The Voice-Index (2015) is a fixed sound installation with four live voices, which investigates the fine detail and intense listening experience inherent to the spectral manipulations made possible through voice resynthesis. An experience of increased sensitivity to each partial within the harmonic spectrum is achieved by slowly departing from and returning to the recognition of a human voice. The resynthesized, monophonic voice becomes a polyphonic instrument with dynamic musicality in its micro inflections. This work aims to suggest that human interaction, the act of listening and the imagination constitute the full spectrum of the human voice.
Technical research and the compositional possibilities afforded by independent and algorithmic control of each individual partial within the harmonic spectrum of a single vocal utterance is counterbalanced with critical studies in literature surrounding the meaning of voice from philosophical, psychoanalytical and technological perspectives. The “voice-index” (Alice Lagaay, Free University, Berlin) suggests that a plurality of voices – including those in positive and negative aural space – may account for the variation of psychological and physical voices from others and from within.
This is a project which has been enabled by The Canada Council for the Arts.
A collaboration between Andrea Young and Federico Placidi in Rome, 2015, for voice-controlled digital and analogue electronics. The vocal feature extraction module created in Kyma was used to transfer digital vocal data to voltage controlled Buchla225e. The resulting work is a layering of voice-controlled digital and analogue synthesizers, amplified singing voice, Buchla Music Easel and once all combined, mastered on ¼ inch tape.
EXO/ENDO focuses on the release and absorption of sound – where sound is a furnace and fuel for the expression of internal desire, external rage and temper – internalized and externalized in the progression of vibrations produced from the voice that exit through the machine and into the body of the receiving audience members. For the entire performance, the voice is embedded in electronic sound like an organ working within the body, adjusting and adapting to the body of sound emitting from the ensemble. This work seeks to reveal the disturbing qualities of "song" and "voice" through the relationship of voice with technology and the proportion to which song and sound diverge. EXO/ENDO features Andrea Young's voice-infused electronics, Michael Day’s prepared turntable (modified turntables with unorthodox styli, merging acousmatique with gestures of experimental turntablism) and Braden Diotte’s electric bass (an expressive and dynamic feedback system).
The six movements within the work merge, creating an overall slow-form composition of approximately fifty minutes in duration. Beginning with miniature microphones inside the singers mouths, the vocal processing evolves into a transgendered, hypnotic chant. Relying heavily on the physicality of sound, the middle section builds a wall of sound that is as physically intense as fire while the final movement is composed by the movement of drifting smoke and ash.
Subtilitas is a composition for voice, viola and cello which uses the anonymous text Puisque je suis fumeux and Fumeux, fume, par fumée. Written for Suna no Onna, this work was first performed at CalArts in 2012 and a revised version during The New Century Players small ensemble concert in 2013. The premiere performance of both movements was during LeHum new music series in Moncton, March 2014. Both movements investigate the use of glissando between voice and strings creating vaporous sound forms which give a rising, twisting and falling harmonic movement–inducing sonic drifting–as if sound were fumes.
Les Fumeurs were a group of people known as “The Society of Smokers” who existed in France during the 14th century. Two poems written about or by les fumeurs were set to music and included in the collection of songs named The Chantilly Codex. One poem, Puisque je suis fumeux, was set by Hasprois and another, Fumeux, fume, par fumée by Solage. The translation of the French word “fumer” has led many people to believe that these poems were about smoking, but there was neither tobacco nor opium in Europe during the 14th century. Speculations as to what they may have been smoking instead is common, and scholar Patricia Unruh (UBC, Canada) suggests in her thesis that this poetry that elaborates on the French word "fumer" is really closer to the english verb “to fume”. In the a 14th century, “fuming” was understood as a psychological state, such as melancholia, and therefore it is more likely that this society of artistic people were fuming with the vapour of wine–but the constant play on the word fumer suggests a certain tongue-in-cheek leaving the exact nature of "fumosity" a mystery.