Sub Rosa recently reissued experimental composer Trevor Wishart’s sophomore effort Red Bird: A Political Prisoner’s Dream – which came out almost forty years ago. It doesn’t sound of its time, nor of any time really. The entirety of side A, actually the entire record, is startling from the very beginning, constantly morphing and shifting in to sound sources. You can hear the wails, angry/fearful screams of people who may or may not be dead at this point, choruses of wordless whispers, exhaustion, cries of animals and sped-up voices, some of which the gender becomes as ambiguous as the location to which the song is leading you. If you decided to look in to, much less recall, my piece about Holly Herndon not too long ago you’ll see where she may have gotten inspirationRed Bird… is one giant song, so I’d advise you to listen to it as such. This puts the venereal in to music in a highly intense way. Listen to Red Bird… below via the Spotify stream and see what you think of it. Cheers!


If you live in the UK, click here to buy Red Bird: A Political Prisoner’s Dream.

The Details

Red Bird was composed between 1973 and 1977, using the studio of the University of York Music in UK. Wishart's compositional interests deal mainly with the interpolation by technological means between the human voice and natural sounds.

Trevor Wishart (1946, Leeds, England) has been very active, since the early 1970s in the area of electro-acoustic music (first with tape manipulation, later with computer pieces) and music theatre pieces. He pays special attention to the objectives of musical education, collaborative performance-projects and solo practice using original vocal techniques. In 1973 he did his doctorate dissertation at the University of York (musical composition). Since the mid 70s he has been doing systematic research into vocal-sounds and speech articulation and the possibilities for their notation and musical organisation, giving special emphasis to computer technologies. He is the author of a number of theoretical books on musical composition, philosophy and sociology and he has contributed to the design and implementation of software tools used in the creation of digital music.

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