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Sound poet Jaap Blonk extended the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) into BLIPAX (Blonk's IPA Extended), developing scores as drawing which are converted into electronic sound through audio software and then back to text through OCR to create these unusual spoken audio pieces.

Blonk, Jaap
Traces of Speech

Blonk, Jaap: Traces of Speech (Kontrans)

Label: Kontrans    
Released in: Netherlands    

"Around 1985 I started to write sound poetry. At first I used the common Latin alphabet, with different pronunciations for the individual poems (Dutch, German, French, English). But after a few years I found this too much of a limitation and learned the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), making it possible to use different pronunciations of the same letter in one text. So I could create poems with more variety of sound color.

However, only too soon I found out that the IPA did not have symbols for many of the voice sounds I used to make, and started to extend it with signs of my own invention. This developed into the - ever unfinished - system I am using now for functional sound poetry scores: BLIPAX (Blonk's IPA Extended).

It turned out that many of the symbols of BLIPAX were not contented with an existence as dead letters, but took on a life of their own. They kept changing their form, as it were, under my hands as I was trying to notate a score. It resulted in drawings that live somewhere halfway between sound poetry and visual poetry: Traces of Speech.

The basic idea for this book/CD package was: firstly, converting the drawings into electronic sound by importing them (mostly as raw data) into audio software, and secondly, converting them into texts (in English and German) through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. Each of the three forms (drawings, sound and texts) were then subjected to further treatment.

In the case of the texts I got, the greatest challenge in reciting them was the interpretation of the multitude of punctuation signs. I tried to create some variation by doing it in radically different ways. The book has seven 'chapters'. Each has its own theme, and each begins with a handmade drawing, followed by some digital treatments of it, and ending with two versions of the OCR texts created from it. On the CD I combined electronic sounds and text recitations of the different themes into seven sound environments. Here I refrained from pursuing any personal expression."-Jaap Blonk, Kontrans

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Price: $12.71
In Stock


Shipping Weight: 1.00 units

Quantity in Basket: None

Product Information:

UPC: 8713896903522

Label: Kontrans
Catalog ID: Kontrans 760
Squidco Product Code: 21869

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2014
Country: Netherlands
Packaging: Cardboard sleeve
Recorded in Arnhem, Netherlands, July 2012.


Jaap Blonk-voice, composer, performer

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Track Listing:

1. Gossip of Truth 6:08

2. True Secret 8:32

3. Secret Impediment 7:33

4. Impeded Pretext 8:56

5. Proof of Gossip 6:54

6. Pleading Pretext 11:02

7. Plea for Proof 9:41