Vocal Suite

vocal suite

Franziska Baumann - Voice, flute and electronics, UTR 4105, Unit 1997

A dripping faucet, the sound of a flute, the chirping of crickets, her own voice, darting electronics or the thrumming of a didgeridoo. With her ears set to maximum reception and miles of audio tape, Franziska Baumann moves about gathering sound. With the help of a sequencer program she then sends these sound bytes on journeys that change them beyond recognition. In the midst of this a voice or flute will pick out its way, fighting against the current or tossed along with the waves – never still for a moment. ”Vocal Suite” tells succinct stories that cannot be translated into words. Each piece opens up spaces that cannot be seen in dimensional terms.

Their detail cannot be grasped: associations from centuries-old vocal polyphony to fairground music are touched upon but never fully expanded. In one instance the syllables could almost be English but individual words cannot be made out. ”For me, the unadorned voice is a language more expressive than words. In it are endless landscapes, characters, textures and colors.” This journey of discovery through the voice and its surroundings leads to resonant extremes: a dizzying abyss opens up between the feather-light vocalization that drives itself even higher and the deep electronic vibration.

It is the distance between a throaty giggle and a sustained cantilena. The contrasts, however, do not seem artificial: the structural aspect is concerned only with a respect of proportions. The important events take place via the ear, via the feeling for a natural balance and the uncompromising search for a personal language. This is, in essence, what transforms the individual pieces into a suite.

Susanne Kübler 1997, Translation by Ania Dardas

Franziska Baumann