Spoken Word

Breathe. (Ursula Kay Vos – Phx, AZ)

My mind is rushing like 22 seconds to go until that plane hits the ground and you’ve died before I finish this sentence!
Every detail of my day flashes,,, only 21 seconds to go…

My abandoned New Years resolutions combine with every time I cried,,, 20 seconds to go

My many friends, people come and gone fill my sight,,, 19
every first kiss envelops my body, and I feel euphoric bliss… 18
and as my children cry for the very first time,,, I watch them grow,,, I’d die for you…

As the flash of life gives way to a flash of light, I scream
Grabbing air, I watch myself die…

I watch the emergency workers, as they clear the smoldering debris from the carnal wreckage… until they get to me….
When I awoke again, I see the masks of doctors, and finally I can sigh.. My breath into life.


Idea for multi-language voice project

Objective – to create a collection of 10 -12 audio pieces using two or more languages for each piece, attempting to capture and enhance the natural ‘musicality’ of the spoken voice

Participants can contribute whatever they wish. For example  a poem, a story, a description of some kind of sensory stimuli, a description of physical or emotional feelings, a memory…. 

Basic idea – 2 recordings of the same material will be needed, one in English and one in the second language of choice.  I can capture the voices with recording equipment I have or participants can make recordings on their own equipment such as phones/pods/pads/computers etc and send the audio files to me via dropbox or email.

Ideally I would like the recordings to be between 1 – 5 minutes long (maybe a little longer). 

I would prefer to obtain recordings with little to no background noise if possible.  However I can foresee that  if erroneous background noise is present it may be possible to incorporate it into the final project in a creative way as the mixing stage progresses.

When each person has recorded the two versions of whatever material they wish to share, I will attempt to find ways of making the 2 readings work well together as a single piece – running simultaneously in left/right channels, fading in and out from one language to the next, overlapping/colliding with each other….just a few options from many possibilities . Depending on how the individual recordings progress, it may be an option complement the voices with other sounds or music (whoever participates and what they end up talking about will determine my approach on this)

I am interested in the qualities of the voices as much as the words that are spoken. 

I am interested in exploring the interplay between the two voices and how it may affect the perception of the meaning of the words being spoken

I would like to encourage collaborative dialogue at all levels of the process

The final outcome of the project will be dependent upon who participates and what they talk about.

Initial stage will be identifying people who would be interested in and then gathering participating the gathering of raw material – people’s voices

Although individual components may come together relatively quickly, I envisage that the project as a whole will take at least a few months to come together

Current list of possible participants

Name:  Pamela Zimmer 
Languages:  English/Japanese
Memories of Japanese train rides

Name:  Jana Foley (Miss Redd)
Languages:  English/French
Subject: Taming The Beast

Name:  Ernesto Monacada
Languages:  English/Spanish
Subject: To be determined

Name:  Anna Caramana
Languages:  English/???/Feline
Subject:  To be determined

Name: Wendy Antipow
Languages: English/Dutch (also, possibly German/French)
Subject: To be determined

Part 3 RPM 2013: Ideas and Possibilities as seen from the end of 2012

Here are 8 ideas where the RPM challange in 2013 might take me…I have just got to make a choice on which path to take at some point.

I will add more possibilities and potentials if and when I think of them

1) Ask Outposters to send me one or two photographs. I will choose 10 pictures from those I get. This will become the inspiration for the songs and also the song art for each track. An ‘oblique collaboration’
2) Choose a very limited palette of instruments, maybe unusual combinations (eg nylon string guitar and monotron – with vox) Construct songs only using this palette.
3) Create 2 CDs – week 1 create a demo CD using only acoustic or electric guitar. Week 2 – 3 fine tune and orchestrate/arrange the songs – rough/smooth concept? This could be a great approach, but might also become limiting/frustrating if I make myself stick to the plan
4) Here in Phoenix, there is an art walk which takes place on the first Friday of each month. I like wandering around these art walks and invariably stumble across something interesting. As ‘first Friday’ is Feb 1st, it might be interesting to wander round collecting raw material from various locations and create an ambient/soundscape based on these sounds – maybe try to pull in some locals for specific collaboration? A bit of a ‘concept’ album in a way. Depending n what material I get, this might be one of the easier options.
5) Guitar rig based frippertronic-like collection of songs or instrumentals
6) Collaborate with M2, Bud, Cat? Mungo? Others?
7) A ‘degenerative’ music experiment where each successive track is a mutation of the previous track – so by track 10, things have devolved that they may bear no resemblance to track 1
8) Create a fake band with a fake history and take it from there depending on what the fake band’s history suggests. Even better, ask someone else to create a whole fake band history for me and then ‘drop it on me’ on February 1st

Part 2: 2011 – sonicmagpie/In LiMbO and APOD/Looking Outside

In 2011, I decided I wanted to see if I could ‘up the ante’ for myself at least.
Towards the end of 2010, I had begun to formulate a plan for RPM 2011 with my musical collaborator/friend Cat from sonicmagpie. Cat and I  have made lots of music / recordings together, so again I knew we could work together well (and more importantly very quickly).

