Joan La Barbara - Voice Is The Original Instrument LP


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Label: Arc Light Editions

Our Review:

When it comes to extended vocal technique, La Barbara is the queen. Not only can she boast a lengthy career as one of the top vocal performers in the avant garde and a strong resume of academic compositions, but she's even got a film credit as the voice of one of the evil baby aliens in Alien Resurrection. How many performers of her stature in academia can claim to have voiced a slimy little puppet? Not many we'd guess. The set is divided up into an "Explorations" disc and "The Music" disc, and includes her entire 1976 self-released album Voice Is The Original Instrument. The "Explorations" half is all live, and/or real time, solo voice performances. None of them use any form of processing (digital or otherwise) of the voice and as such are not just intimate, but down right claustrophobic to listen to. Reactions here in the store (from customers and staff alike) range from extreme discomfort to uncontrolled mirth. Andee said that this was the kind of stuff he liked to do as a kid. La Barbara's vocalizations range from slow hooting glissandos like a breathing exercise gone awry to feral animal-esque growls. The second disc, while including much of the same vocal techniques as the first, contains La Barbara's studio works using multi-tracks to over lay multiple overdubbings of growls and such on tape. A definite must for fans of sound poetry.