I stumbled upon the idea for this project while working on another one, where i participate as both poet and vocal performer. I thought that it could be interesting to make a piece where my poetry reading would be backed by vocal-only music, also performed by myself. Then I took the idea further – what if I take a recording of a poetry reading, process it electronically and play it back as a background music for that very reading? That’s how this project came into being.
The concept is quite simple: poetry performed asif in duo with itself, accompanied by its electronic incarnation. The music of speech is mixed with music, made of speech. The poem is given a second voice, the voice of its own, not belonging to the one who reads it.
On the other hand, electronic music – as anything digital – is also essentially a text. On the core level it is also an array of symbols – bits and bytes – that has its own morphology, syntax and meaning. It is a text that means sound. So, in a sense, the result of electronically processing a poem is a new poem, a kind of cento. In this way it remains speech, remains text being voiced.
A variety of processing techniques can be used, and their parameters are deduced through means of spectrum analysis. The process is absolutely automated and controlled by the poetry itself, thus giving it certain autonomy: not only the voice of its own but the right to choose this voice.
The first of the two tracks above was created in collaboration with the Spanish poet and vocal performer Ernesto Estrella, whose experimental voice work adds another sound layer to the project. The second track is an excerpt from a live performance, with Russian poet Daria Sukhovey reading a traditional poem, performing this piece the way it was originally conceived.