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PAUL DEMARINIS
Songs Without Throats 2LP
Black Truffle 41 / AUS / 2019
Paul DeMarinis is a key figure in the history of electronic music since the 1970s. Collaborator with the likes of Robert Ashley, David Behrman, and David Tudor, DeMarinis is a pioneer in the development of gallery sound installation and digital music technologies. Opening with a mesmerizing piece from 1978 pairing the voice and tamboura playing of Anne Klingensmith with strings of letters spat out by a Speak n’ Spell to the accompaniment of the randomised melodic patterns of DeMarinis’s homebuilt electronic instrument ‘The Pygmy Gamelan’, the record then dispenses with the live human voice in favour of its recorded and synthetic doubles. We follow DeMarinis’s restless probing of the possibilities of new technologies, from the hacked Speak n’ Spell (which gives us the austere ‘Et Tu, Klaatu’ 1979, another duet with Klingensmith, this time on bowed psaltery, in which the toy’s synthetic voice is stretched into an alien song) through to the use of digital audio samples manipulated with home computer technology in the early 1990s.