Artist: Jen Kutler
Participating artists (data providers): Rena Anakwe, Stephanie Germaine, Sofy Yuditskaya, Quintan Ana Wikswo, Meagan Johnson, Amelia Moon, Caroline Partamian, L.Barnes, Meg Noe, Jenn Grossman, Merche Blasco and Jen Kutler
“Disembodied is a series of audio pieces generated by the vibrations and movements captured by an electronic ring worn on the finger of a feminine spectrum body while bringing themselves to orgasm. The ring transmits nothing but data in a spreadsheet. This is the first step in a series of de-sexualization experiments seeking to discover the amount of separation required to de-objectify a body on the feminine spectrum. The spreadsheet is parsed in Pure Data to create a variety of MIDI files which are given synthetic voices to generate twelve sound pieces (one for each participant’s set of data). The timbres and textures draw from pure tones, field recordings, and granular synthesis to create long drones, complex harmonies and dynamic timbral shifts.”
Are you ready to be disembodied? To lay back and think of nothing as we join the physical and aural journey that this album promises?
Sofy Yuditskaya’s contribution has the feel of waves and birds, heard through an open window. Insects join in and there is some sounds of construction – perhaps tiny cages have been created to house cicadas so that they can seranade us. They have been underground for many years and so naturally they sing as loud as possible. Metallic notes soar and dip like swallows around the landscape and our ears vibrate with joy.
Caroline Partamian’s track begins with long sweet tones and an underlying juddering hum. There is a flickering of insect feet as the tones build into a high-pitch, it is as if people are playing to us on a multitude of wine glasses, their fingers circling the rims as one of them taps the stem of a glass with long nails.
Rena Anakwe’s piece has lower, crackly tones and a splice of sound like the chewing up of a tape. There are layers of droning engine-like sounds and the rustling of branches in the wind. It feels like we could be in the air, gliding past the humming aeroplanes and over the tops of trees, looking down on the earth and its tiny scuttling inhabitants.
L. Barnes’s song transports us back to the water, perhaps a river. It seems as if we are inside a narrow boat making it’s way down the canal – muffled sounds of objects under the surface and underwater chimes. Is this the music that tuna kuwharuwharu, the longfin eels, have been listening to for the last 80 million years as they swim towards the sea?
Stephanie Germaine’s soundscape is a bit like being in a busy train station, a Foley track of footsteps, closing doors, moving wheels, ancient machines printing out tickets. There is the sound of the train whistle, and a puff of steam. Someone walks by with a shortwave radio and another person passes through with an old wind up gramophone on a trolley.
Quintan Ana Wikswo’s track crackles and whirs into life like a pond full of frogs and damselflies. There are pure clear notes and then the sound of human voices blending with a crisp helicopter propeller beat. It sounds like the emergency services are being called to prevent a female from jumping off a ledge. This is the most unsettling track so far and we can only hope that they made it to her in time.
Meg Noe’s contribution clicks and taps at the sides of our skull as various tones and drones fill the space between our ears. The squeal of a closed throat squeezing through breath and a gently played woodwind instrument join the fray. There is a gentle bubbling followed by almost siren-like tones and the tapping continues to keep us alert as our head overflows with sound.
Meagan Johnson’s song has the textures of hands busily tapping on vintage typewriters, winding thread, and stretching packaging tape so that it creaks. There is also the tones of a vibraphone creating a backdrop for these activities. It feels as if we are standing with our eyes closed, turning slowly in circles as the world unfolds around us, punctuated by the crackling of sparklers, television antennas and the pop of rubber balls bouncing against the wall.
Jen Kutler’s track has an industrial feel, we are wandering through a factory of sound-creating machines. Conveyor belts carry glass dew drops that are plucked at by mechanical hands, a band saw gently slices through blocks of ice that melt onto thin metal discs, creating a lush shimmer.
It seems that animals, perhaps birds and dogs are controlling the machines, our ears are entirely at their mercy.
Merche Blasco’s soundscape begins with a vibration like the sound of hair clippers on your skull, which combines and builds quickly into a thick skein of tones. They seem to fray a little and then rejoin with renewed strength, weaving a sonic tapestry like a cloak around us.
Amelia Moon’s piece is like being inside a bell jar – everything is contained and so close that we can almost touch it. At first there is only a small amount of air in here with us, but more is allowed in and the sounds grow louder in response. The quietness gives way to a chirruping and buzzing of insects as crisp notes envelope us in their embrace. A smattering of silvery bells punctuates the music.
Jenn Grossman’s song has the feel of a submarine, with Morse code and sonar being used to communicate with other vessels and creatures. We move through the water picking up the vibrations of everything around us, the ocean is not as silent as we expected it to be. Though we cannot see anything, we can hear the bell-like tones and radio scratchings of the subaqueous world surrounding us. We are clearly traveling through unknown territory here, and it is both fascinating and a little ominous. The perfect ending to this album which leaves us ever more curious.
This release is not something to be missed, it is a one-of-a-kind journey. It is something totally new that we are lucky to be able to experience.
The release date is December 10, you can pre-order here: