Henri Chopin- La Plaine des Respirs  (LP Tochnit Aleph)

There's a fragment of footage on YouTube of Chopin at one of his final shows, at the Colours Out of Space Festival in Brighton back in July 2007. He'd been present for the festival looking frail in his wheelchair, having lost his appetite for a while. But once he began his set, he came to sparkling life like a jolt of electricity had shot through him. Wide eyed, energetic, giving sudden and precise directions to his collaborator at the back of the hall, directing where and when his voice had to be placed. Processed, hushed, breathy and then immediately whooshing with urgency, his multiplied vocal breath of life filled the space. His life was stripped down to the one thing that carried him through a difficult life - sound poetry. 

This may well have been his final record. It retains the element of defiance, communication and exploration that always comes through in his recordings. The 3 long track cycle, strip back, re-stack and break timelines. The use of sound/language as a political and anti-religious stance isn't directly obvious (to me at least) in his work but reading interviews with makes it clear that they form a strong foundation for his work. Just before he performed in Brighton he gave a speech that was full of dignified anger at what the Nazis had done to his family, and an anger at the religions for what they had (and continue) to do.  

It's a very fine album that captures well a moment in his life-long work with tapes and reels. Breathe...... breathe...... breathe...... 

The vinyl edition is limited to 491 copies and the cd edition to 500. HM

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