Archive for the 'sound poetry' Category

Baobab issue #9 – Altagor

Baobab issue #9 – Altagor box front
Baobab issue #9 – Altagor back
Baobab issue #9 – Altagor box set
Baobab issue #9 – Altagor cassette side A

French proto-Lettrist poet Altagor (real name Jean Vernier, 1915-1992) used onomatopeia in his “Métapoésie” writings and an invented language in the “Parole transformelle” visual poetry. Also an instrument builder, he accompanied his poetry readings on the pantophone, a stringed, bowed instrument, and the plectrophone, played with a stick. For an introduction to the sound world of Altagor, please refer to the article and sound file on Continuo-docs.

This cassette is an overview of Altagor’s Métapoésie. The amateurish technical realization is probably the work of Altagor himself. It starts with a short excerpt from Simonia, a poem from the 1950s, supposedly longer than 10,000 verses. Simonia was the chthonian goddess Altagor invented during his frequent walks in Les Eparges forest in North-Eastern France. After a brief Plectrophone solo, Altagor then performs a choice of his Métapoésie poems with Plectrophone accompanyment.

[Thanks to Giuseppe for this rarity]

01 Simonia (2:13)
02 Plectrophone solo (:34)
03 Métapoésie I (12:50)
04 Métapoésie II (8:05)
05 Métapoésie III (4:06)
06 Métapoésie IV (7:50)
07 Métapoésie V (8:00)
08 Métapoésie VI (3:18)
09 Métapoésie VII (2:05)

Total time 49:00
Cassette released by Ed. Pubbliart, Reggio Emilia, Italy, 1981?


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Baobab issue #1

Baobab issue #1 cardboard box
Baobab issue #1 cardboard box rear
Baobab issue #1 boxset
Baobab issue #1 side A

A precursor of the 3ViTre sound poetry compilations (see previous post), Baobab, subtitled Informazioni fonetiche di poesia, was a sound poetry cassette magazine founded by Adriano Spatola (1941–1988) in 1979 in Reggio Emilia, in the Emilia-Romagna region in North Italy. Spatola had been publishing poetry magazines and chapbooks since the early 1960s in Bologna and Milan. In 1968, with brothers Maurizio and Tiziano, he founded Geiger, a publishing house dedicated to avantgarde writing (see here). After the death of Spatola, 3ViTre publisher Enzo Minarelli took over the magazine and published new issues well into the mid-1990s.

The first issue of Baobab is an international compilation gathering various languages and various takes on sound poetry, from mere reading to tape manipulation, with the B-side dedicated to Italian sound poets. The diversity of onomatopeia, syllables and sound approaches only adds to the variety on offer here, from Fluxus artist Dick Higgins’ hushed, indecipherable murmurings to Adriano Spatola’s homage to Futurist Marinetti’s Zang Tumb Tumb onomatopeic poetry in the excellent Aviation Aviateur (tr.#15). This is the true spirit of Parole in libertà.

[Thanks to Giuseppe for this rarity]

01 Gerald Bisinger Gespräche Gespräche (3:49) listen here
02 Julien Blaine W M Quinzième 1, 2, 3 (1:55)
03 Julien Blaine Conversation Brésilienne 1977 (1:26)
04 Julien Blaine Comptes Rendus 1, 2 (2:53)
05 Fulvio Abbate & Francesco Gambaro Cotito (4:56)
06 Dick Higgins Glass Lass (4:00)
07 Harry Hoogstraten Sara Mi Na Nah 1, 2, 3 (1:36)
08 Harry Hoogstraten The Do-Dah (:51)
09 Harry Hoogstraten Celebrations Galore (1:02)
10 Harry Hoogstraten For The Painter’s Colors (1:39)
11 Harry Hoogstraten Venice Already (1:17)
12 Giulia Niccolai Toti Scialoja (2:55)
13 Giulia Niccolai Maria Theresopiel (2:09)
14 Giulia Niccolai In The Downs (:57)
15 Adriano Spatola Aviation Aviateur (5:55)
16 F. Tiziano Tramgedy (4:01)
17 F. Tiziano To Type To Hit (3:21)
18 Ivano D’Aurelio Concerto Per Stockhausen (2:02)
19 Arrigo Lora Totino Discussione Del Duemila (1:35)
20 Arrigo Lora Totino Dibattito In A  (1:24)
21 Arrigo Lora Totino Odissea (:56)

