Voiceless is a live music performance employing a range of real-time digital processing of vocal fragments inspired by great vocal performances in the cinema: Bad Girls Go To Hell, Carnival Of Souls, The Exorcist, I Spit On Your Grave, Georgia, Blue Steel, Vagabonde, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Devised by Philip Brophy, this suite of pieces is based on his article I Scream In Silence: Cinema, Sex & The Sound Of Women Dying (published in Cinesonic – The World Of Sound In Film, 1999).
All vocals in the pieces are performed by Philip. Highly processed and rendered in transmogrified states, these para-sexual breaths and utterances merge with shifting sheets of noise and pulsating sonic waves. This is his sonic attack on what he has termed the ‘drag effect’ in sampling women’s voices.
Vocals, processing, sampling, production & mix - Philip Brophy
MONUMENTS, Footscray Community Arts Centre, Melbourne
CD released on Sound Punch Records
VARIABLE RESISTANCE 4, Westspace, Melbourne
Voiceless explores ways of superceding the 'drag effect' of digitally sampling female oohs-and-aahs in order to compose 'female-cyborg music' of a wholly degendered sort. The problematic 'drag effect' is the longstanding tradition of rendering the feminine monstrous through the act of degraded mimicry. When handled in a non-gay domain, the same effect is generated in the name of 'beauty'.The opera of the psychotic, the muzak of the murdered, the symphony of the sexual – all are met head-on in the musical maelstrom of Voiceless. The concept behind Voiceless is to mimic a 'vocalese' or type of oohing-and-aahing typically used to express feminist (either as repulsively female for gays or possessively beautiful for non-gays).
Voiceless music is based around transfigurations of single snippets of late 60s / early 70s erotic muzak: bachelor-pad groovy/sexy/baby instrumental light orchestral tracks on semi-nameless records produced excessively during the so-called sexual revolution of the time. The original tone of the tracks is decimated into a 'beautiful noise' of hyper-looping soft-shards of warm studio lushness and instrumentation, generating an effect that could be described as 'porno-minimalism'.
The incessant repetitive and cyclical nature of the tracks as they develop from the processing applied to the source material evokes the addictive 'dry-humping-mania' integral too the pornographic impulse. The lushness of the pieces relates to and symbolizes the fecund ersatz detailing that signals 'the beautiful' to so many people.
All the music processing is done via live algorithmic modulation on an ASR and edited/produced/mixed into 4-channel quadraphonic sound. The live vocal overlay is composed to match the sonorities and tonality of each piece, and manipulated through standard effects employed and manipulated live on a Kaoss pad.