‘As if, Philip Tagg’ on Clan Analogue’s ‘Intone: Voice Abstractions’ compilation


clan analogue

*** UPDATE: Congratulations to Clan Analogue on Intone: Voice Abstractions’ shortlisting for the Australian Art Music Awards’ Excellence in Experimental Music award. ***

I have a track called As if, Philip Tagg (featuring Renee Vaughan Sutherland) on Clan Analogue’s compilation Intone: Voice Abstractions. Concept by Matt Hetherington and the late Robert ‘Bo’ Boehm, and curated by Actual Russian Brides. Also features Kusum Normoyle, Carrier, Robert Sazdov, KOSHOWKO, Doctrinaire, Su Veneer, City Frequencies, Hethre Letter, Thallium+Milo, Wonderfeel, Alex J Wise, Automatic Teller Machine Machine, Disla System, Andy Rantzen, Ryan Spinoglio, Baby Swindle, Winduptoys, Georgia Webb & Gail Priest.

The track is a response to an article written by musicologist Philip Tagg in a 1987 issue of Semiotica, called ‘Musicology and the Semiotics of Popular Music’. While I appreciate much of the sentiment of Philip Tagg, there was a concept in this article that stirred me:

(Try producing music by reading this sentence in a normal tone of voice!) … precision of musical discourse does not equal precision of verbal discourse since the two symbolic modalities are not interchangeable and have no quid pro quo relationship with each other …

So I recorded film artist Renee Vaughan Sutherland using words from the article in a ‘normal tone of voice’. Editing the words and phonemes, I produced a track that is, in some regards, undeniably musical. The track brings to light the concept of the musicality of spoken word as well as the possibilities of digitizing the voice.

Listen to the track below or get the whole compilation on bandcamp.