Total time 50:40
Cassette released by Ed. Pubbliart, Reggio Emilia, Italy, 1979


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Baobab cassetography (tbc):

1979 Issue #1 “Antologia internazionale”
1979 Issue #2 “Antologia internazionale”
1979 Issue #3 “Oggi poesia domani”
1980 Issue #4 “Il dolce stil suono”
1980 Issue #5 “Antologia internazionale”
198? Issue #6 Arrigo Lora Totino
198? Issue #7 “Transuraniche”, dir. Luciana Arbizzani
198? Issue #8 “Antologia”
198? Issue #9 “Altagor: Métapoésie”
198? Issue #10 “Antologia internazionale”
198? Issue #11 “Baobab Femme”
198? Issue #12 “Alle Fonti Della Poesia Sonora”
198? Issue #13 “Antologia”
198? Issue #14 “Antologia internazionale”
198? Issue #15 “Antologia internazionale”
198? Issue #16 “Antologia internazionale”
198? Issue #17 “Canto Dell’Anello”
198? Issue #18 “Storia della Poesia Sonora”
198? Issue #19 “Baobab Festival”
198? Issue #20 Adriano Spatola
1991 Issue #21 “Baobab Italia ’90-’91”, 4xk7 set
199? Issue #22 “Voci Ispano-Portoghesi”, 3xk7 set
1994 Issue #23 “L’incanto del verso”, 4xk7 set
199? Issue #24 Luigi Pasotelli
199? Issue #25 “I Nuovi Mondi (The New Worlds)”, 4xk7 set
199? Issue #26 “Europa Cavalca un Toro Nero”
1995 Issue #27 “Italia 1995”
199? Issue #28 “Demain Encore”
199? Issue #29 “L’Europa Sonora”
199? Issue #30 “Whenwordies“

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Ernst Jandl – Hosi und Anna

Ernst Jandl - Hosi und Anna, 7in front cover
Ernst Jandl - Hosi und Anna, 7in back cover
Ernst Jandl - Hosi und Anna, poster
Ernst Jandl - Hosi und Anna, 7in side A

Ernst Jandl (1925-2000) appeared on the Austrian sound poetry scene around 1965, just after the demise of the Wiener Gruppe – it is with this heritage and in this context in mind his work is best envisaged. Comprising Hans Carl Artmann (1921-2000), Friedrich Achleitner (b.1930), Oswald Wiener (b.1935), Gerhard Rühm (b.1930) and Konrad Bayer (1932-1964), the Wiener Gruppe was a Vienna avantgarde poetry collective active between 1954 and 1964, when Bayer commited suicide and documented it with macabre photos. The Wiener Gruppe explored non-sensical and concrete poetry, text collage, literary cabaret, happening and sound poetry on disc, as well as generally promoting the Vienna dialect. Ernst Jandl’s relentless play with words, anagrams and limericks during all his life is derived from the Wiener Gruppe. See my previous Jandl post for more info.

Page from the 1st ed. of Hosi und AnnaPage from the 1st ed. of Hosi und Anna

♫ The Hosi und Anna poem cycle first appeared in 1965 as a book of short poems with typesetting and visual poetry by Thomas Bayrle and Bernhard Jäger (pictured above), published by Gulliver-Presse, Bad Homburg, Germany. It was quite successful, notably for the instant sound poetry classic Ottos Mops (listen here). Publisher Wagenbachs published Jandl’s own reading of the poems in their Quartplatte sound poetry series in 1971 (the present disc, Quartplatte #6) and reissued it in 1983, complete with a reading of Laut und Luise (Quartplatte #22). The diminutive poems comprising Hosi+Anna, sometimes as short as the enunciation of their title, are based on alliteration, play on words, Vienna dialect and comical or exotic words like ananas (pineapple). Apparently not originally intended for children, some of these poems are taught in Austrian schools today, where Ottos Mops still delights the kids like limericks delight British children.

