zvuKlang. CD Review. UK. Jazz Views. March 2014


Author: Ken Cheetham


Leo Records CD LR 690

VocColours – voices; Alexey Lapin – piano
Recorded in St Petersburg, Russia, June 2013

VocColours is a German vocal quartet and pianist Alexey Lapin is Russian; his piano sounds prepared.
The reverberation of these voices and piano together often suggests electronic music, which it is not, but this leads me to propose that such music has had its influences here. The voices are so manipulated that they seem electronic and so echo the effects of musique concrète, the piano
falling into line, like a ricochet from John Cage. The voices and rhythms also reveal other influences, the scat jazz vocal, voiced native-American forms, intonations from near-Orient sources.

The vocal lines here, spoken, growled or sung seem to take on themselves a unifying essence, as though to explain what the musical parts are all about, as if it might otherwise be bewildering. This, along with all those varied influences mentioned, presents a musical collage such as those of Varèse and Berio.

The collage is populated by these voices and the amalgamation of all these elements becomes a piece of thoroughly expressionist theatre in five
acts; the voices provide dance, drama and speech; the piano controls the lighting.

This is a very interesting and exciting album whose sleeve notes tell you very little at all, except to advise you to play it loud. So you should or you will miss the very quiet introduction to the opening track.