– travels through the microcosm of Lauren Newton’s vocal sounds

Vocal: Lauren Newton
Vocal recordings:
sound engineer/cutter: Martin Eichberg
assistant director: Nathalie Singer
Composed, directed and realized by Sabine Schäfer.
Produced by DeutschlandRadio Berlin (DLR) / Saarländischer Rundfunk (SR), 2000.
First broadcast by DLR Berlin, December 1st, 2000

The subject bracketing in this piece of music is travel, or rather, the activity of traveling, being “on the road”, in its most diverse facets and on varying sound and action levels. A network of external and internal travels is spreading out. The character of this radiophonous sound composition is determined by projected, past and imaginary traveling experiences and, above all, by travels through the microcosm of sounds.

The basic sound substance, of which the major part of the production is created, is Lauren Newton’s voice. It is this substance of which timbres with instrument-like qualities such as the frequently emerging deep and slowly pulsating bass sounds or else sound surfaces in upper registers (which the listener might at times take for synthetically produced sounds) are generated. Many abstract timbres which a listener would no longer trace back to a human voice, but might associate with different, although very concrete origins, are gained from the microcosm of this voice. But also the recurring “strange” voices or polyphonic male choirs are generated from Newton’s vocal material.

Lauren Newton’s personal and artistic life has influenced in many ways the moulding of this piece, the selection of sound materials as well as some additional parameters. Thus, passages of her diary describing a plane trip from Los Angeles to Seattle constitute a substantial element recurring in different variations, while her obsession with singing carries her away into ecstatic states of sound.

On all of these levels, the female voice is constantly interlaced with nature sounds and environment noises. These constitute at times the resonance space, the counterpointing match or else the timbre field for the most diverse mixtures and minglings. Artificial SoundMilieus created from transformed bird voices and the female voice are established. Metamorphoses lead from scenes providing space for free associations to abstract sound complexes and vice-versa.
Both purport and sound move in an undulating process from external zones such as the projected concert tour and the past plane trip (diary entries) towards the interior, imaginary zones. In the process, the memory of the plane trip as a part of reality evolves into a flight into imagination, into dream worlds. It is also at this point that the voice starts to interlace more intensively with nature sounds and environment noises. Thus, the individual sound levels amalgamate to form multi-linear and multi-dimensional symbiotic SoundStructures. The voice gradually enters ecstatic, extreme states, thus losing its connection to the external world, to external references. Static sound blocks with extremely shrill timbres mark this loss of orientation in which machine noises prevail, when the person eventually loses grip and the mind collapses. In wavelike retrograde movements, Newton’s voice gradually reemerges at the surface, until, in the end, Lauren Newton is back in her kitchen sipping soup with her partner Koho Mori … now, what has happened? … possibly it was all just a thought moving in her mind, lasting no more than a few seconds?