The Voice Of Reason

The seven-inch single A Linear Thought (WIDE EAR RECORDS WER034) represents the integration of three artists – four, if you count the design of the cover – into a single statement. Tobias Meier, the Swiss composer who also plays free jazz saxophone, and runs the Wide Ear Records label, composed the work; Dalia Donadio, a singer from Zurich, sings it with her voice; and theorist / artist Berni Doessegger provided the texts that are printed on the (heavy cardstock) inner sleeve. Studio Eusebio is credited with graphic design, which has emerged very much in the Russian Konstructivist mode with its red, black and white colour scheme and its diagonal blocks.

I was supplied with a translation of the printed text, which I think is written in German, and one part of it refers to the constituent parts of the human anatomy used to make sound, or to talk (throat, tongue, lips, glottis, lungs) while other paragraphs speculate on the connections between sounds and time; “sound is stretching time,” is just one of the metaphysical claims made within this conceptual framework. Well, the music itself makes its point over two sides of the single; on the A side, it starts out hesitant, a whispering and halting voice which gradually forms notes, but in a broken pattern. By the time of the B side, a confident single tone has emerged, bolstered by harmonies and layers, and it forms a continual sound for most of three minutes. At all times, I was aware of the breath of the singer, which may well be intentional. One could read this work as a schematic diagram of how communication began, how people learned to talk. Or perhaps as a conceptual art statement about the apparatus of language, calling attention to things we might consider so obvious and every-day as to leave them unexamined.

In the creators’ own words, A Linear Thought “tells of intimacy and universality, of the voice as a primal personal organ for communication and emotion”. It took about two years from the creative impulse to the completion of the finished work, so enjoy these intense six minutes; they clearly took a lot of effort to produce. (16/03/2018)

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