AGF - Source Voice [Line - 2013]
At the risk of becoming a mouthpiece for its work - I recently wrote a glowing review of Richard Chartier’s “Recurrence” - here’s another incredible release from the Line label. Packaged in the house-style card wallet and adorned with digitally processed imagery, the cd contains six pieces of vocal-based constructions from AGF. AGF, or Antye Greie-Ripatti, is someone I’ve come across in the past with interest; but this is the first album I’ve actually heard: I haven’t been disappointed.
“Source Voice”, as you might guess, works primarily with vocals and vocal-processing; subjecting Greie-Ripatti’s interests in “yoik” (an ancient folk form of Sami singing/vocalisation) to the full arsenal of layering, stretching, modulating, pitch-shifting and digital manipulation. The first piece, “The Human Condition”, sets out a statement in this regard; creating a broken-down, wheezing vocal ensemble with a darkly reverberating undercurrent - an effective prelude to the rest of the album. The liner notes tell how she started to sing along with her “surrounding wind and weather” and these sounds and ideas come to the fore on the second piece, “Breathing in Lines”. This, the longest track, is a breathy, windy drone; full of ice and quiet. It balances the “academic” aspects of AGF with a simple indulgence in the pure beauty of sound. This juggling of academia and a more overtly “musical” sensibility, is something found throughout “Source Voice”. “Voice Count” takes cues from electronica and dub methodology - obliterating sounds on a molecular level, altering them and then reassembling them in colourful, firework-like displays. It pushes past the level of manipulation and processing normally associated with those musics, but still offers the strains of their more sensual pleasures. In line with its title, “Digital Yoik”, the penultimate work creates a shifting landscape of breath and hum; before reducing down to a shimmering, watery presence. The last piece, “Hum Pitch Play”, operates on a similar level to the first track; with recognisable, melodic vocal elements circling and morphing around each other.
This is another great release from Line. An album that explores technology, processing and listening, without ever disappearing into hard-boiled academia. Its a clever, playful, colourful set of recordings, which never outstays its welcome. Although it is rather dense in sound terms (theres only a few “minimal” passages), its never particularly “noisy” - though there is some serious low-end to be found. The processing work is uniformly quite spectacular: you really wouldn’t guess that some of the sounds on “Source Voice” solely used voice as source. Though in direct counterpoint to this, and showing her depth of skill, the haunting drone of “Kaamos” is created purely from Greie-Ripatti’s untreated voiceMartin P