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Drawing Voices

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Album Review

This is one of the spectral terrains where experimental music, visual art, and digital technology meet other forms to become something else entirely, while retaining their characteristics. Artist and professor Craig Dongoski began the Drawing Voices project in 1999, where he recorded and amplified the sounds of mark making — those made in the creation of a drawing or while writing. By using digital audio technology and constructed sonic frameworks, he was able to stack, manipulate, and otherwise spindle these sounds and scratches to create an entirely new mode of communication — he finds new voices birthed from those assembled and is indeed creating new possibilities for the creation of art (after all, what is art but communication?). His partner on this self-titled debut disc (on the truly badass Hydra Head label) is none other than Isis main man Aaron Turner. The original sounds of marks being made is further added to by placing layer upon layer of sound to extend the range of the sonic palette, offering new possibilities of shade, dynamic, tension, color, and even speech — vocal loops are also recorded here in selective places. Turner also gets his guitar woven in, albeit in strange ways where the textures are treated, elongated, and stretched to the breaking point of the instrument's recognizable sound — but it is powerful as hell. There are a total of six different pieces here, with an untold number of languages present, each informing and disseminating from one another. These new spaces provide the ground of communication, sonically extant, where meanings have no fixed center because they are not necessarily fixed — the original sources have been placed here in this manner, but they could just as easily have been rearranged to offer some new combination of elemental voice communication. How that communication is heard and what comes from it (you could most likely add your own digital sounds to this and extend it even further) is not a "deconstruction" — it is a birthed construction that is never quite finished, never static, ever flowing and evolving. And given the many resources put into play here, it is also holistic and becomes a new kind of "writing," aural "map-making," or even visual art because all of this can be transferred to print or canvas by another voice engaged in the act of creation. This is the kind of ambient music Eno might have considered had he been looking toward integrating it into other sonic and physical languages instead of just being an end in itself.

Drawing Voices, Drawing Voices
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