Henri Chopin – “La Plaine Des Respirs”

“One of the oral aspects of this vinyl is the negation of a religion, from north to south, east to west.

This aspect is because neither the lamb nor the bull prey, they are one as the other as life is … for one it bleats, for the other it moos.

But did the gods want the lamb to be a pope, the bull to be a Minotaur?

After billions of years, where natural liberty was at the mercy of a bestial pavise, it seems that which Tochnit Aleph  publishes puts the true decors and sources of real life back in to place.

Also I propose to Tochnit Aleph a panorama of “breaths” or also a relief of pain, taken from the frogs of Aristophanes, to annoy the kings and emperors, including the “safe and sound” dictators!” – Henri Chopin

I purchased this excellent CD issue of the original vinyl from Electric Knife Records in London (mail order) and so began an odyssey.

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Released on Tochnit Aleph, Henri Chopin’s “La Plaine Des Respirs” is a work of genius – no doubt about it. As with the first ever review on this bog – “La Danse …” – this is a sound poetry album that is on a par with non other that I have heard.

Sound poetry is an artistic form bridging literary and musical composition, in which the phonetic aspects of human speech are foregrounded instead of more conventional semantic and syntactic values; “verse without words”.

Using his favourite method of breathless whispers – this is a much more sophisticated affair than “La Danse …” as the man’s passion burns all the more brightly.

Henri Chopin was born in Paris,18 June 1922, one of three brothers, and the son of an accountant. Both his siblings died during the war. One was shot by a German soldier the day after an armistice was declared in Paris, the other while sabotaging a train.

Chopin was a French practitioner of concrete and sound poetry, well known throughout the second half of the 20th century. His work, though iconoclastic, remained well within the historical spectrum of poetry as it moved from a spoken tradition to the printed word and now back to the spoken word again. He created a large body of pioneering recordings using early tape recorders, studio technologies and the sounds of the manipulated human voice. His emphasis on sound is a reminder that language stems as much from oral traditions as from classic literature, of the relationship of balance between order and chaos.

Chopin’s poesie sonore aesthetics included a deliberate cultivation of a barbarian approach in production, using raw or crude sound manipulations to explore the area between distortion and intelligibility. He avoided high-quality, professional recording machines, preferring to use very basic equipment and bricolage methods, such as sticking matchsticks in the erase heads of a second-hand tape recorder, or manually interfering with the tape path.

He died in January 2008.

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