Tuesday, 24 June, 2008

TImbre (1995)

"Timbre" is the self-given name of a vocal group led by American expatriate Lauren Newton. They have been together since 1988 and have performed literally all over the globe. Combining medieval polyphony, plainchant, improvisation, spontaneous composition, and asymmetrical approaches to both timbre and harmony, this group has literally re-written the book on vocal invention in new music. Newton is only the one of the four with any background in "jazz" singing per se as she embraces standards as a part of her canon. The rest come from either classical school of voice or from theater and improvisation (Muetter). There are 19 compositions here, all of which were recorded live, direct to digital audiotape without overdubbing or additional mixing except for the master. The element of meld here is the key to comprehending but not enjoying Timbre's most astonishing recording -- it's so musical, it can be enjoyed without any understanding of what is taking place mechanically. 

The overtone singing, which comes from the Tuvans is not replicated here so much as hinted at. The work is structured as one large piece with very brief intervals of silence in between these "miniatures." There are percussion instruments employed in a few places, but, overall, the voices are more than enough to create an atmosphere that is ethereal, yet solidly "there." 

There are few acrobatics, few flights of fancy among the individuals, as it is clearly the group effort; it's trust and empathy that allows for these works to happen so spontaneously and change on a dime. If you purchase only one "new music" vocal recording, let it be this one. Gorgeous, harrowing, and hauntingly beautiful".
Thom Jurek, All Music Guide

1. Three & L
2. Three & O
3. Three & E
4. Three & B
5. Miniatur I
6. Miniatur II
7. Miniatur III
8. Miniatur IV
9. Miniatur V
10. Magna Mater
11. Fifteen
12. Kuult
13. Schrrr
14. Air
15. Miniatur VI
16. Miniatur VII
17. Miniatur VIII
18. Miniatur IX
19. AAAA

Lauren Newton: voice
Oskar Moerth: voice
Elisabeth Tuchmann: voice
Bertl Muetter: voice, trombone, conch shell

Recorded directly to DAT, no overdubs, March 1993 in the Basilica Mariazell, Austria, and October 1994 in the St. Veit Church, Graz, Austria.
Released by Leo Records in 1995.



KRENG said...

Your blog is a guideline in good taste. I took the time to check your history and it was an amazing ride. Lots of recognition, memories & new thrills. Exactly the way I like it.... al those old records in a digital format & discoveries gallore... thank you so much

bravo juju said...

sometimes one wonders: why take the trouble of keeping a blog like this? kind words like yours are one of them.
please feel at home, and come again

Nuage fiché qui rêve said...

Thanks for the Timbre, BJ ! I'm fascinated everytime I hear Lauren Newton, and except the Hat cd called "Filigree" I don't have much opportunities to hear her recorded material.

Merci beaucoup

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

i love this, mucchas gracias

Victoria said...

Intricately unearthly. Thanks so much. I love this.