1. Dynamisme integral (1966)
2. Presence du Soleil (1971)
3. Dentales soufflees (1979)
4. La Peur (1958/1969
? Records/Edition Hundertmark, Germany, ?09, 2002
performed and recorded by H. Chopin
A collection of early text-sound compositions: “Dynamisme intégral”, (1966), “Présence du Soleil” (1971), “Dentales soufflées” (1979), “Le Peur” (1958/1969). Edition of 400 copies. “The works of sound poet Henri Chopin can hardly be called spoken word, but are rather sound collages created with vocal noises, often without the use of words or even the sounds of syllables. The 37-minute title track, “La Peur” (The Fear), recorded in 1958 and 1969, is one of Chopin’s more intense and formidable pieces, a dark sonic sculpture of rumbles; shrieks; deep, repetitive mutterings of “la peur” and “le trieste”; and, at one point, what sounds like the roar of an atomic bomb going off, but created entirely by Chopin’s throat. The other tracks are slightly less frightening and generally more abstract. “Dynamisme Integral” from 1966 is longer than the 1973 version on the Audiopoems CD, and has high-pitched noises and drones, whereas “Dentales Souffles” is one of Chopin’s breath pieces, where the passage of air against the teeth and mouth with varying vocal utterances are used to create a harsh noise-scape, combined with some strange clucking noises. “Presence du Soleil,” from 1979, is far less abstract, as it starts off with the spoken-word repetition of “presence du soleil” that soon becomes distorted through tape-trickery and vocal chicanery, whispered, sped up, and slowed down. Like all Chopin’s work, these pieces are pure avant-garde experiments that will drive most people away. Chopin tests the limits to what the human voice is capable of, and his sound-art, particularly on a powerful piece like “La Peur,” can be quite rewarding to those looking for something more extreme and uncompromising than, say, Throbbing Gristle or Whitehouse.”
Since the end of the 50’s, Henri Chopin, an explorer in the new recorded sound poetry field, has never ceased, through his own work as well as through his publishing activities (the magazine Cinquième Saison from 1959 to 1963, then the magazine with record OU from 1964 to 1974) to defend the electronic explorations of the voice and the body, the grain of the voice, the vocal texture, the vibrations of the larynx, the labial snaps, and the hiss; first with the aid of the tape recorder, then, starting from the early 70’s, by working in the best electronic music studios in Europe (Atelier de création of Radio France, the Fylkingen Studio in Stockholm, the WDR Studio in Cologne, and recently in Australia … ). A path extending from the exploration of the resonance of words, in 1956, to the new sound form of 1994, in collaboration with a cybernetic musician at Ircam, Marc Battier.
Henri Chopin opens new ways by going beyond the separation between music and language, and he discovers the infinite chant, the fantastic yard of the mouth and the corporal noises with the aid of new electronic machines: a new conscience of space thanks to astro-physicians and biologists. A new, as of yet unknown culture, is born with the aid of the new means. Varèse had long before foreseen this exploration, defining it as necessary. An explorer of a terra incognita, of an infro- and ultra-poetry of pure energy that goes beyond language, Henri Chopin introduces the primary poetry, in the sense of Novalis, that is poetry as energy, the primary planetary poetry of the corporal space. At the some time as his research into sonority, he gives letters another form through his typewriter poems, which find their best expression in the recent, wonderful work titled Les riches heures de l’alphabet, put together in collaboration with his friend Paul Zumthor, an expert in the Middle Age period.
(text published in Revue et Corrigée n. 23, Grenoble, March 1995)
—(translation: Andrea Cernotto)