turntables, dubplates, electronic voice treatments.
If I were to imagine a lineage for dadaist concrete poetry, you'd instantly cut out Kurt Schwitters because he died before the term 'musique concrete' was coined (p. Schaeffer 1948). However, his 'Ursonate' (1925-32) is highlighted as great influence to the growing tradition of concrete voice performance as much as his merzbau was to design and the merzbarn is to the the lake district. The 'Ur' is more complicated in its structure than that of pure listening, meaningless words are sounds all the same. Upon reflection, it is an early example of concrete music.
The central element to 'Ur' is the german tongue, the phoentics and intonations for the writer, how combinations of vowels, umlauts, umbauts and all form in the speed and fluency of performance. The most reknown contemporary recorded performance of the 'Ur' is by the Dutch Artist Jaap Blonk, who even performed the fourth section in a former mill as part of the third Text Festival in Bury, 2011.
Post-Schwitters and Post-musique concrete is the performative work of Austrian poet & writer Ernst Jandl. Like Schwitters, his work (mostly performed for radio by himself) makes phonetic sense of linguistic delicacies through the way they are performed. With Jandl, the additional layer of Austro-German as a differing accent (some suggest a different dialect) produces other common vocal strictures that a native speaker would alone be able to identify. With Jandls' 'Radiophone texte' (1977) broadcasts, we are subjected to rhythmical, disjointed and abtracted onomatopoeia that has translated from the page (vis'po) to time, with every stutter, Ratta-tat, urrrrumph almost spoken as if a work of foley.
In making vörwort, I have intentionally cut up and re-scored sections of the 'Ursonate' and 'Radiophone texte' into a sort of introduction to each other, kind of a foreword to the works, aligned so that new impositions and variations occur. This is an inbetween space, two different generations of the concrete voice, two accents and pre & post musique concrete.
Vörwort is a reduction.
Commissioned by Bury Art Gallery for Bury Light Night 2013. First performed at Light Night on the 11th October 2013