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Post-Spoken Word?

By Nathaniel G. Moore

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The Archanoids is an album of solo and collaborative sound poetries culled from various gallery-based performances between 2005 and 2010. These pieces weren't recorded at literary readings, but rather art galleries, sound festivals and other places where words and sounds are stretched into conjoined, disparate meanings. Maybe this collection of pieces is best described by what it isn't. It isn't poetry, it isn't spoken word, and it isn't experimental music. It's all of the above.

The collection, featuring contributions from places as geographically dispersed as Los Angeles, London (England) and Ottawa, was edited by Los Angeles-based curator, poet and art critic Matthew Timmons and published through Insert Press in collaboration with two unconventional institutions: the telephone-based gallery 323 Projects and the online music label for "avant-weird living room minstrels," Pleonasm Music. Each piece combines elements of found literature, original poetry, re-sampled text and other collaborative mischief (including a regurgitation of a text on digital archiving by Hal Foster) to create an eclectic sound buffet with contributions from authors and artists such as Gary Barwin, Gregory Betts, Kate Durbin and a collaboration between Gertrude Stein and Christian Bok. The key to this CD is the way the language is performed and presented. The meaning of the words is not necessarily a factor (as much of it melds together to sound like the Swedish Chef from The Muppet Show); it's the emotions behind the sound that creates the drama. It's somewhat reminiscent of the work of Ben Burt, legendary sound engineer for George Lucas, who had to create new languages for the Star Wars universe.

The Archanoids officially launched in LA last year as the inaugural exhibition of 323 Projects phone-line gallery. For a month or so you could dial 323-TIE-IN-LA to hear recordings by featured artists. Now the gallery is featuring a new sound-based project. Call the number and check it out. The album is available exclusively through Insert Press for $10 (U.S.) and comes with a 32-page booklet which includes liner notes for all the oddities within each track.

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