Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Demetrio Stratos - 1976 - Metradora

Demetrio Stratos

01 Segmenti Uno (3:36)
02 Segmenti Due (4:04)
03 Segmenti Tre (4:01)
04 Segmenti Quattro (4:31)
05 Mirologhi 1 (Lamento D'Epiro) (4:23)
06 Metrodora (8:55)
07 Mirologhi 2 (Lamento D'Epiro) (4:10)

- Demetio Stratos / voice

Demetrio Stratos was born in Alexandria, Egypt on 22 April 1945. In 1962, he moved to Italy, where he enrolled in the Architecture Faculty at the Politecnico di Milano. In 1967, he joined the "Ribelli" as keyboard player; he soon adandoned this to dedicate his activities to voice research. He started to experiment on vocal phenomena.

In 1972, he founded the group Area, together with Giulio Capiozzo on drums: the original line-up included Victor Eduard Busnello, Giulio Capiozzo, Yan Patrick Erard Djivas, Patrizio Fariselli, Demetrio Stratos and Gianpaolo Tofam. Later, Busnello left the group and Djivas joined Premiata Forneria Marconi, and his place was taken by Ares Tavolazzi. He recorded with the group and together with Gianni Sassi, for his research work on the Cramps.Records label.

In 1973, he took part in the eight Biennale in Paris. In 1974, he toured festivals in France, Portugal, Switzerland and Cuba. In Cuba he was invited by the Ministry of Culture to meet a delegation of musicians from Mongolia and to participate in discussion on vocal methods in the Far East.

Stratos gradually became more and more deeply involved in the mysterious world of sounds, rewriting and extending ap immense work on the importance of the voice in Eastern and Middle-Eastern civilizations.

In Milan, he worked together with GianniEmilio Simonetti and Juan Hidalgo and Walter Marchetti, founders of the group Zaj, and in the context of the Fluxus experience, he became involved with John Cage's music. In 1974, he recorded Cage's "Mesostics" in a version for a solo voice and subsequently performed it at numerous festivals in front of large audiences of young peple.

In 1976, he spoke at several seminars held at the Istituto di Glottologia at the University of Padua, and in Padua, worked together with the Centro di Foniatria, on research into limits of language. Stratos underlined the link between language and the psyche and highlighted their connection with the sounds made by the vocal chords, which he considered as musical instruments.

In 1978, his international fame grew when he took part in concerts given at the Roundabout Tbeatre in New York. This was the time of "Event" with Merce Cunningham and the Dance Company performed under the artistic direction of Jasper Johns, Cage's musical contribution, with Andy Warhol's costume designs.

His research into the field of phonetic and experimental poetry led to his freeing his voice every naturalistic restraint, restoring its depth and dimension. The result of this van be heard in the two recordings of his compositions "Metrodora" and "Cantare la Voce" where what sounds like an instrument is in fact his voice.

Daniel Charles has described him as the person who decimated monody by the demultiplication of the acoustic spectrum: he achieved a diplophony which is triplophonic, even quadrophonic. His vocalisation became microorchestrations (voiceinstrument) without any technological amplification.

He died in June 1979 at the New York Memorial Hospital. He was admitted the evening before a concert held on his behalf at the Milan Area. Over 100 musicians played in front of an audience of 100,000.

ell what can you add, regarding of the best Italian vocalist ever, with his incredible vocal range, plus his fantastic voice intensity of 6000-7000 Hz frequency as well!! (Note: I was between a few lucky guys fond of prog and other new listeners, able to participate in his last concert in Parco Lambro- Milan, performed on 1980, as I live near Milan of course...) I know that it seems more like a vocal exercise, where He could produce in a single emission of breath two or three or even four sounds, in a double and triple "phonic" emission of main tones and more...simply incredible, but it's a music "testament", cause I don't know any vocalist like him today, able to leave an indelible mark!!

Of course it's difficult to judge so many "segments", without losing the music direction, cause it's not naturally as in his sessions with Area (these latter as you know such an organized and methodic ensemble of progressive/experimental jazz!!). Anyway the present album, often reminding me of the most experimental side of zehul music, especially in the mood, by means of the improvisational aspects composing the ensemble taken to the extreme, is well worth checking out at least...but it's clear to all of us that if you evaluate this "Metrodora" as a normal prog album, you will erase one or two stars from the final score; instead if you regard this as a theatrical effort, exploring all the possibilities of the human vocal range, this album could be also a 5 stars...make your personal choices, according to your mood!!

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