Voice of Echo Tag

Musicworks #126 Interview

Click here to read my interview with Alex Varty.  “ERIN GEE SINGS THE BODY ELECTRONIC”

Fresh on the heels of my return from the premiere of Echo Grey in Vancouver (my newest composition for vocal quartet, feedback soloist and tape), I find I’ve received my physical copy of Musicworks, which is a triannually released publication featuring experimental sounds from across Canada.

Amidst a really massive transition phase right now, I find that teaching full time has really changed what I can do as an artist.  Pushing myself to learn entirely new skillsets in organization and pedagogical performance (sidenote: yes, everything is a performance) has left me with little time or energy to invest in building new technologies.

Music composition has been something that I can invest time into, as all I need is a few moments, a microphone, my laptop, a notepad with pencil scribbles, my imagination.

This interview with Musicworks magazine was very interesting for me, as recently my opportunities have been coming from music composition.  The whole issue is actually very interesting, with a full feature on music and sound revolution in VR spaces, as well as some features on other very energetic and productive electroacoustic artists.

Musicworks #126 is available now with a special curated cd of sounds included in the physical magazine.  On this CD you can find a track from my Voice of Echo (2011) series.

Echo Grey

Echo Grey is a composition for four voices, feedback musical instruments, and tape part (which features the sounds of a broken image file).  World premiere at Vancouver New Music with Andrea Young, Marina Hasselberg, Sharon Chohi Kim, Micaela Tobin, Michael Day, Braden Diotte, and Erin Gee in November 2016. It has also been performed at Open Space Gallery (Victoria), and Neworks (Calgary).

The mythological character Echo exists only as a shade, a reflection or bounce. Movement between words or utterance, the Echo’s mythological voice exceeds the signal itself and speaks to a deeper engagement with materiality.  In Echo Grey, I composed a series of vocal patterns that emerge directly with breath as raw material, the movement of intake and exhalation made audible through mechanistic patterns that are impossible to perform perfectly. The choir’s collective attempt at mechanistically engaging with an impossible repetition eventually negates the signal: all that is left is the lungs and vocal vibrations of the individual who gasps, cries in defeat, and whoops in ecstasy.  These human voices are simultaneously punctuated by the feedback of microphone and amplified instruments, and a tape track composed through process – a bouncing of data back and forth between visual and aural softwares that eventually results in nothing but glitched statements.  This tape track is analogous to the squealing proximity of the sender to the receiver in the scored feedback parts, which is analogous to the back and forth of the breath of the singers as they perform.  The colour grey in the work’s title is inspired by the back and forth motion of a 2HB pencil stroking endlessly across an empty pad of paper.

 

Fall Commission for Exo/Endo and Ilk

This fall 2016 the performing groups Exo/Endo and Ilk will premiere a new music composition by Erin Gee in three Canadian venues in Vancouver, Victoria and Calgary.  This new work is intended to be an extension of Gee’s work Voice of Echo (2011).  Stemming from a solo performance of this work in 2015 in Toronto at Trinity Square Video (What can a Vocaloid Do?), Gee will newly re-create materials based on vocaloid creatures, artificial intelligence, electronic voices in human bodies, authorship, subjectivity, embodiment, voice and agency telematically using a system developed by Michael Palumbo.  This work will employ five singers, and an experimental turntableist and extended bass player.

Exo/Endo is Andrea Young (voice and electronics), Michael Day (prepared turntables/percussion) Braden Diotte (multi-instrumentalist, agitated electric bass and electronics)

Ilk is Sara Sinclair Gomez, Sharon Kim, Micaela Tobin, and Andrea Young

Erin Gee - Voice of Echo

Voice of Echo

(2011)

Works for video, audio, and digital images

Propelling the mythology of Narcissus and Echo into a science-fiction future, I translate Echo’s golem-like body into a digital environment.

What is the Voice of Echo?  It exists as a repetition – of what?  Of human voice, of Narcissus?  A voice that extends anothers’ voice, the activities of an environment, is it independent, does it vocalize at all?  The voice of Echo exists beyond its content, the repetitions, but how then to capture a voice devoid of content, devoid of sounding symbol?  The voice of Echo exists as a bouncing of processes, a distortion, a glitch, born of a love and desire uttered but never really communicated.  As artistic process I began by becoming Echo as image, in a video intended as love song for …Narcissus?  A camera?  A perverted gesture towards Echo’s self?

(Description continues below video)

Voice of Echo: Song of Love for Technological Eyes (2011) silent HD video for monitor playback, 18:01 (looped)  Photography by Kotama Bouabane.

Echo is in love with recording technology, particularly the video camera. The mirrors emanating from her throat are her concrete manifestations of her voice – the lovesong intended for the camera’s eye.


I took stills from this love song and translated the raw visual data into an audio editing program, choosing particular interpretation methods to “compose” the echo.  I bounced this data between photoshop and audacity multiple times, eventually coming at glitched sounds of data interpretation, as well as an accompanying distorted image for each “song”.  Echo may only traditionally exist as a re-utterance of Narcissus’ voice, but in this case her cyberfeminist reimagining points at perverse loops somewhere between love, repetition and becoming.