Barbara Zanichelli, soprano; Anna Maria Kieffer, mezzo-soprano; Nicholas Isherwood, bass
Although minutely pre-conceived in the entirety of its parameters, Leo Kupper’s music repudiates the belief in “hyper technology replacing sentience”. On the contrary, an unwavering interior acuity – of performer and listener alike – is imperative in the composer’s attempt to establish what he calls an “internationalization of spirituality”. Digital Voices gathers six compositions, just one being unvoiced. Kupper’s aptitude in conjoining deeply individual subjects with the logical solutions furnished by the studio warrants luminous results all the way through and – at least in a pair of episodes – a rare type of austere disconsolateness.
The program’s initial helping features two cycles of “abstract and articulate” songs performed by the female vocalists. “Aviformes” compounds Barbara Zanichelli’s ductile sharpness with actual and transmuted birdsongs, whereas “Kamana” introduces more tactile components in a mélange defined by Anna Maria Kieffer’s overlapping variations, occasionally recalling Meredith Monk’s flights of fancy. Instead, “Parcours Pour Santur” exploits and transforms the timbral attributes of the Iranian cimbalom in a technically advanced stereophonic reverie, functioning as an intermission of sorts.
If the women are, in this case, the mainstays of Kupper’s view on the nature’s (and, in general, the world’s) ascendancy on acoustic imagination, male vocalism is the kernel of his finest work herein. “Lumière Sans Ombre” presents a hybridization of melodic percussion and computer-processed samples of Slavic liturgical chants upon which Nicholas Isherwood’s inspiriting bass inflection depicts mesmerizing figurations in a made-up idiom (the latter trait typifying all the songs in this set; Kupper rightly believes that intelligible words can hamper the “expression of the inexpressible” as they “camouflage the real perception of sonorities”).
Besides that jewel, pinnacles of veritable grace are also found in “Paroles Sur Lèvres” and “Paroles Sur Langue”, a total of fifteen minutes where short soundless pauses are wisely thrown amidst flashes of affecting incorruptibility; a macrocosm of wavering choirs, vast compasses and grief-stricken mutability. The music’s psychophysical incidence allows us to reach awe-inspiring altitudes, highlighted by the rise and fall of the heartbeat’s rhythm during instants of unembellished enlightenment.
If you read Kupper’s complex yet coherent rationalization of what lies behind these magnificent paradigms of his creativity, marvel at how heartrending the outcome of those intricate processes can be. This writer has listened to the album four times in a few hours; the sense of discovery and the wish of “belonging” are still there, calling him to additional spins.