Breath's Length

New Album Out Now

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"It has been said that Science is never sensational; that it is intellectual not emotional; but certainly nothing that can be conceived would be more likely to create the profoundest of sensations, to arouse the liveliest of human emotions, than once more to hear the familiar voices of the dead. Yet Science now announces that this is possible, and can be done... whoever has spoken or whoever may speak into the mouthpiece of the phonograph, and whose words are recorded by it, has the assurance that his speech may be reproduced audibly in his own tones long after he himself has turned to dust. The possibility is simply startling... Speech has become, as it were, immortal."

Scientific American, Nov. 17, 1877
 

Breath's Length is a collection of solo electroacoustic works by artist and composer Roarke Menzies. Each work uses amplified voice, mouth, and breath as primary sound sources to approach themes of mortality, mourning, catharsis, digital reembodiment, techno-utopianism, and the impulse to outlast one's own lifetime. 

The album's title track, and conceptual centerpiece, considers both the indeterminate length of a breath, and the indeterminate length of time one has left to breathe (i.e. to be alive), attempting to poetically extend each with technological assistance. The work builds from Steve Reich's notion of using "the human breath as the measure of musical duration." Each sung tone is held for one breath's length, recorded, looped, and overlaid, accreting into a heaving mass of sound – an audible sonic body that 'breathes' indefinitely.

When you take the time to take in Menzies’ music, you hear how he melds hardware/software with the organic close enough to make a tenuous dance... A quietly excellent release from a master.
— Foreign Accents

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