Iolini, Robert - Songs From Hurt

Robert Iolini is a composer who transcends the divisions between music, documentary and radio art, mixing investigative journalism, sound ecology, storyboarding and conventional notated composition using songs, spoken word, field recording, improvisation and electroacoustic manipulation to make complex audio works that might equally be music, documentary or fiction. He works, initially, like a radio journalist: researching, collecting materials, conducting interviews. The bulk of Songs from Hurt have been constructed in this way, around the extraordinary testimonies of aboriginal teenagers, prisoners, shadow communities and witnesses to a world in which the interviewees are continually told that they are surplus to requirements. Then this raw data is organised, transformed and integrated into complex musical compositions, becoming itself musical in the process - its pitches no longer simply prosaic, its rhythms driving the structure of its setting while remaining intact - not looped or pressured into becoming servants to the overall organisation of an aesthetic fiction. It is rare for conventional and electronic compositions to remain so respectful of voices and what they have to say, and this plain matter of fact-ness makes most rap sound like bluster, and most opera sound like history - to me, I hasten to add. The opening track stands outside the political intensity of the rest of the CD and its method is slightly different; its more a meditation on its topic and it was one part of a multimedia presentation but it still works to bring the documentary and the musical worlds together, in its form as well as its topic. [ReR]
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