By the Stream
These recordings in two movements can be taken as, on the one hand, pieces for two voices and improvisation chamber orchestra (which is what the musicians felt throughout the recording session) and, on the other hand, pure free improvisation. Both voices in interaction, perpetually urging the other on, producing more than their simple addition, producing a third voice -- like a semi-autonomous organism. Very difficult to explain how -- why -- as if what had been mostly deeply burrowed was surfacing. An ur-song, like Schwitters' "Ursonate"/"Their Breath." The importance of scat, the rhythm from beyond language. Phil Minton (1940, Torquay, United Kingdom) is a jazz/free-improvising vocalist and trumpeter. Minton is a highly dramatic baritone who tends to specialize in literary texts: he has sung lyrics by William Blake with Mike Westbrook's group, Daniil Kharms and Joseph Brodsky with Simon Nabatov, and extracts from James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake with his own ensemble. Between 1987 and 1993, Minton toured Europe, North America and Russia with Lindsay Cooper's Oh Moscow ensemble. He is perhaps best known, however, for his completely free-form work, which involves "extended techniques" that are extremely unsettling. His vocals often include the sounds of retching, burping, screaming, and gasping, as well as child-like muttering, whining, crying, and humming; he also has an ability to distort his vocal cords to produce two notes at once. Audrey Chen is a Chinese-American musician who was born into a family of material scientists, doctors and engineers, outside of Chicago in 1976. She turned to the cello at age eight and voice at 11. After years of classical and conservatory training in both instruments, with a resulting specialization in early and new music, she parted ways again in 2003 to begin new negotiations with sound in order to discover a more individually honest aesthetic. Now, using the cello, voice and analog electronics, Chen's work delves deeply into her own version of narrative and non-linear storytelling. A large component of her music is improvised and her approach to this is extremely personal and visceral. Chen has performed in Europe, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, Taiwan, Brazil, Canada, and the USA during the last years.