01 Hörprobe (:38)
02 Reeee (:26)
03 Fünfter Sein (:24)
04 Steinbock (:20)
05 Wasser (:53)
06 Da (:22)
07 Redensart (:14)
08 Der Alte Vielfraß (:15)
09 Restaurant (1:09)
10 Ottos Mops (:38)
11 Hosi (:22)
12 Hoffnung (:24)
13 Loch (:22)
14 Schmerz Durch Reibung (:35)
15 A Love-Story (:04)
16 Dringend (:12)
17 Mundharmonika (:57)
18 Lauter (:14)
19 Aus Den 30er Jahren (:33)
20 Mmmmmm (1:16)
21 Erfolg Beim Dritten Versuch (:34)
22 Darstellung Einer Beerdigung (2:38)
23 Vatter Komm Erzähl Vom Krieg (:22)
24 Staßenrufe (:43)
25 The Flag (:24)
26 Privater Marsch (:30)
27 Falken Und Tauben (:17)
28 Anleitung Zum Totalen Frieden (:39)

Total time 16:15
7-inch released by Wagenbach, ref. Quartplatte #6, Berlin, 1971


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Allen Ginsberg & Hobo Blues Band – Üvöltés

Allen Ginsberg & Hobo – Üvöltés LP front cover
Allen Ginsberg & Hobo – Üvöltés LP back cover
Allen Ginsberg & Hobo – Üvöltés LP side A

A self-proclaimed Communist and homosexual, U.S. poet Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) caused a stir in several Communist countries he visited (Czechoslovakia in 1965, Yugoslavia in 1980, China in 1984), to the extend of being expelled from Cuba in 1965. His visit in Hungary in 1980 went smoother and he could perform the poetry readings and meetings with political activists that were his usual diet while traveling abroad. In addition, Ginsberg performed and recorded the Üvöltés (Howl) LP with members of Hungarian Hobo Blues Band. A poet of the electronic age, Ginsberg appeared on a number of LPs and recordings as early as the 1970s – see great Ginsberg discography here.

This album is a collection of Ginsberg poems set to music. The opener Gospel Noble Truths and #6 Sickness Blues are sung in English, presumably by Ginsberg himself, who also plays harmonium on the latter. The rest of the 1st side is made of blues rock tracks with singer Földes László interpreting Hungarian translations of Ginsberg poems. The mood is quite varied, from the crepuscular #3 Guru Blues, a fine atmospheric song, to a regular Christmas song with children choir titled Come Back Christmas, while #5 Café in Warsaw is deliciously nostalgic. On the B-side, Földes reads excerpts from Carl Solomonért’s Hungarian translation of Howl with music accompaniment by Hobo Blues Band, a progressive build-up with electric organ, bass, and drums.

[Thanks to Goran for this one]

01 Gospel Noble Truths (4:35)
02 Tear Gas Rag [lyrics] (1:42)
03 Guru Blues (5:10)
04 Come Back Christmas (3:50)
05 Café in Warsaw (4:47)
06 Sickness Blues (5:03)
07 Howl (26:46)

Ginsberg Allen, vocals, Indian harmonium
Földes László, vocals, poetry
Döme Dezső, drums
Fuchs László, piano, el. organ, synthesizer, vocals
Póka Egon, bass, guitar, synthesizer, vocals
Tóth János Rudolf, guitar, violin, vocals

Total time 52:00
LP released by Krem/Hungaroton, Hungary, 1987


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3 Vi Tre, edizioni di polipoesia – issue #3

3 Vi Tre, edizioni di polipoesia – issue #3 front cover
3 Vi Tre, edizioni di polipoesia – issue #3 spread
3 Vi Tre, edizioni di polipoesia – issue #3 side A

The 3rd issue of 3 Vi Tre edizioni di polipoesia was dedicated to US sound poets, two of them already featured in Charles Amirkhanian’s 10+2: 12 American Text Sound Pieces on Arch Records in 1974, e.g.: Amirkhanian himself and Beth Anderson.

US poet Ernest Robson devised an intuitive system of graphic notation for his poems in which letters’ height, length and position under or above the line indicate loudness, length and pitch. 17 Noises in Testicles of an Old Giant is his most famous poem. Buddhist and astrologer Bliem Kern delivers a mysterious ethnic and shamanist song based on onomatopeia and small percussion. Beth Anderson‘s I Wish I Was Single Again is a playful list of approximate homophonies based on the title. In Amirkhanian’s splendid, no-wave-y The Putts, drum machine and synth noise from an Eventide Harmonizer H-949 both underline rhythmic flow and vocal textures.

