Electrovoxtronica – that’s my coined word for this genre of electronic music based almost exclusively on one’s voice. I got there a little late (more on that later), so I didn’t hear the entire concert. However, two numbers are particularly worth mentioning.
The second piece I found intriguing was a remix: a Meredith Monk cover tune (“Scared Song”). A lot of Monk’s work has minimal (or nonsense) words chosen for their sounds rather than their meaning, though surrealistic meanings emerge from the sounds. “Scared Song” is no exception to this rule; the words merely tell that three unnamed people are scared for some unknown reason. In this remix, that doesn’t occur until half-way through; by that time it may be that they’re scared of experiencing the masses of sound that have been building up to this point. Monk’s original has some instrumentals; Ms. Z’s remix is almost entirely built of layers of her own voice, though with a brief snippet of piano near the end. This was the only actual “instrument” I heard during the concert.
Part of the experience of the music was the performance. Ms. Z seemed to be continuously ready to break out into a balletic dance, gracefully swaying or fluidly moving her hands and arms. This choreography is necessary for the music. Most of her gestures were directed at a small, boxlike electronic device on the stage, set on a stand. After the concert, I took a closer look at it, and found it to be emitting a (quiet but discernable) high-pitched whine; it was an echolocator, the electronic trigger for her various samples and effects. It was both an enhancement of the experience of the music, and the instrument with which much of the music was played.