Emma Smith (∆E=W), a stream of consciousness


A little wary of how best to annotate Emma Smith’s vocal rehearsal/game, collaborating with vocalist Steve Boyland and mellifluous members of the audience, it soon became apparent that the best form of report would mirror Boyland’s own improvisatory technique. So, here it is: a stream of things that ran through my mind during the performance.


One lone dominant voice, bellowing. Heads peep round. Babies don’t seem too bothered. In the realm of impulses, in waves, in repitition, entrancing, hitting every note from A to Z, traversing every culture from American Indian to Zulu. A lullaby for the sleeping baby. Everyone has a cut off point. More join – an a capello on acid, where’s the monolith? György Ligeti reborn, talk about Atmospheres. Infectious, Boyland is on another plateau; not for long, music for a Savannah fire – Wait. Was that a word? Maybe not, it’s gone. Females outnumber males (close your eyes, it’s just one voice) Would it sound the same if I weren’t in the room? They intuitively create a volume control. Boyland steps out of the circle as it ends.

Phase two: Last Year at Marienbad resuscitated, or is it Friedrichsbad?. Avoid syllables, no language = new language. Surreal musical zombies, free(?) to move. Was that hyperdrive failure? Carve the emotion, sculpt the sound, bend the air. Homo erectus, an under-evolved mammalian babble. That’s all in my head. Out of nothing: something, like a sub atomic photon. We’ve been here before (the Tibetan mountains), mythical as they may be. How can they think? What’s in their heads? The first laugh, spreads, then whistles. The artist is no longer present. The artists are present. Distant voices, frozen now, will echo no more.

More info here.

– Tom


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