Brandon LaBelle – The Sonic Body: Figures 1-12

Brandon LaBelle

Errant Bodies, ebr_06, cd + booklet
Are there limits to the sounds that can be packed as a product (i.e. a label release)? Noise, field recordings, silence, disturbing or pure frequencies, sounds from objects or machines have always been welcome in the ample soundscape of experimental music, especially when produced in a conceptually worthy style. The Sonic Body pushes another limit. It records dance movements; the sounds of breathing and the small noises due to the friction of the body with clothes, the floor and other bodies during a continuous movement. Thanks to the high quality of production, it works excellently, inducing the involving feeling of a moving presence, thanks to an instinctive and ancestral triggering of our senses that have been trained to be alert to the sounds of human movement. The author calls it “sensual vitality” and the energy coming from the body movements is almost perceivable during the listening. In fact the whole perception of the place where the listener is placed is redefined and this is sensorially transmitted by every track. The recorded dancers were indeed listening to specific musical tracks of their choosing through headphones. In this way the music component is completely eliminated from the recording although it clearly finds form in the interpretational body movements. LaBelle defines the work as the “triangulation of sound, body and space.” In the booklet there’s an enlightening essay, some notes and precise details about the setting and the recording – enough to constitute one of the most interesting experiments in sound perception.