10 December 2014

Crooning on Venus, Pt. 1

It’s that season again, the one when the Decades Blogs network (as well as their friends and readers) hold a pan-bloggal musical shootout. With Phil and Simon taking the lead, we each nominate our candidates for most almighty Riffage, Drummige, Intros, etc.. Except this year, a fair number of the usual participants in the network have largely drifted away, taken to the shadows, or gone silent. Meaning there has been, as yet, no call for this year’s musical theme.

But over at the Blissblog, Simon has spent the past few weeks offering examples of what he’s calling “mouth music.” He tells me this is totally of his impulse and initiative, but by no means a solo effort. Obvious candidates like Meredith Monk and Joan L Barbara fell earlier in the series (32 and counting!), with a broad array of other artists following in later posts.

Natch, a lot of songs or artist leap to mind. But for the first in a short series, I’ll begin with a few things that I’ve posted in the past...

A vocal showcasing from Sumac’s 1950 LP Voice of the Xtabay. Back when Diamanda Galas hit the scene in the 1980s, I always thought she took more than a few effects from Yma Sumac; if not from this particular song. Sumac and Galas were both vocalists of unusual power and range. Neither of them seemed to know of an appropriate genre of music in which to put their talents to work without going a staid and conventional route. Not being able to create an entirely new genre, and simply made due with twists on existant ones -- be it lounge “exotica” or semi-operatic goth.

The vocals don't come in until late on the first piece, and the beginning warm-up on the second is among my favorite of Youtube stumbling-upons. For these, I refer back to some of my earlier comments about Wyatt.

A number of my favorite works from the early phase of Robert Ashley’s career was threaded on the theme of mutterings and howlings that fall outside the realm of intelligibility, if not beyond the lingual entirely.

More next time.

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