Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Gerard Pape - Electroacoustic Chamber Works (1998)

Five ear-bending and mind-bending journeys into transformed sound today, courtesy of Gerard Pape, born 1955 in Brooklyn.  These works all date from the mid-90s both in composition and in recording, giving this disc the homogeneous feel of an album rather than a compilation from disparate sources.  Furthermore, they all display Pape's talent for using tape and/or computer to forensically investigate and transform sound at every possible micro-level; harmonics, timbre and so on.

Two Electro-Acoustic Songs, for soprano, flute and tape/sound projection, is featured first.  The tonalities of the voice and flute start out with their pure sound before Pape subjects them to various levels of alien warping, using the UPIC system developed by Xenakis.  This is followed by Le Fleuve du Désir for string quartet and tape.  Pape makes his inspiration erm, explicit, evoking not just water and rivers, but also applying Freud's writings on the libido to "my 'river of desire'... inspired by fluid flow, real and fantasised".  Bit too much information there, Gerard, but thanks all the same.

The longest piece is next, in the 32 minutes of Monologue for bass voice and tape/sound projection.  The libretto is taken from Samuel Beckett's A Piece Of Monologue, and Nicholas Isherwood's voice has great versatility for the dramatics of the performance.  Pape's soundworld swirls and hisses around it unobtrusively, providing a suitably unsettling atmosphere.  A choral piece, Battle, follows, performed by Vox Nova with Pape on tape - the inspiration here was a dramatic scene from Clive Barker's Weaverworld.  Lastly, our old friend Daniel Kientzy is the featured soloist on the ensemble piece Makbénach, the title apparently meaning 'flesh leaving bones'.  Ensemble 2e2m provide an ever-shifting backdrop for Kientzy's unique sax sound, as Pape warps the whole thing into outer space.


1 comment:

  1. This looks interesting. I have not come across Gerard Pape before and I look forward to hearing what he come up with. Many thanks!