Our initial talks began in late 2010 and revolved around the possibility of basing what we were going do around the concept of being ‘in limbo’. I also suggested that we should consider limiting ourselves to a basic palette of instruments and not be tempted by the Pandora ’s Box of virtual instruments. At that point, at the end of 2010 we basically left it at that.

Simultaneously, Kevin and Michael from APOD thought it might be good to participate in the 2011 RPM challenge too.

I didn’t want to turn down this opportunity and even though I knew it would a lot to attempt to do 2 RPM projects at the same time, the way I remember ‘rationalising’ my thought process on this was I can focus more as a ‘producer’ with sonicmagpie and be more of a ‘contributor’ to the APOD stuff.

In my mind, it all seemed very ‘do-able’.

As the month of February 2011 approached, at some point I thought it would be interesting if I could cross pollinate both projects with the some of the same tracks, thereby fulfilling a notion I had entertained for many years about working on the same track with a few different people, with only me having the complete and ‘big picture’ as things progress (This was a decision I later regretted, mainly because keeping this idea to myself rather than being upfront with all involved felt like a breach of trust and honesty with the creative process which at one point put the whole thing in jeopardy. However from another perspective, I am glad that I did do it because the results were extremely interesting)

I can remember an intense flurry of activity on both the sonicmagpie front and APOD in that first few days of February. On my side, I created loads of songs using a basic guitar rig set and drum machine setup. I created working titles for each piece – randomly choosing phrases from a book I was reading at the time, some of which survived to the finished product. Some of those pieces went to APOD and some went to sonicmagpie and some went to both projects.

I seem to remember working more on APOD material first; as I recall, Kevin got very sick with the flu early on and was unable to contribute as much as he hoped, so a lot of the APOD material fell to me and Michael initially. Kevin and Michael contributed many ideas which I was able to add to. I threw in a few tracks I had put in the pool using the ‘sonicmagpie palette’ – some unique to the APOD project and some that were taken in a different direction by sonicmagpie.

With the sonicmagpie project, cat very quickly came up with layers of vocals and melodies, pretty much recording everything on the pinhole mic of her macbook. This helped to create a vocal sound which I think became an integral part of the sonic character of the ‘In LiMbO’ recordings. As I was working on these songs, I kept in my head the image that we had got all of our gear set up in a basement somewhere and that was all we had to work with. I also pretended that we were recording ‘analog’ and that we weren’t using digital sequencers. Our palette of instruments consisted of electric guitar (which was either heavily distorted and effected or ultra clean in a telecaster-like indie pop way), an organ, one drum machine, a bass guitar, big reverb with one or two other occasional enhancements (like a TB 303 bass sound, or limited a few synth textures).

It definitely worked in our favor to limit ourselves in this way and as a result, we created a totally cohesive record from start to finish. I did most of the music tracks (with the exception of the title track and ‘an intricate network’) and cat did pretty much all of the singing, although I added backing vocals to few of the songs too.

A word on art work and liner notes:
On all of the above projects that I never really got involved with the production of the CD packaging and liner notes beyond making suggestions for sleeve art. Kevin handled most of that for both Month of Sundays and APOD. Cat did virtually all of the artwork for the sonicmapgpie CD. The liner notes and artwork are one of the most fun aspects of the project I think because it is at that point that everything gels completely and the concepts that you have created are complete. I hope to get a bit more involved with this final stage of the process for the 2013 RPM challenge (however I end up doing it)

The sonicmagpe ‘In Limbo’ CD can be found here: http://rpmchallenge.com/index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userprofile&user=9251&Itemid=296

The APOD ‘Looking Outside’ CD can be found here: http://rpmchallenge.com/index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userprofile&user=9258&Itemid=296


Back at the tail end of last year,  Kara Roschi and I came up with the idea of producing a tangible ‘artifact’ to accompany the ‘staring down andy’ videos which will be screened at Practical Art in March

Originally the idea was to produce a set of prints and videos of the portraits which would be on a USB stick

The idea has evolved into a limited run of prints which will be available as part of a box along with a DVD containing interview footage about the making of ‘staring down andy’

This is our artifact