Inner Lift: Duo mit Sissel Vera Pettersen und Randi Pontoppidan

Die beiden Stimm-Performerinnen mit Sissel Vera Pettersen (Trodheim Voices) und Randi Pontoppidan (Theatre of Voices) bringen ein gemeisames Album heraus – im Zentrum von “Inner Lift” steht der klang zweier Stimmen in einem Raum, meist im Zusammenspiel, gelegentlich solo und eingehüllt in wenige Instrumentalspuren und präparierende Effekte. Das Album erscheint Ende Mai als LP, CD und DL bei Chant Records.

“Recorded live in one day at The Village Studio, near Copenhagen in Denmark, everything on the album was improvised from scratch, with the minimum of prior preparation, and no overdubs. “All the effects and electronic processing are created in the moment”, says Sissel Vera Pettersen. “All the sounds come from the voices, zither or singing bowls, with no pre-made loops or effects. We had no laptops or software, only the hardware of effects boxes and guitar pedals. The only method is to have open ears and try not to filter any of the ideas that come spontaneously. But before some of the takes we might say, “Let’s do something with the sound of breath”, or try something melodic with the two voices weaving into each other, or decide to use the electronics or to go totally acoustic.” Perhaps because of this wide-openness of approach, and the ease with which the duo appear to handle the limitless freedom offered by their methods, Inner Lift is an album that really does impose its presence on the listener. The contents are almost infinitely allusive, evoking inner and outer landscapes through a siren song of ethereal voices, exhalations of breath, and dense expressive effects. While Pettersen and Pontoppidan each have highly developed personal styles that connect modernist extended vocal techniques to “mouth music” and throat-singing, they somehow continue to sound entirely natural and unforced throughout. Indeed, Inner Lift is positively tuneful, replete with inspired impromptu melodies and delicate choral and contrapuntal effects, as one voice provides the rhythmic pulse for the other to decorate.

The addition of plucked and percussive instrumental textures, and the electronic shimmer of the real-time processing, add further layers of interest and allusion. The processed sounds of the humble zither can suggest the innards of an old grandmother clock or the chimes of a church bell, while its rich associative plinkety-plonk might summon up the music of John Cage or even the exotic soundtrack (by Teiji Ito) to Maya Deren’s ‘Meshes of the Afternoon’. Similarly, the application of various gizmos can wrap voices in an ecclesiastical cloak of polyphonic plainsong, or assist in the imitation of a police siren’s caterwauling wail. It’s this combination of voices, instruments and electronics that really defines the sound of Inner Lift, and which most marks its considerable success in extending the singers’ expressive range and potential. On the climactic final track, voices, instruments and effects become close to indistinguishable from each other, in a science-fiction sounding ensemble-noise that recalls the pioneer electronic duo Suicide. By any criteria, that’s quite an achievement.” (Chant Records)

Porträt © Hanne Hvattum

@ Chant Records, Sissel Vera Pettersen und Randi Pontoppidan