Henri Chopin

Audiopoems 1956-1980

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A collection of shorter pieces from sound poet Henri Chopin, these works date from the mid-'50s to 1980. An audio poem is distinct from a regular poem in that the focus is not on words, but rather on vocal sounds and their manipulation with tape recorder and electronics. Some pieces, like "L'Agrippe des Droits," "Rouge" (consisting of the word "rouge" being repeated over again), and "French Lesson," with numbers counted up to ten in French, start off with language before they devolve into strange sound patterns using multi-tracking and different tape speeds. The rest of the pieces leave language behind as guttural noise, throat pulses, whistling drones, and breathing pitter-patters are used to create collages in a mostly industrial or musique concrète vein. Chopin's tools are just his voice and a tape recorder, though Sten Hanson adds some electronics on a couple pieces, "Double Extension" and "Tete a Tete." Audiopoems, with both worded stuff, as well as the more abstract, showcases a full variety of Chopin's talent, and the shorter tracks are easier to digest than his longer material on other discs. For those new to Chopin's sonic art, this might be a good starting point, though one disadvantage is that the pieces all run together on two long tracks on the CD.