Tone Poem. What comes to mind is 19th Century symphonic music by composers who wanted the lushness of the symphony but more freedom to explore the theme. Ravel and Debussy, for instance. Richard Strauss, too. (Sometimes I’m willing to admit my ignorance. Sometimes I can even gloat over it, as a form of senile bragging. In regard to the topic, I knew I knew very little and had to take a peek at Wikipedia.)

Hungarian/American composer and musician Istvan Peter B’Rácz has created a group on SoundCloud called Tone-Poem that features the recorded voice but also carries on with the musical tradition. There are almost two hundred tracks posted by over fifty artists. The selection is heavily dominated by Brian Routh. The majority of Routh’s productions are pre-recorded spoken word, usually public addresses on political topics (in fact, his recent postings are most often tagged Music of Activism). I suspect you’ll either be emphatically nodding along or shaking your fist at the computer screen…maybe especially if you agree with him you’ll be shaking your fists in outrage at what’s happening in the world. It’s not always easy listening to Routh’s productions.

B’Rácz began Tone-Poem by spotlighting two compositions of his own that feature the poems of his sister, Emöke S. B’Rácz.…I don’t know what to say about these pieces or anything else by B’Rácz, almost anything I could say would trivialize his talent. It’s one of the regrets in my life that I don’t have more time to listen to his work (or in general: more time to listen).

Another frequent contributor to Tone-Poem and Air to Hear is Bryant O’Hara. I’m just beginning to explore his work myself. O’Hara’s compostions are wildly experimental. I don’t mean to say that he’s inaccessible, though a few pieces might leave you scratching your head. By day he’s a programmer (and, I assume by night, a fan of science fiction and anime), which leads to some adventurous processing of both voice and sound. (Now that I think of it, I’m not sure the selected track is featured in Tone-Poem.)

The last artist I want to feature is Alison Boston (this is the link to her live improv). Like O’Hara, I’ve stumbled on her work before but hadn’t pursued it. I intend to remedy that. Both O’Hara and Boston experiment with sound, with creating a whole audio composition. The best thing would be to have each of these artists speak for themself, rather than me flaunting my ignorance. And there it is, Alison Boston at WordPress!

Categories: Here and now | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

About swampmessiah

Real name, Michael Myshack. I was born in 1957 (pre-Sputnik), graduated high school in 1975, and then slowly began coming to life. I am self-taught in the arts as well as most other things: drawing and babbling since a very early age; started painting seriously in 1975; began writing shortly thereafter, but began writing in earnest circa 1977 (beginning with poetry); first started recording poems and music and other sounds in 1996. Other than an individual showing of drawings at the Tweed Museum at the University of Minnesota Duluth in 1983 and being an instigator and participant of a group exhibit of drawing at the Duluth Art Institute in 1985, I have no professional or academic pedigree. In other words, I have a day job. I've been with someone since 1985. Our children were born in 1991 and 1996.

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