Recorded by Ross Murray at Sound of One Hand, . Ottawa ON, Aug 2004. Mixing and Editing by Jean Martin. Mastering by David Travers-Smith. Produced by Jean Martin. Photos by Jean Martin
REVIEW By Nilan Perera / August 02, 2006
I was just thinking about the human voice. Mostly everyone has one, uses one and it’s pretty much the basis for eminent music publications. Well kiddies, Idiolalla is two women with voices and one drummer with style. This is where the human voice approaches the realm of true punk rock attitude; not only are they not going to tell you what they’re talking about and leave you to make up your own mind but they’re going to make you laugh, roll your eyes and scare you into the bargain.
The departure this CD takes from the avant-art-whatever genre of sound-singing is the inclusion of the awe-inspiring drumming of Jean Martin and Duncan and Boyko tag-teaming everything from basso growling to Japanese pop squeaks to faux light opera and Monty Python shanties. Mad skills and no fear to boot.
«… onomatopoeias, characterization, and all-out wackiness with a sense of humor.»
This studio meeting features the husband-and-wife duo Barnyard Drama (which has expanded to a quartet since these August 2004 sessions) and Vancouver experimental vocalist DB Boyko. All three also performed in Danielle Palardy Roger’s oratorio Bruiducœur, prières des infidèles, hence the Ambiances Magnétiques connection. So we have two marvelously crazy female vocalists (Boyko and Christine Duncan) backed by Jean Martin, who sticks solely to acoustic drums — in Barnyard Drama, he also plays turntables and electronics.
Boyko and Duncan are highly compatible. Both are fond of onomatopoeias, characterization, and all-out wackiness with a sense of humor. In their own words, Idiolalla is an invented language disease. And you do get the feeling that something is wrong with them, although in this case two wrongs do make a right: the singers feed off each other’s vocal inventions, staging improbable plays in an alien dialect, with Martin punctuating moods and provoking new situations. The trio goes from pseudo-Inuit singing in bap to mock-Italian opera (funala funala coccino), to epic madness in the nine-minute soul sausages, which could almost be heard as a soap opera episode.
The nakedness of the project occasionally feels like a constraint, the sound palette of the album remaining rather narrow, but fans of creative singing should definitely investigate. Just get also Barnyard Drama’s I’m a Navvy or Roger’s Bruiducoeur… for a fuller picture of these artists’ work.
REVIEW by François Nadon in Ici Montréal (Québec), May 18, 2006
Composé de deux improvisatrices vocales et d’un percussionniste, ce trio nous offre un album plutôt mélodique tout en étant totalement improvisé. On sent qu’Idiolalla est le résultat d’une convergence de trois musiciens et non d’une confrontation; les uns s’insèrent dans le jeux des autres pour aboutir à des impros cohérentes. Dans son jeu, Jean Martin est présent sans pur autant s’imposer avec ses percussions. Il insuffle une dynamique rythmique qui encadre le jeu des deux chanteuses. Un disque recommandé à ceux qui veulent s’initier à de l’improvisation vocale accessible sans pour autant lésiner sur la qualité. Christine Duncan et Jean Martin seront avec leur groupe Barnyard Drama au FIMAV ce soir le 18 mai .
REVIEW by Andrew Timar, Wholenote Magazine - Oct 2006
While I couldn’t find the intriguing sounding title word Idiolalla anywhere, I did however uncover the neologism “idiolalia”, which arose recently from “idio”: personal, distinct, private, peculiar, and “lalia”: speech; therefore “idiolalia”, meaning a private or unique form of speech.
On this CD, the two singers, DB Boyko and Christine Duncan, no strangers to the exploration and extension of vocal limitations, certainly make good use of idiolalia. Jean Martin, the polished jazz percussionist impresses us with his free improv chops and fine musicianship.
On first listening, the sheer range of vocal utterance astonishes, what with lightening quick switching between vocables and effective presentation of many extended vocal techniques. On the other hand, it did take me a while to relax with this mix of Dadaist-inflected aesthetics (which was originally designed to poke fun and agitate) and (much) nonsense language. Except when used in touches of irony, don’t expect to hear belle canto singing here!
There is more to this music than virtuoso exploitation of avant-garde vocalism. The lack of intelligible lyrics (much of the time) doesn’t impede the singers’ ability to sound in turn lyrical, childlike, declamatory, menacingly silly, hysterically scary or amazingly like Inuit throat singers. Just when one imagines they have run the gamut of emotional set-pieces, they pull out a comically operatic bit, including wicked Pagliacci laughter.
Stay with it. This CD rewards repeated listening and reveals initially hidden structural elements and an adventurous and playful soul.
REVIEW Recensione by Dionisio Capuano in Blow Up #101 (Italy), October 1, 2006
Idiolalla è una malattia vocale, un’infezione della lingua inventata. Due vocalists, DB Boyko e Christine Duncan, e un percussionista, Jean Martin, esplorano le possibilità della comunicazione al di là dell’intelleggibilità semantica e quelle del canto, al di là del tradizionale concetto di cantabilità. I sintomi di idiolalla sono contagiosi e piaceranno molto; di sicuro diverranno luogo di divertimento e d’esercizio del bambino che è in noi, ancora non plagiato dai tabù comportamentali borghesi. Gli impasti vocali hanno una precisa caratterizzazione sottolineata dai ritmi. È giungla, circo e songbook surrealista. Il vocalese d’impianto jazz è terreno di divertissement tribali (Catherine et Cathy, Ringdingding) e l’evocazione d’un Africa distorta (Addowah Picapah) o d’un Tibet adulterato (Mine, Me), attesta il livello simbolico di pandemia che regna dell’album. D’altra parte, l’espressività ha propria sintassi e regole rispettate, come pure è percepibile il “senso dialogico” degli intrecci dei gargarismi o delle ecolalie e il ruolo drammatizzante della batteria (Soul Sausages). Lo spettacolo è dunque di grande godibilità. I piccoli vi tradurranno tutto e spiegheranno perché la mia valutazione sintetica è fin troppo prudente. (7/10)