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Leo Kupper - Ways of Voice - François Couture, All Music Guide:: Feature Article

David Dunn - Four Electro-acoustic Compositions Ways of the Voice is a collection of four works for the human voice composed by Leo Kupper between 1984 and 1998. All works use as sound source the voice of the Brazilian mezzo-soprano Anna Maria Kieffer singing in a meaningless (as in invented) language with Eduardo Janho-Abumrad also providing vocals on Rezas Populares do Brazil. This piece is the most interesting of the programme. It contains more electro-acoustic manipulations than the other three. The "lead" voice is backed by stretched samples of the singers' voices, creating beautiful sound textures. It is often very hard to know where the creativity of the singer ends and the pre-planned work of the composer and the latter's work in the studio begin. Amkéa is made of four voices and sounds as if no manipulation was attempted, except for the simple overdubbing of the voice. The resulting music is often stylistically akin to Fatima Miranda's Concierto en Canto. On Annazone, Kieffer converses with a background of Brazilian forest sounds (birds, insects, etc.). Oddly, the piece begins and ends on sampled orchestral staccatos -- a way to frame this "nature symphony?" Although entertaining, Annazone lacks cohesion and Kieffer's performance gets very close to being cartoonish. But this piece aside, Ways of the Voice offers a beautiful setting for Kieffer's talent. Rezas Populares do Brazil is a memorable piece of work for anyone interested in the way one can write for/with the human voice. The booklet includes liner notes in English, French and Portuguese. François Couture, All-Music Guide

New York based record producer (and composer) Al Margolis is dedicated to bringing lesser known and historical electronic music figures to light. He has already produced CDs of early works of Pauline Oliveros, Rune Linblad and others. His most recent release is a CD of collaborative pieces between Belgian composer Leo Kupper and Brazilian singer / improviser Anna Maria Kieffer. The collaborations, which span a 16 year period, use Kieffer's amazing voice as material for further laboration (mostly using granular synthesis techniques) and also for the lovely melodic quality of her voice. The work deals with many aspects of Brazilian culture, from popular prayers,set for two voices and vocal fragments in the first piece, through the sounds of the rain forest, used in "Anamak" and "Annazone", the second and fourth pieces, to an electronic fragmentation and reconstruction of her voice in "Amkea", the third piece, of which the third movement "Recit 2" has some ravishing vocal textures and treatments. The Music material of "Anamak" additionally, derives from Kieffer's research into the music of the indigenous peoples of Brazil. An absorbing, beautiful, and extremely listener-friendly album.


Past Feature Article: If, Bwana / Al Margolis featured in UK's Wire Magazine
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