Exquisite Corpses


Arcola Theatre | 24 Ashwin St, London E8 3DL | 020 7503 1646 | 1 August, 2013, 7:30pm

Exquisite Corpses throws into juxtaposition British and American experimental compositions that use graphic and open forms of notation. The Vocal Constructivists rely exclusively on the human body for their instrumentation. Coming from diverse musical backgrounds, the group draws on a variety of artistic influences—classical, global, avant-garde, eclectic, and performance art. The music is also communicated in visual displays, enabling the audience to witness the interpretative strategies firsthand.

The programme features six living composers—Mark Applebaum, Anthony Braxton, George Chambers, Pauline Oliveros, Michael Parsons, and Lauren Redhead. Pieces include complex and intricate graphic symbols, colour paintings, articulations of language types, phonetic sounds, percussive envelopes, and filter techniques. Music is expressed in gesture, as well as sound. These scores leave certain parameters open but are not invitations to improvise. Instead, performers are charged with the task of predetermining a thoughtful means to sonify (with exactitude) an inferred musicality.

The Vocal Constructivists seek to liberate experimental music from the strait-jacket of an expected sound world. Their playful interpretations make graphic notation accessible to established and new audiences alike. Their repertoire celebrates pieces composed using eccentric symbols, glyphs, and visual design. All musical decisions are made by members of the group, worked out in collaboration. Composers work closely with the group. The combination of sung performance, body percussion, and dance movement yields unique intepretations of musical works.

Arcola Theatre | 24 Ashwin St, London E8 3DL | 020 7503 1646 | 1 August, 2013, 7:30pm