Monday, December 9, 2013

JAAP BLONK "Songs of Little Sleep" (Scumbag Relations/Sleepy Cobalt Sound)



On a loosely conceptual album concerning the entering and exiting of sleep, its cycles and the subconscious, Dutch composer/performer/video artist Jaap Blonk fractures into a chamber ensemble of clones of himself, extending far past the outer limits of extended vocal technique.  

Jaap forms the base of his repertoire around a lineage of Dada sound poets, his recording of Kurt Schwitter's 1922-32 masterpiece "Ursonate" being his most well known.  His live performances border on scholarly presentation- he's an expert on this subject and one of the few preservers of the literature on the underground circuit.  As in the Dada tradition, Blonk's pieces are based on phonetic vibrations with no logical context, only emotional/aesthetic.  As if aurally observing a sleep study, you hear Jaap enter into a deeper subconscious state- yawns turn into low guttural grunts and blistering harsh noise coming unbelievably from a human voice.  Tossing textural scrapes and use of electronics allow for plenty of sonic variation on this extended player, though i'd be just as convinced by the vocal alone.  



- -Matt Robidoux

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