Over the last years Yannis Kyriakides has fully matured into a wonderful composer, becoming a guide light of sorts. The issues tackled during his systematic research on the relationships between speech, history and instrumental/computerized/environmental sounds are veritable invitations to consolidate a being’s eternally shifting purposes. We exist, need to communicate and attempt to do it, but remain inexorably divided by language barriers and temporal diversities (not to mention the individual rejection of certain traits of the “other” and, of course, the innate egotism rooted inside every human specimen). Thus, a system must be developed to amplify the crucial vibrations that constitute the only path towards a communication authentically purified from cerebral interferences. Subvoice presents nine experiments – possibilities, if you will – merging socio-political concreteness and poetry of the untold via soft-spoken hallucinations imbued with touching profundity.
The secret of Kyriakides’ ever-enthralling investigations lies in an apparent contradiction. Usually, vigilant listeners do their best to “decode” hidden messages and extract values. Rarely this is really feasible, though, for too many are the unshared experiences and the assortment of conditions and junctures that determine the ultimate appearance of a score. The Cypriot starts from the opposite pole; for most of his work, he encodes the countless fruits of oral expression in immaculate contrapuntal designs. Not just as mere colors; rather, as transformed nuclei of primordial significance containing the keys to acknowledge a subtler level of comprehension. The fact that one can or cannot hear actual voices in a given piece is, in a way, secondary: the awareness of something quietly working behind our superficial perceptions – typically under the guise of unfathomable frequencies – materializes almost immediately. What’s more, each composition, whatever its origin, elicits an implicit harmoniousness. A sense of confident acceptance that should be regarded as a precious gift in these troublesome times.
I could spend paragraphs describing the merits of the performers who, within these translucent architectures, contribute with their own sensibility to the accurate fulfilment of Kyriakides’ vision. Even in the chapters where the sonic activities are not performed by the man – as in “Politicus”, for prepared Disklavier – an interaction occurs between the source(s) and the inner self, as if we were naturally sucked into an evolution process unfolding in front of our very eyes. However, willing to play the frustrating “my favorites” game, I’d go with Elisabeth Smalt’s heartbroken phrasing in “Music For Viola” and, especially, with the inexplicably moving “Paramyth”: the lyrical juxtaposition of an algorithmically resynthesized voice (blind narrator Athinoula Christou Kyriakou) and the responsiveness of a trio of violin, clarinet and piano (respectively Barbara Lüneburg, Michel Marang and Reinier Van Houdt) literally freezes our normal beliefs and sentiments, replacing them with an indescribable feeling of inadequateness.