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Lost Voices of Blasphemous Friends

In 2006 I both completed recording for, and abandoned, a sound installation for 8 speakers.  The work, originally titled Voices of Blasphemous Friends was intended for installation at a festival to which I was never invited.  I recently stumbled upon the recordings, mostly in a state of discombobulation, and the 5 movements/excerpts I used to submit to the festival.  Perhaps it is the magic of the passing of time, perhaps it was hearing the voices of far away friends, but I was immediately drawn to these recordings.  I here present them unedited and in the state in which I left them 4 years ago.  I will now refer to the work collectively as the Lost Voices of Blasphemous Friends (for obvious reasons.)

To create the piece, I tricked eight friends into writing two questions to me via email under the assumption that at some point that year I would invite them up to Rochester (where I was living at the time) to record them asking me the questions.  I then collected the questions they sent me and put them all together, compiling a list of 18 questions (including two of my own) and a few monologues I asked select people to write.  When the “interviewer” showed up to quiz me, I informed them that in reality they would be the ones answering the questions, and that there were not two, but 18 questions, and that additionally they would be required to sing, hum, and perform other assorted tasks as required by the questions.  After I recorded them answering there own, and other’s questions, I had each one ask me the questions as well.  I did not prepare any answers.

The questions themselves ranged from “Did you have anything to do with the bombing?” to the classy question “who do you think says the word ‘fuck’ the best?”  There is also a question of epic proportion that takes nearly a minute to ask and can be heard below in the piece Question #9.  Originally, the work was to take the form of “a whole and then parts.”  By this I mean that the questions and answers were to be presented unedited, one set per speaker, followed by “movements;” edited portions of the set of whole recordings which would take the form of canons, dance music, and more, using only material from the recordings with no alterations of pitch and duration, nor processing that would mask the original sound.

For much more detail into the philosophical underpinnings of the work I will have to dig (provided something good doesn’t come on the TV.)  Until then, please have a listen to the short pieces/excerpts below.  I hope you will enjoy them.

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Lost Voices of Blasphemous Friends

excerpt of 1+ hour of questions sounding simultaneously, spatialized here to imitate 8 speakers in a rectangular arrangement

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Baboons

monologue written and read by Marc Bollmann

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Question #9

question written by Solomon Guhl-Miller, asked by Scott Petersen (8 different times)

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Giselle

monologue written and read by Matt Barber

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Breakdown : or I am the Destructicon

voices, beat-boxing, and knee-slapping by Ethan Borshansky, Gabriela Ponce, Scott Petersen, other

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