Michèle Bokanowski


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Michèle Bokanowski's short composition Tabou (Taboo) is a mysterious exploration of altered voices and tape loops. The short initial sonic gestures emerge from a mysterious fog to reveal their vocal origins. However, the voices seldom resolve to recognizable words or phrases, and for the most part, the listener only gets phonetic fragments in a strobed effect, and some of the gestures expand into repeated looping motifs. About a third of the way through the piece, Bokanowski adds a plaintive electric organ melody as a new element with the vocal gestures, increasing the complexity of the piece as the music becomes more ominous and dramatic. In the last third of the piece, the voices become less distinct, the gestures more rapid, before morphing into fire sounds that crackle underneath the organ's melodic line. Tabou is a very atmospheric piece, with the voices suggesting a possibility of communication. But the possibility never materializes, and by the end of the piece, the few voices that remain are lost in the fire.

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