Paul Dutton

Mouth Pieces: Solo Soundsinging

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Canadian vocalist Paul Dutton offers with Mouth Pieces a summary of his experimentations during the 1990s. Recorded with one microphone, and no processing at all, this performance lives up to the expectations one can nourish from such a unique "mouth artist." Dutton refers to his work as "soundsinging," as it blends elements of actual vocal singing with language and mouth/larynx/face sounds. Most of the 21 tracks are written, or at least pre-conceptualized. Some explore groups of words: musical instruments on "Jazzstory," the name of Henri Chopin on "Vive le." Other pieces are built over specific techniques: "Reverberations" is self-explanatory, so is "Lips Is." Dutton has developed an extended personal vocabulary over the years. In solo settings, he relies more on poetry, mouth noises, and composition than Phil Minton, and less on humor than Jaap Blonk, with "Beyond Doo-Wop, or How I Came to Realize That Hank Williams Is Avant-Garde" being a wonderful exception to that rule. With its short and focused tracks, Mouth Pieces captivates the listener's attention from beginning to end. Of course, it cannot have the same impact as Minton's landmark 1981 LP A Doughnut in Both Hands. Yet, Dutton remains one of the very few magicians of the human voice, pushing his instrument into very strange territories.

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