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Joan La Barbara - Tapesongs

by Joan La Barbara

£15.00 / On Sale

Tapesongs is the second of two crucial Joan La Barbara reissues on Arc Light Editions, following Voice Is The Original Instrument (ALE005). The original artwork is an incredible shot: Joan buried to her neck in reel to reel tape. It includes two essential pieces: John Cage’s Solo For Voice 45, and a burning take-down of Cathy Berberian in “Cathing”.

Originally released in 1977, Tapesongs makes use of early electronics, and multi-tracked tape techniques to manipulate La Barbara’s signature extended vocal techniques. In 1977, La Barbara was living in NYC, playing concerts internationally and performing regularly with John Cage, who she described as a mentor. “I began working with John Cage in 1976 and we had done several performances of his "Solo for Voice 45" from Song Books in concert,” says Joan. “Cage determined the 13-minute version for this version, overlaying all 18-pages of the score so that one hears the entire work in layers. Hearing it again after all these years is wonderful and brings back many memories.”

“Cathing” uses a recording of a radio interview Cathy Berberian did during the intermission of one of La Barbara’s concerts at the Holland Festival: “She basically trashed those of us doing extended vocal techniques,” she says. “She used the interview for her own self-promotion rather than taking on the mantle of the ‘mother’ of vocal explorations. Rather tragic, I thought. So I created a work exploring extended vocal techniques and manipulating her spoken voice.”

“Thunder” is for six tympani and voice, using electronic devices (the same as used in “Vocal Extensions” from ALE005), and explores patterns through instruments and real-time composition with two jazz improvising musicians.

Solo For Voice 45 (From Songbooks)

Joan La Barbara is a composer, performer, sound artist and actor, renowned for her unique vocabulary of experimental and extended vocal techniques, which have influenced generations of composers and singers. She has released on labels including Lovely Music and New Albion, and undertaken numerous commissions for chamber ensembles, theater, orchestra, chorus, interactive technology, soundscores for dance, video and films, including composing and performing the electronic/vocal score for Sesame Street’s signing alphabet.

She was Artistic Director of the multi-year Carnegie Hall series “When Morty Met John” and is the co-founder of performing composers-collective Ne(x)tworks. “73 Poems”, her collaboration with text-artist Kenneth Goldsmith, was included in The American Century Part II: Soundworks at The Whitney Museum. She also acted in Matthew Barney’s film project “River of Fundament” and Aleksandar Kostic’s film “Parallel Dreams”. La Barbara is on the faculties of New York University and Mannes/The New School. Composer and publisher member of ASCAP, and member of SAG-AFTRA and AEA.

Awards and prizes include: John Cage Award (2016) from Foundation for Contemporary Arts; DAAD and Civitella Ranieri Artist-in-Residencies; Guggenheim Fellowship, 7 NEA (US National Endowment for the Arts) fellowships; numerous commissions and performances at Brisbane Biennial, Festival d'Automne à Paris, Warsaw Autumn, MaerzMusik Berlin, and Lincoln Center among others.  She is composing a new opera inspired by Virginia Woolf and Joseph Cornell, exploring the artistic process, interior dialogue, and sounds within the mind.

Tapesongs, has been taken from original tapes and remastered by Rashad Becker & Dubplates and Mastering.