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Dutch vocalist and electronic artist Jaap Blonk takes on insomnia in 13 short works celebrating sleeplessness, including one piece for Dada sound poet Raoul Hausmann, and other "songs" using effective electronics and bizarre vocal utterances to accompany your own sleepless nights.

Blonk, Jaap
Songs of Little Sleep

Blonk, Jaap : Songs of Little Sleep (Kontrans)

Label: Kontrans    
Released in: Netherlands    

"Innovative Dutch vocal artist Jaap Blonk has created his own highly personal sound poetry. His vocal acrobatics are still an essential element of his sound palette but not an exclusive one. Since 2000 Blonk has developed new means and methods to expand and experiment with his vocals, with live sampling of his vocals, addition of electronics, morphing and mutating his voice with his own software and with like-minded improvisers. His latest three releases [Songs of Little Sleep, Traces of Speech, North of Blanco] feature the breadth of his musical language.

[Songs of Little Sleep] album is the most accessible of the three. Described by Blonk as a "disturbingly, engaging collection of songs on the topic of insomnia." There is little chance that these dense and wordless songs comprised of troubled vocals spiced with electronic noises will ease any kind of insomnia. But these songs may affect the coming dreams with vivid alien soundscapes, thus exchanging one nocturnal distress with one that is perhaps more comforting.

Blonk's commanding vocals are highly expressive, convincing in its inventive phrasing and committed delivery of the experience of sleepless nights, including the occasional nightmares, but with an eccentric-dadaist, dark sense of humor. He is completely possessed in his own emotionally charged dramas, playing different roles of exhausted men, all delivered with imaginary languages. His moving tributes to the late Canadian sound poet Claude Gauvreau, "Yapping at the moon," and the Austrian Dada writer and sound poet Raoul Hausmann, "Reading Light," both seminal influences on Blonk's art, are fascinating.

Blonk, surprisingly enough, succeeded in creating a coherent album out of these disturbing songs. All offer enough lively vocal adventures to keep the listener alert and regrettably, awake despite the insomnia."-Eyal Hareuveni, All About Jazz

"Jaap Blonk (born 1953 in Woerden, Holland) is a self-taught composer, performer and poet. He went to university for mathematics and musicology but did not finish those studies. In the late 1970s he took up saxophone and started to compose music. A few years later he discovered his potential as a vocal performer, at first in reciting poetry and later on in improvisations and his own compositions. For almost two decades the voice was his main means for the discovery and development of new sounds. From around the year 2000 on Blonk started work with electronics, at first using samples of his own voice, then extending the field to include pure sound synthesis as well. He took a year off of performing in 2006. As a result, his renewed interest in mathematics made him start a research of the possibilities of algorithmic composition for the creation of music, visual animation and poetry. As a vocalist, Jaap Blonk is unique for his powerful stage presence and almost childlike freedom in improvisation, combined with a keen grasp of structure. He has performed around the world, on all continents. With the use of live electronics the scope and range of his concerts has acquired a considerable extension.

Besides working as a soloist, he collaborated with many musicians and ensembles in the field of contemporary and improvised music, like Maja Ratkje, Mats Gustafsson, Joan La Barbara, The Ex, the Netherlands Wind Ensemble and the Ebony Band. He premiered several compositions by the German composer Carola Bauckholt, including a piece for voice and orchestra. A solo voice piece was commissioned by the Donaueschinger Musiktage 2002. On several occasions he collaborated with visual computer artist Golan Levin. Blonk's work for radio and television includes several commissioned radio plays. He also makes larger-scale drawings of his scores, which are being exhibited."-Sleepy Cobal Sound

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Unusual Vocal Forms
Electro-Acoustic Improv
Solo Artist Recordings
Blonk, Jaap
European Improv, Free Jazz & Related
New in Improvised Music
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Get additional information at All About Jazz

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Price: $12.71
In Stock


Shipping Weight: 1.00 units

Quantity in Basket: None

Product Information:

UPC: 8713896903515

Label: Kontrans
Catalog ID: Kontrans 660
Squidco Product Code: 21870

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2014
Country: Netherlands
Packaging: Cardboard sleeve
Recorded in Arnhem, Netherlands, April 2013.


Jaap Blonk-voice, performer, composer

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Track Listing:

1. Slight Underdoze 3:28

2. Below the Abyss 3:41

3. Yapping At the Moon (For Claude Gauvreau) 6:26

4. Midnight Knock 2:28

5. Somnambulance 3:11

6. Apnea Therapy 3:13

7. Second Class Nightmares 4:08

8. Perpetual Solstice 2:15

9. Insomnia Calendar 7:14

10. Reading Light (For Raoul Hausmann) 4:04

11. One Dream Remembered 3:38

12. Thirteen Neighbours 4:44

13. Multiphobics 3:34