Resonant Bodies

S2021 E9 | FULL EPISODE

Erin Gee

Featuring her legendary “Mouthpieces,” composer and vocalist Erin Gee presents two solo works for voice with her brother and frequent collaborator Colin Gee, a movement and visual artist, and a work with the Argento Ensemble.

AIRED: August 04, 2021 | 0:35:20
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TRANSCRIPT

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Distorted vocalization ]

[ Voice auto-tuned ] ♪ It's very hard

Woman: The voice is such a unique instrument.

It is located in this place in your body,

where you have your heart below it,

you have your brain above it.

[ Piano playing, man vocalizing ]

Only the sound of the voice, I think,

can really go to those deep emotional places.

And when we hear that, there can be a greater compassion

and understanding and community around the world.

[ Vocalizing ]

♪♪

[ Vocalizing ]

My set is --

It starts with an ensemble piece, "Mouthpiece 29,"

and this comes from my long sort of cycle of "Mouthpieces."

This is for voice and violin, viola, double bass.

Then I go to solo pieces for voice.

I use two handheld microphones.

And then we go to my brother, Colin Gee,

which is performance. He's speaking,

and he's in full makeup, and he does body work.

He's trained in the physical theater.

So we have the voice and the body

in the middle part of the set.

Then we go to the last piece,

which is "Mouthpiece: Segment of the 3rd Letter,"

which is another ensemble piece.

I work with the small particles of speech.

You could say small gestures,

small vocal gestures, very, very small,

like, you know, pops or [Pops lips] or clicks

or a whistle [Whistles] or something.

So I work with a very abstracted approach to the voice.

I had heard Ligeti and Berio and Meredith Monk

and different people use the voice in different ways

and also move away from language.

And the thing about my experience with Ligeti and Berio

was that I think I asked myself the question,

if we move away from voice, can it --

you know, is there another path to take?

And the path that I was thinking about,

is something that is --

So, their pieces are very theatrical.

And I was thinking, is there a way

to sort of remove the ego from the voice,

so actually just really instrumentalize the voice?

I was interested in the possibility

of presenting a human on-stage, a person on-stage,

but also kind of presenting them as a non-person,

so without language

and just making different kinds of sounds.

To someone who had never heard my work,

I would describe it as

sort of abstracted voice with a lot of pops and clicks

and different kinds of sung tones,

but also that I sort of leave it open

in terms of the emotional realm

for others to interpret as they wish.

So, maybe it triggers kind of a memory,

or maybe they hear nature sounds,

or maybe they hear other kinds of sounds.

And I like to get feedback from audience members

who say, "Oh, you know, I thought about this,

or I, you know, imagined walking here,"

or even actually completely different kinds of experiences.

I did from the beginning try to avoid sounds

that have really obvious emotional markers

just as a path for myself.

So, and it's a very dicey kind of path to walk.

But obviously, you're avoiding, let's say,

like a sigh or a sob or a laugh or a shriek.

So these are really strong emotional markers.

But we're so attuned to listening to vocal quality

and gleaning meaning from it that it is actually difficult

to really have no emotional kind of markers.

And I'm not saying necessarily there is no emotion,

but I am trying not to prescribe the emotion

that someone else might pick up from it.

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Cheers and applause ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ High-pitched notes playing ]

♪♪

[ Stammering indistinctly ]

♪♪

[ Hisses ]

[ Babbles indistinctly ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ High-pitched indistinct vocalizing ]

♪♪

[ Vocalizing indistinctly, stammering ]

♪♪

♪♪

[ Low crackling ]

[ Vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

♪♪

[ Clicks, blows ]

[ Vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

[ Clicking, vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

♪♪

[ Whistles ]

[ Humming, popping lips ]

♪♪

[ Vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

[ Whistles, pops lips, vocalizes indistinctly ]

♪♪

♪♪

[ Clicking ]

[ Vocalizing indistinctly, clicking ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

[ All whistle ]

[ Popping lips, clicking, vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

[ Whistles ]

♪♪

♪♪

[ Clicking ]

[ Vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

♪♪

[ Blowing, clicking ]

[ Vocalizing indistinctly ]

[ Popping, clicking ]

[ Whistles ]

[ Vocalizing indistinctly ]

[ Whistling ]

♪♪

[ Vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

[ Whispering indistinctly ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Popping, vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

♪♪

[ Whistling ]

[ Clicking tongue rhythmically ]

[ Vocalizing indistinctly, popping lips ]

♪♪

[ Whispering indistinctly ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

[ Clicking, vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

[ All whistle ]

[ Clicking, vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

[ Whistles ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

[ Blowing, clicking, popping ]

[ Vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

[ Clicking, popping ]

♪♪

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Whistling ]

[ Vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

[ Whispering indistinctly ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Popping, vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

♪♪

[ Blows, whistles ]

♪♪

[ Quiet clicking ]

[ Vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

[ Whispering indistinctly ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Cheers and applause ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Purrs, clicks, whistles ]

[ Vocalizing indistinctly, popping, hissing, whistling ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

[ Whistling, clicking ]

[ Popping, blowing, vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

[ Purring, whistling, vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

♪♪

[ Clicking, hissing, blowing ]

♪♪

[ Vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

♪♪

[ Whistles ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Applause ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

♪♪

[ Popping, vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

[ Pops lips ]

[ Vocalizing indistinctly, popping, blowing ]

♪♪

♪♪

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Applause ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Buzzing, clicking, vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

[ Whistling, clicking, vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

[ Humming, buzzing, clicking, vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Cheers and applause ]

[ Vocalizing ]

♪♪

And then there he was,

back in town.

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

Took him long enough.

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

The house is beyond the hill.

Is it?

Still?

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

He lived here once, too.

Who?

Me, you.

John.

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

Tired town I

swore to return to.

♪♪

Took him long enough.

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

Tired town.

♪♪

We tried many times in these

untidy years.

♪♪

Who is that? Is it --

It looks like John.

Is it?

♪♪

♪♪

It looks like John.

♪♪

♪♪

Is it

where I left it?

♪♪

♪♪

No, they're great without me,

greater without.

I'll wait. Will I go?

No, I won't. Would I? I could.

♪♪

♪♪

Hello, everyone.

♪♪

♪♪

Welcome back, John.

♪♪

♪♪

Come home, has he?

For what?

What's come back? Did he do job?

Did you?

Hunted, conned.

Haunting now for a new home.

What hindered him? Dance me.

♪♪

You're still here.

Others left.

I couldn't stay. You were set and leaving, too.

♪♪

♪♪

You asking me to leave now?

♪♪

♪♪

Stay as long as you want, John.

♪♪

[ Applause ]

[ Cheers and applause ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

[ Clicking ]

[ Vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

♪♪

[ Hissing ]

♪♪

[ Vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

[ Whistles ]

[ Vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

♪♪

[ Popping, whistling ]

♪♪

[ Hisses ]

[ Vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

[ Whistling, vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

[ Blowing ]

♪♪

[ Vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

♪♪

[ Clicking, vocalizing ]

[ Popping, clicking ]

[ Whistling ]

[ Blowing ]

[ Vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

[ Clicking ]

[ Vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

[ Vocalizing, clicking ]

♪♪

[ Hissing ]

♪♪

[ Purring ]

[ Vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

[ Blowing, hissing ]

♪♪

[ Whistling ]

[ Whistling, vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

[ Clicking, hissing ]

♪♪

♪♪

[ Whistling ]

[ Vocalizing indistinctly ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

[ Hissing, clicking ]

[ Whistles ]

[ Inhales sharply ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Cheers and applause ]

[ Vocalizing ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

[ Vocalizing ]

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