LÉONORE BOULANGER “Practice Chanter” (Ana Ott)

I hope you were expecting to wake up to a brand new, fully immersive psychedelic experience based around the human voice this morning, as I clearly was, an experience whose execution filled the child’s-puzzle-board-slot-type vacancy in my daily repertoire like liquid sculpting material filling in an empty spot in a child’s puzzle board, slowly, liquidly, sort of incongruously, but filling it perfectly nonetheless. Thus Practice Chanter, whose title does not describe me at all, buppled and pobbed at me from behind its harmonium-shaped horn-rims, its toy piano facial features, its Casio-cheeked smile, all impish and quixotically arranged. Indeed, Practice Chanter shuffled to its feet like pawn shop come to life, crackles and flourishes of melody and countermelody humming off it like conversation, an abstract concept gaining mass and shape and shambling toward us all.

Is that what Léonore Boulanger had in mind for us?

What was certainly in mind for the French composer was a sense of playfulness and exploration, which shines through in every single moment of Practice Chanter, a wonderland of weird impulses and accidental innovations and whiplash diversions. I’m willing to bet it’s like nothing you’ve heard before, and its vocal intonations (none in English, thank goodness!) carry this thing to its conclusion – and notice I didn’t add “logical” in there! Illogic is what makes this thing hum in the appealingly alien ways it does. Like a mass of ideas carefully sifted into categories and then mixed up again, Practice Chanter will reveal quirky new discoveries on each subsequent listen. Take it from me, I apparently have this stuff for breakfast!