01 Ernest Robson  – 17 Noises in Testicles of an Old Giant (1:46)
02 Bliem KernKe Kee Kee Alahboo (2:10)
03 Beth AndersonI Wish I Was Single Again (1:15)
04 Charles AmirkhanianThe Putts (5:18)

Total time 10:28
7inch record released by Edizioni Di Polipoesia, Alatri, Italia, 1983


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3 Vi Tre, edizioni di polipoesia – issue #2

3 Vi Tre, edizioni di polipoesia – issue #2 front cover
3 Vi Tre, edizioni di polipoesia – issue #2 spread
3 Vi Tre, edizioni di polipoesia – issue #2 side A

Enzo Minarelli‘s Edition of polipoesia and the 3 Vi Tre seven inch records series were obviously aimed at raising the profile of Italian sound poetry on the international scene dominated in the early 1980s by French and US poets – Swedes were also incredibly creative around the Fylkingen venue. This second issue of 3 Vi Tre clearly put Italy on the map with a pair of provocative sound experiments where poetry is to be found amid highly unusual sounds rather than the expected declamation.

Giovanni Fontana‘s Poema Larsen, or Larsen Poem, is a study for tiny glottal sounds, feedback and larsen. In this experimental piece, the artist confronts fragile human utterances with electricity sounds represented by larsen noises, thus creating a feeling of unease and danger from the juxtaposition. Larsen sounds also deliciously nod towards Steve Reich’s Pendulum Music. Examining speech beyond significance, Enzo Minarelli‘s own contribution is a brilliant tape collage of slowed-down vocals, found sounds and unidentified noises. In this bleak, claustrophobic soundscape, extremely slowed down vocals become mere disembodied traces of human speech, magnifying elementary tonemes, the basic constituents of phonemes. The liner notes encourage the listener to experiment with 45 and 33rpm speeds, so the download link offers both. Each version  has its own merits and some sounds, like speech or bell sounds in the background, are only apparent or distinguishable in one version.

3 Vi Tre issue #2 note

Giovanni Fontana
01 Poema Larsen (5:48)
Enzo Minarelli
02 Neotonemi per campane e fruscii (45rpm speed) (6:44)
03 Neotonemi per campane e fruscii (33rpm speed) (9:00)

Total time 21:28
7inch record released by Edizioni Di Polipoesia, Alatri, Italia, 1983


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3 Vi Tre, edizioni di polipoesia – issue #1

3 Vi Tre, edizioni di polipoesia – issue #1 front cover
3 Vi Tre, edizioni di polipoesia – issue #1 spread cover
3 Vi Tre, edizioni di polipoesia – issue #1 side A

Created by Italian sound poet Enzo Minarelli, born 1951, the concept of Polypoetry (polipoesia) encompasses various forms of sound poetry live performance, from basic poetry reading to elaborated multi-track tape collage to intermedia events (see the official 3 Vi Tre website for more info). In the late 1970s, Minarelli himself mixed poetry readings with video or dancers during multimedia installations and performances he called videopoems. The interest in sound poetry had been reignited in Italy in 1982 with two legendary releases: the Polyphonix n°1 LP on Cramps records, a compilation of international sound poets documenting the festival of the same name ; and the Voooxing Poooetre compilation LP, edited by Minarelli. When he launched the 3 Vi Tre seven inch single series in 1983, Minarelli’s personal tastes brought him closer to Charles Amirkhanian’s 10+2: 12 American Text Sound Pieces on Arch Records (1974), than John Giorno’s Poetry Systems records (1972) – that is, sound poetry exploring sound effects, loops or musique concrète sounds.

3 Vi Tre‘s inaugural issue offers vocal and tape manipulations verging on pure musique concrète in the case of Henri Chopin‘s Chercher, recorded 1975, a remarkable noise study ala Pierre Schaeffer/Pierre Henry, complete with larsen and distortion, microphone rubbed on all kind of materials, and minimal, hushed vocal interventions. Arrigo Lora-Totino‘s 1983 Rumore d’Ombra could pass for a Futurist provocation with its Intonarumori-like noises and Italian onomatopeia.

01 Henri ChopinChercher (7:22)
02 Arrigo Lora TotinoRumore d’Ombra (5:42)

Total time 13:04
7inch record released by Edizioni Di Polipoesia, Alatri, Italia, 1983


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