Friday, August 7

Incidental catharthsis

I saw this at the New Museum yesterday and was immediately intrigued. LeRoy Stevens visited 70 records stores in New York City to poll the employee's votes for best scream in a rock song. He took the results, edited them to only include the screams and put these together on "LeRoy Stevens: Favourite Record Screams" LP (the A side has the screams edited to be continuous; B side gives the listener a 10-second break between tracks.)

There is something very cathartic about screaming, either doing it or listening to it I guess all fundamental sounds in language, when broken down to sounds and not strung together to form words or sentences, are the purrs, grunts, hums and breaths of the human body. Throwing volume, pitch or any other sound that makes them seem emotive causes a very different, very intuitive response by the listener. Screaming is an ambiguous sound, its meaning derived from the context of the sonic event. The screams on this album range from rock to operatic sources. We know as listeners we are listening to a scream, but even with the context of the song removed we have a reading based on the delivery, style and history of what we recognize in the sound.

I kind of wish Stevens had removed the music and isolated the vocal tracks so that all we were left with was the sound of each yelp, but you can use the link above to listen to his work and make your own decision.

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