Yannis Kyriakides – “Subvoice”

Subvoice is a collection of nine recent works by composer Yannis Kyriakides for various ensembles. These ensembles range from single instruments to large orchestras, that represent an investigation into ideas of voice and language. The music is built on traces of voices and texts that seem to speak or sing in an intimate form of dialogue, either as text that is directly encoded into music, or in traces of voice that are embedded and dissolved into the musical fabric.

Performers on this double-CD include: MAZE, Hezarfen Ensemble, The Electronic Hammer, Philharmonie Zuidnederland, Francesco Dillon, Elisabeth Smalt, Dario Calderone, Barbara Lüneburg, Michel Marang, and Reinier van Houdt.

In Words and Song Without Words, the opening track of the album – performed by Francesco Dillon & Yannis Kyriakides – the encoded words of Felix Mendelssohn argue that music is far less ambiguous than language. A fact that defeats the idea of blogging about music yet I agree with.

There are so many thoughts behind the concepts of the works on the album. On the whole the album is immensely clever. For instance, in the orchestral work of ‘Der Komponist’ the words of Helmut Lachenmann state that:  “The Composer has nothing to say.”

The immensely clever track (the second on the album) called Paramyth uses the spoken voice of a traditional Cypriot story-teller, time-stretched and magnified until it actually sings. Another example is ‘Toponymy’ – this track takes the politically contentious topic of the renaming of Cypriot towns on the Northern part of the island. With this track he encodes the names in Greek and Turkish – the man is a genius!

The hard cover sleeve is designed by Isabelle Vigier who is also responsible for the original illustrations in the 44 pages book of liner notes and texts by Yannis Kyriakides himself. See, Yannis Kyriakides is a composer and sound artist living in Amsterdam. In the last years his work has been exploring different relations between words & music, both in concert compositions and installations through the use of systems of encoding information into sound, synthesizing voices and projected text. His works on CD include a conSPIracy cantata, Wordless, Antichamber, Resorts and Ruins, and recently Lunch Music, all released on Unsounds. With guitarist Andy Moor his collaboration has incuded ‘Rebetika’ and ‘Life is a Billion Heartbeats’. He is a founding member of the ensemble MAZE, and teaches composition at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague.

Release on Unsounds on the tenth of February.

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