Two Extremes of Oral Sound Art

René Van Peer, Musicworks, no. 94, March 1, 2006

These recent CDs of Canadian sound poets Paul Dutton and Pierre-André Arcand show two artists operating in the same field, but at virtually opposite ends. While Dutton’s work is basically acoustic, being rooted primarily in the amazingly virtuosic command he has of his speech organ and the cavities directly connected to it, Arcand squeezes his voice through all manner of electronics for his pieces. Dutton’s work is as pure and austere as you can get. On Arcand’s Atlas Epileptic the voice is not the be-all and end-all as on Dutton’s album, but rather a starting point for hypnotic sonic excursions.