Phil Minton

Dada Da

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Whatever you think you know about duets between voice and percussion, forget it -- at least until you've heard this fine slab by Phil Minton and Roger Turner. Here are ten improvisations for a whirlwind of percussion instruments and exactly one multiphonic voice that shatter previously conceived notions about improvisations, sonic anthropology, and even what constitutes music. The MO for these recordings is in the title: Dada! Yes, that crazy little art-of-life movement that started before the dawn of surrealism and made its sense of non-sense. Certainly the grunts, howls, slams, bangs, whooshes, whispers, screams, and crashes that are recorded here are nonsense. They cannot be codified into any musical language that one recognizes, but they are music, and enjoyable as such if one listens without a mind. Yes -- just listen and doesn't worry about what happens. All sorts of critical arguments can be made about how improvisation such as this is based on examining the timbral versatility of the human voice when paired with its natural enemy: the very instruments that can silence it forever because they are, by their structural nature, so much louder. Minton stretches the voice beyond where any of us thought it could go; he's been doing that for decades. But that's not his point here, any more than it is Turner's to offer an exacting array of instruments neither to entice and challenge that voice nor to provide polyrhythms that would order its utterance. Nope. This set is just two guys having a blast on the stage at the Singapore Club in England, wrecking all notions of musicality at one time and getting paid -- probably not a lot -- for it. And guess what? It's a blast to listen to as well! Put it on when the unwanted neighbors come over or put it on right after listening to John Zorn's The Classic Guide to Strategy: Vol. l and Vol. ll -- it's the only record you could possibly play before or after it that would make any (non)sense at all.

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