VOX

concert for two sopranos, live-electronics & architectural acoustics

An unbridgeable gap seems to exist between the human voice and electronically produced and processed sounds. The voice is so intimately connected to the body from which it emanates that the two can't be seen as separate. The voice is the vehicle for both reason and emotion. It enchants, soothes, incites, spreads information as readily as it does lies. It breathes the personality that motivates it. The voice is the person, all over the world, in each and every culture.

Electronics run around in boxes, they are the silent and minute traffic along constructed paths, branches and nodes. Although hands direct this traffic, there is no clearcut correspondence between the movements and the resulting sounds. A barely perceptible action can set a complex of lines in motion, timbral shifts and totally unpredictable rhythmic configurations. Sounds may seem organic, but quite often they have a transhuman character, without corporeal resonance.

In fact they are both equally intangible - the vibrations of the human voice and the infinitesimal differences in current that underlie electronics. Vibrations are vibrations, regardless of their source. Put them together in a space and they will intermingle. Roaming around in concert they form a spectral landscape of sounds. A space with generous acoustics gives these sounds a life of their own, makes them collide, fuse and grind along one another; and makes ever-changing sculptures appear that can only be perceived through the ears.

When voices enter electronic circuits they become part of radically different processes. They find themselves on a platform that strongly resembles an experimental dissecting table. They are analysed and unravelled, broken down into their smallest components. These are rearranged to new proportions, are given new shapes, undergo a metamorphosis - and are sent out into the world as new entities.

That is what Rob van Rijswijk en Jeroen Strijbos do in VOX, sequel to Air Sensible and SoundSpots. Again they breathe intangible life into a space by interweaving acoustic and electronically processed sounds in it. Voices from all over the world converse through electronic equipment with two female singers in the vaulted reverb of a church. In concord they enchant the air in that space with their waves.