Sunday, January 06, 2008

Tribute to Henry Chopin

"I, personally, would perfer the chaos and disorder which each of us would strive to master, in terms of his own ingenuousness, to the order imposed by the Word which everybody uses indiscriminately, always for the benefit of a capitol, of a church, of a socialism, etc...." Why I Am The Author of Sound Poetry and Free Poetry Henri Chopin, 1967

Henry Chopin died on January 3rd 2008 at the age of 85. So ended a long life crowned by achievements, if not the greater recognition that he deserved. Chopin was the guide to any of us who has cut up and pasted magnetic tape, backmasked a track or placed a contact mike on a sheet of steel to see how it sounds, recorded respiration or amplified the rhythms of the body and the environment it occupies. Like some mystic turning consciousness inward, Chopin made the body a portal to a language that circumvented established notions of time and space. Creating a music that seemed to come from beneath the skin and the upper levels of the planet's atmosphere at the same time.


"Henri Chopin, explorer of the body's voices. For the last forty years, with his sound poetry revue OU (1964-1974), then through his participation in various international sound poetry festivals, through his personal experience in the experimental studios of radio stations in Köln, Paris, Australia, Canada or Sweden and in his concert/performances throughout Europe, Henri Chopin has consistently and unceasingly opened the ways to unexplored spaces beyond all known languages. Thanks to the systematic use of microphones, amplifiers, tape recorders, editing and mixing consoles, he has given a voice to realms beyond modern or experimental music, beyond any note system and headed for spaces without norms, categories, definitions or limits: spaces of permanent metamorphosis. But despite misleading appearances, Henri Chopin is not merely doing a new kind of music; he is not just a consequence of Pierre Schaeffer's concrete music principles and Pierre Henry's experiments in the fifties. Henri Chopin is an individual (in Stirner's sense: the ego and its own) who has always resisted absurd attempts to reduce him to part of a movement, a school, an academism; what one perceives are Henry Chopin's bio-psychical vibrations, that he himself constructed by electronically recording, then modifying, amplifying and transforming the energies of his own body. This language is beyond institutionalised language or indeed beyond any language, it precedes all idioms (sound signs, playful energy signs like those of whales and dolphins), it is a breath language, a soul language (the language of anima), the unfettered respiration of the cosmic energies we are, who belong neither to factions nor clans. The energy of live beings, whose individuality is irreducible, and impossible to break down. Solitary and strange cosmic creatures, mysterious yet showing solidarity, resonating with all those who dared breach shackles and rules, escape vile obedience, submission and compromise, reject complacency and blind allegiance to traditional or experimental academism."

Thanks to the technology he explored in his art it is never too late to appreciate Henry Chopin:

Chopin at UBUWEB

Mp3s sounds of Henry Chopin

Au Revoir Monsieur Chopin.

No comments: