Various Artists

Voices of Dada

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The LTM label has long pursued an interest in Dada via earlier compilations, making Voices of Dada both a logical follow-on and its own distinct effort. Collating a variety of recordings made from the '20s to the '60s, Voices is arguably more a documentation of the impact of Dada over later years than anything else, since recordings of the original performances and poems never existed. Beginning with Hans Arp's 1961 recording of "Dada-Spruche," the disc moves between performance/recitation and reflection as numerous famous names, such as Kurt Schwitters and Tristan Tzara, are featured. On the level of pure documentation, three separate interviews in English -- of Richard Huelsenbeck and on two separate occasions of Marcel Duchamp, which help provide personal perspectives on their own involvement with the movement and admittedly its generally ill-defined focus as it grew and diffused over time. Huelsenbeck's discussion of the original Cabaret Voltaire club (opened in 1916 as an artist's club and performance space) is notable for placing it in a larger context of the war and Swiss society, as is his take on the difference between "Dada" and "Dadaism," while in his lengthy interviews Duchamp talks about his own particular artistic and personal experiences with his noted "ready-mades" as well as general thoughts about his art and work. On the artistic front, Schwitters appears twice with shortened but striking versions of "Die Sonata in Urlauten" and "An Anna Blume," while Tristan Tzara delivers a rich, rolling take on the brief "Pour Compte" and Raoul Hausmann concludes the disc with his equally quick "bbb + fmsbw" and "kp'erioum." Duchamp's own measured reading from part of "A L'Infinitif" is a nice contrast, less hyperactive but just as mesmerizingly unusual. The liner notes from James Hayward provide handy capsule biographies of the represented artists, along with accompanying photographs and examples of their work.

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