actuellecd

Review

Andrew Timar, The WholeNote, no 12:2, 1 octobre 2006

While I couldn’t find the intriguing sounding title word Idiolalla anywhere, I did however uncover the neologism “idiolalia”, which arose recently from “idio”: personal, distinct, private, peculiar, and “lalia”: speech; therefore “idiolalia”, meaning a private or unique form of speech.

On this CD, the two singers, DB Boyko and Christine Duncan, no strangers to the exploration and extension of vocal limitations, certainly make good use of idiolalia. Jean Martin, the polished jazz percussionist impresses us with his free improv chops and fine musicianship.

On first listening, the sheer range of vocal utterance astonishes, what with lightening quick switching between vocables and effective presentation of many extended vocal techniques. On the other hand, it did take me a while to relax with this mix of Dadaist-inflected aesthetics (which was originally designed to poke fun and agitate) and (much) nonsense language. Except when used in touches of irony, don’t expect to hear belle canto singing here!

There is more to this music than virtuoso exploitation of avant-garde vocalism. The lack of intelligible lyrics (much of the time) doesn’t impede the singers’ ability to sound in turn lyrical, childlike, declamatory, menacingly silly, hysterically scary or amazingly like Inuit throat singers. Just when one imagines they have run the gamut of emotional set-pieces, they pull out a comically operatic bit, including wicked Pagliacci laughter.

Stay with it. This CD rewards repeated listening and reveals initially hidden structural elements and an adventurous and playful soul.