The Beacon Sound Choir ~ Sunday Morning Drones

IGR09 coverInfinite Greyscale’s 10″ series returns with a pair of vocal drones ~ yes, you read that right, vocal.  Sunday Morning Drones is like the choral version of a Rhys Chatham experiment, with Peter Broderick at the helm.  To create these sounds, Broderick gathered 30 vocalists (including Heather Woods Broderick) and invited them to sing their hearts out without using words.  But don’t fret ~ it’s like no choir rehearsal you’ve ever heard.

Each song begins with a single note, after which the other singers chime in, then branch off.  This simple exercise yields transportive results.  The singers’ ears are attuned to each other’s vocalizations, so despite the lack of sheet music, there’s no dissonance.  Each performer gently enhances the whole, and when each harmonic convergence develops, others gravitate to its notes.

IGR09 b-sideWhen listening, one thinks not only of drone, but of the peak moments found in tape loop composition, when divergent strands come together before breaking up once more; or the gentle shifts in the ambient music of artists such as Yann Novak, in which incremental changes may not be noticed until time has passed.

The warmest moment arrives when only a minute remains on the opening track.  An infant babbles, content; one thinks of the power of music to soothe, as well as the instinctive desire to sing along, no matter what one’s voice may sound like.  The choir melts around the child, then retreats to allow the individual voice to shine forth.  It’s a reminder of the power of community: not only of voice, but of acceptance.

As usual for Infinite Greyscale, there’s a silkscreened print on the b-side and a hand-printed cover, a further extension of the themes.  This is an exquisite release for the ears, the eyes and skin.  (Richard Allen)

Available here

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