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Blonk, Jaap : Polyphtong (Kontrans)

An amazing album of vocal utterance and layered sound from Dutch improviser and experimenter Jaap Blonk, using spatial placement and movement extended by electronic means to focus on phonetic concepts, particularly the diphtong and approximant.

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product information:

UPC: 8713896903454

Label: Kontrans
Catalog ID: Kontrans 460
Squidco Product Code: 21871

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2013
Country: Netherlands
Packaging: Cardboard sleeve
No recording data given.


Jaap Blonk-voice, performer, composer

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Artist Biographies:

"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 work 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. On several occasions he collaborated with visual computer artist Golan Levin, for the Ars Electronica Festival.

Blonk's work for radio and television includes several commissioned radio plays.He also makes larger-scale drawings of his scores, as well as visual poetry, which is being exhibited.

He has his own record label, Kontrans, featuring a total of 25 releases so far. Other Blonk recordings appeared on various labels, such as Staalplaat, Basta, VICTO, Ecstatic Peace, Monotype Records, Terp and Elegua Records.His book/CD 'Traces of Speech' was published in 2012 by Hybriden-Verlag, Berlin. Forthcoming is a sequel with the title "Traces of Cookery".A comprehensive collection of his sound poetry came out as a book with 2 CDs in 2013, entitled "KLINKT"."

-Jaap Blonk Website (

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track listing:

1. Polyphtong, Pt. 1 8:15

2. Polyphtong, Pt. 2 6:39

3. Polyphtong, Pt. 3 4:06

4. Polyphtong, Pt. 4 5:53

5. Polyphtong, Pt. 5 5:02

6. Polyphtong, Pt. 6 5:05

7. Polyphtong, Pt. 7 7:45

8. Polyphtong, Pt. 8 4:02
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"In 'Polyphtong' spatial placement and movement are extended by electronic means. The phonetic concepts of diphtong and approximant are an important focus in the more meditative sectons of the work. It also uses the techniques of my cheek synthesizer: many kinds of stereo mouth sounds driven by sheer air, ranging from very low to extremely high pressures. The duration of the piece can vary between 30 and 50 minutes. Technical needs: 2 microphones on stands, 4-channel sound system."-Jaap Blonk

"Elegua Records is an original independent label specialized in experimental-noise music, post-folk drone, monographic field studies and mostly unbeat contemporary electronic minimalism. The label presents a handful of original projects in beautifully designed and unique limited editions. Jaap Blonk is a multifaceted sound poet, new theater performer and sound sculptor whose very personal art has its roots in dada-esque experiments and un-normative experiments in cross-media. This album represents the most avant-gardist and meditatively absorbing musical side of his art, combining the possibilities of acoustically generated tones and poetical sound aesthetism.

Polyphtong is a beautiful drone-based / spoken words experimental project whose musical attempt is to play on smoothly resonances, slight harmonic variations, repetition of short sound motives and unusual vocal sounding manipulations. This album guarantees an alchemical-challenging sense of musical writing within a slight abstract-cognitivist laboratory approach. The sound ambiences are successively tactile, warm, meditative, ambiguous and abstract. The sound poetical attitude or the poetical experience of the music emerges from the experimental studies around the phonological properties of various ÔdiphthongsÕ which are continuously treated and articulated to slowly fluctuating micro sound textures.

Better to be advertised, this is a fully experimental, sometimes erratic and subversive conceptual album, clearly not for all ears. A very special, intriguing and cerebral musical experience that will ravish fans of transversal experiments in sound poetry (Henri Chopin, Gherasim Luca, Robert Ashley, Josef Beuys and the Fluxus movement É ) as well as electro-acoustic impressionist paintings / installations by Christian Calon, Michel Chion et al."-Philippe Blache, Igloo Magazine

Get additional information at Igloo Magazine
Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Electro-Acoustic Improv
Unusual Vocal Forms
Solo Artist Recordings
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
Blonk, Jaap
New in Experimental & Electronic Music

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Other Releases With These Artists:
Recommended & Related Releases:
Ball, Hugo (Jaap Blonk / Bart van der Putten / Pieter Meurs / Damon Smith)
Six sound Poems 1989 & 2013 [2 CDs]
(Balance Point Acoustics / kontrans)
Schindler, Udo / Jaap Blonk
Lakefront Discussions
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Todos de Pie!
Monopiece / Jaap Blonk (Corde / Robidoux / Russell)

Schindler, Udo / Jaap Blonk
Hillside Talks
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(Holidays Records)
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Blonk's, Jaap Retirement Overdue (w/ Petruccelli / Stadhouders / Rosaly)
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Blonk, Jaap / Damon Smith
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