Tellus #25 ‘Site-Less Sounds’


  1. Shelley Hirsch
  2. Gregory Whitehead
    How To Pronounce Prosthesis
    + M Is For The Million Things
    + This Is Not A Test
  3. David Moss
  4. Jacki Apple/Keith Antar Mason/Linda Albertano/Akilah Nayo Oliver
    Redefining Democracy in America (10:05)
  5. David Wojnarowicz & Ben Neil
    The Collapse Of The Illusory One-Tribe Nation (10:39)
  6. Constance Dejong & Brenda Hutchinson
    Vanishing Act (6:39)

Total time 55:36
CD released 1991 by Tellus
Curated by Claudia Gould, Carol Parkinson and Helen Thorington
Cover art & text: David Wojnarowicz

TELLUS issue #25 looks like a continuation from previous endeavors, namely #9 ‘Music With Memory’, 1985 (especially for the Brenda Hutchinson‘s interviews collage ‘Interlude from Voices Of Reason’) and #18 ‘Experimental Theater’, 1987, which included impressive readings on gender issues by Spalding Gray and Jerri Allyn, amongst others. Tellus #25 ‘Site-Less Sounds’ is a theater of voices with all contributions based on reading, sound poetry and language, as well as extended use of recording studio facilities (including Studio Pass on tracks #1 & 6). The works on this CD mingle semantics with politics, mirroring racial, political and gender issues with semantics/phonetics. Language is considered the tool of oppression itself (via media overload, political blabber and daily prejudices) and the means of liberation at the same time, providing composers and the people use it as a weapon. Which more or less sums up the political point of view of Tellus producers and allies. Additionally this issue of Tellus can be considered a testament to their creative ethos: a cleverly curated project with well chosen contributors given absolute artistic freedom and access to up-to-date technology. One of the 3 curators for Tellus #25 is Helen Thorington, a US sound artist and New American Radio producer who started her carreer as a writer. As a matter of fact, several contributions on the CD are based on literature. It all starts with the sexy voice of Shelley Hirsch reading from Angela Carter’s Dr. Hoffman’s Infernal Machines Of Desire (1972) with added processed breathing. David Moss‘s Conjure is based on Italian writer Italo Calvino. David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992) was a gay writer and performance artist. His ‘Collapse Of The Illusory One-Tribe Nation’ is a shatteringly powerful track in which Wojnarowicz unleashes endless, angry rants on politics and gender issues amid a complex web of noise and sound treatment, apparently the result of many studio hours. Track #4, a collective collage work conducted by Jacki Apple, describes prejudices that prevailed under Ronald Reagan, even if his second term ended way back in 1989. This is an excerpt from a longer work commissioned by New American Radio. It is at times hilarious, and at times scary. At 6:36, a young black contributor says: ‘Make me President tonight’, while at 9:00, a woman says: ‘A woman will be President’. History is only half-way to fulfill these dreams.


. . . . . . . . . .

H. Thorington:
D. Wojnarowicz:
Jacki Apple:

2 Responses to “Tellus #25 ‘Site-Less Sounds’”

  1. 1 hab January 26, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    welcome back Tellus, and this issue specially welcome — great themes, great contributors, Moss, Hirsch, the all-too-often overlooked Wojnarowicz a.o. — thanks Continuo, again!

  2. 2 continuo January 26, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Glad you like it. I agree Wojnarowicz is an interesting figure, not easily pigeonholed in one category. He had only one more year to live after his participation to Tellus #25, which, in retrospect, sounds like an aural testament. I hope many people will listen to this. Hopefully this issue of Tellus will be soon all over the web thanks to the many copycat bloggers fishing for gold on Continuo.

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