Henri Chopin

Cantata for Two Farts & Co.

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This vinyl release presents four of Henri Chopin's sound poems from the mid- to late '70s. Chopin's avant-garde work is not at all spoken word, but more like sound collages using the voice as the instrument. "Cantata for Two Farts and Juan Carlos I," recorded the day Franco's dictatorship ended in Spain, mostly consists of noises made by the letters P, S, and J, contrasting the hard P to the sibilant S, as well as repetitions of words like "pouvoir" ("to be able to") and "penser" ("to think"). "Les Chuitantes Respirent" uses the word "chuint" (which has no English meaning) to create high-pitched squeaks, animal noises, and drones, along with wind-howls of amplified breath. The other two numbers, "Throat Power" and "Vertigo du Vertige," completely avoid language or even its building blocks of letter sounds altogether to create poems of pure sound. "Throat Power," where Chopin uses one microphone at his lips and another down his throat, offers a collage of pulses, gutteralizations, and pounding shreds of sounds that is industrial-like in its harshness and starkness, whereas "Vertigo" is more varied, offering more extremes to the capability of the human voice. Like all of Chopin's works, Cantata might be too extremely avant-garde for most people to take. At the same time, Chopin's sonic vocal experiments can be quite mesmerizing.

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