Dialogue about Spoken Word/Poetry Audio Tracks

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Following on from my last post where I discuss a bit of the creative process – both technical and artistic  – when creating audio tracks for my poems, I’ve heard back from the other person in this dialogue that it’s cool to publish her part of our correspondence. Have a read and feel free to enter the discussion. Regardless of the experience you bring to the table, whether it be as listener or creator, blogger who stumbled in, or regular reader of this blog who quite possibly has never even heard an audio poem before,  your comments are welcome.  We’re discussing the creative process and the end product, the interplay of artist and technology, how you hear it, et all.  Sound is so complex.  I don’t perceive this as a discussion about MY work, rather about sound and word together.   Here are Deon’s comments:
 ….To answer your question, YES, I REALLY LIKED THE TRACK WITH THE LOW VOCALS!  hahaha!  But seriously, yes.  I was thinking about “why” late last night, trying to get my mind to settle down from problem-solving/puzzle-working so that I could get centered enough to begin entering meditation.  What I liked so much — including, frankly, the “noisy” quality of the mix — is that it felt as if the words and voice were part of the soup, not a piece of toast and cheese surrounded by a soupy sauce. Often, vocals — and especially spoken word vocals — are so framed in a mix that they “go” with the music, but they are not actually a part of it.  The last thing I remember realizing before started my breathing exercises is the image of the voice being like an animal voice.
night hike

Image by michelanious via Flickr

   When I’m night hiking, I don’t understand what coyotes are saying to one another. I don’t understand the details, I mean.  What I _CAN_ tell is how agitated they are, how aggressive they sound, how near, how much danger their call-and-response does or does not represent to me.  That’s how the vocal track fit inside the Booth Lake mix that I heard.  This is not to say that it was a perfect mix and I think you ought not touch a hair on its head.  But the soul of the mix felt very right to me.  Very healthy and wholesome.
Often, when I listened to music — particularly in an environment like soundcoud, where I find a wide range of recording (and composing) experience among participants, from novice to material recorded on the Fox lot sound stage — I listen for intention.  I try to understand not what I think of the recording, but what the creator thinks of it.  (“Artist” is so slippery a word to handle with much frequency or grace, so let’s leave that for a later volley.)  So, before I would have gone off half-cocked about imaginary, and real, rules about recording and mixing, I wanted to really try to understand what was happening in your recordings.
In terms of vocal placement, it seems to me that the three tracks go like this:
Most traditional: “I Could Have Been a Banker”
Least traditional: “Booth Lake”
Good Soup:  “Make A Love”
My feminist/humanist/artist (damn, THAT word again) soul adores I Could Have Been a Banker, but the strongest resonance I felt was with Booth Lake, which is not even something I would necessarily anticipate relating to — and I think it had to do with the damaged mix. That said, the mix for “Make A Love” is, in my opinion, really good!  How you set the words, what the words were, how it works as a single piece to create a sexy mood in the way that actual sexy moods feel. Well, in my opinion/experience.  Earlier in the day, for reasons I don’t even recall, I watched a portion of a video by…damn, I’ve forgotten her name already.  It was a bad knock-off of Lady Gaga, and the video was a series of aggressively sexual shots that were about as sexy as the tin can you just tore your thumb on.  The lyric hook was something like “what would you do with my love if you got it.”  But there was no love in the song.  Not even love of sex.  There was…nothing. It was dead.  Polished mix, expensive (yet ironically so very cheap) video, pretty girl…dull experience. Granted, equating text/music art with Europop music is always besides the point, but do you see what I mean?  And it’s not just what you wrote, it’s how you executed it.  That’s the thing about recordings that I think many novices — and many professionals, actually — constantly forget:  the composition is the script, and the recording is the movie.  Both exist as forms, and you need a script to make a movie (even one written on a cocktail napkin), and a song generally craves to be recorded, or at least performed (a whole OTHER email)….
Deon Vozov is an LA-based composer and producer working in film and television. You can listen to her meditation music at Breath For Free, and explore her film and television work at deonvozov.com.
Oh reader reader tell me true, did you read this post right through? 
Do you make audio tracks? Or do you just kick back, relax?
Have you ever heard an audio poem? Are you a surfer who likes to roam?
Do you think the words need to be heard? Or are they just for poetry nerds?
I scratched this poem to poke your brain. Please comment, no need to publish your name! 


Life is an amazing journey. http://www.alisonamazed.wordpress.com http://www.alisonboston.wordpress.com

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Posted in Experimental, Mixing Audio, Music, Performance, Poems, PostADay2011, Writing
One comment on “Dialogue about Spoken Word/Poetry Audio Tracks
  1. […] Dialogue about Spoken Word/Poetry Audio Tracks (alisonamazed.wordpress.com) […]

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