May 2nd, 2020


Jeff Morris - Definition of A

Here's a preview of a track from Hearing Voices, the upcoming album from Jess Morris. He uses electroacoustic techniques to pick apart the human voice, pulling it unexpected directions, shaping it into new forms. Even if Morris was only doing this with instrumental sources, this would not be an easy listen. But to do it to the human voice adds a perpendicular level to his music, as if he were not just revealing a new music but also a new language.

On some tracks he works with the intimacy of a surgeon, flaying unwanted wind and leaving only the shape left in the air as it passes through, but I prefer the methods on Definition of A, a collaboration with Susanna Hood. Both performers work in real time, her part starting as an improvised syllabary like some Hugo Ball sound poem. Only at its end does it become speech. Morris works with live sampling her performance, layering her carefree sounds into a protovocabulary that finally becomes the source for language. It's like some mighty act of calculus building the number line from set theory alone. A remarkably powerful work of the contemporary avant-garde. Hearing Voices will be released on the 8th of May.