 26, 1976
Track 1-2 a performance piece involving sensory deprivation for amplified vocalist with assistant (1974) recorded in concert at premiere January 15, 1975 at Washington Square Church, New York City
Track 1-3 for amplified voice alone (1975) recorded at University Art Museum, Berkeley, California, February 26, 1976
Track 1-4 & 1-5 for voice alone (1976) recorded and premiered on Radio France, broadcast November 4, 1976
Track 2-1 for amplified voice with electronics (1975) recorded in concert at University Art Museum, Berkeley, California, February 26, 1976
Track 2-2 for multiple voices on multi-track tape (1977) premiered as a radiowork for RadioBremen, Germany, November 1977
Track 2-3 a quadraphonic soundance commissioned by Annette Baack (1978-79) premiered as a performance work for voice and tape at Baack'scher Kunstraum, Köln, May 9, 1979
Track 2-4 for multiple voices on multi-track tape (1977) premiered February 17 & 18, 1978, at The Kitchen Center for Video and Music, New York City
Track 2-5 for voice and Buchla synthesizer (1978) premiered October 22, 1978, Metamusik Festival, Berlin
Track 2-6 for multiple voices on multi-track tape (1980) premiered October 1980 at The American Center for Students and Artists, Paris, France

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