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    mouth sounds

    I was surprised to see Maja Ratkje's show at the Empty Bottle so sparsely attended last night. Her radical vocal work is pretty demanding, but there are so many subcultural routes through which one could come to an admiration of her. Sound poetry fans and improv-loving beard-scratchers alike should love the way she uses language and vocalized sound as a strange dynamic instrument, while there's enough weird electronic manipulation to appease the Powerbook set as well. Even the noise-niks should be in awe: her set last night at the Empty Bottle was easily as noisy (at times) as the Merzbow set from back in September, while also being far more inventive and variegated.

    Here's an MP3 from Voice, her 2002 collaboration with Norway's Jazzkammer: "Trio." Try to imagine these sounds (some of which border on the Lovecraftian) emerging from a tiny woman who looks a bit like like a china doll and you'll maybe have a better understanding of why I think the full force of her work is best experienced live.

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    Monday, January 30, 2006
    5:04 PM


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