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SoCorpo: On Becoming (2009)

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SoCorpo: On Becoming How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

SoCorpo's debut is one of those recordings that could easily fly under the radar. Composed of two vocal artists who are based in New York—multi-instrumentalist Sasha Bogdanowitsch, also heard on Meredith Monk
Meredith Monk
Meredith Monk
b.1943
vocalist
's Impermanence (ECM, 2008) , and Uruguay-born Sabrina Lastman
Sabrina Lastman
Sabrina Lastman
b.1973
vocalist
, who has also collaborated with Monk. Both of them also partnered previously on Bogdanowitsch's SaReel Project.

The duo's fascinating vocal technique references classical Indian vocal traditions, polyphonic Scandinavian vocal style, contemporary new music, and is even reminiscent of the Dadaist performances of Dutch vocal artist Jaap Blonk. Their vocal delivery is charged with almost telepathic interplay, and with Bogdanowitsch's clever usage of African, Finnish and Indian instruments, accompanying Lastman's poetic texts. In live performance, the duo explores the open boundaries between breathing, music, movement and theater.

The opener, "Breathing," finds the duo constructing vocal layers, used as percussive instruments, to suggest a background drone, but with voices that always sound original and natural, interacting in an organic and limitless manner. Bogdanowitsch often lays a solid base and loose rhythmic beat, her dark voice contrasting and completing Lastman's vocals—sometimes soaring and operatic, other times angelic, fragile and free-flowing.

"Behind the Curtain" is a beautiful poem penned by Lastman and sung in Spanish with spare string playing by Bogdanowitsch. Her expressive vocals can tell a whole story, just by stressing certain emotions and colors, without any need to understand the language. The duo's a capella interpretation of Lao-Tzu's Daoist text—about the union of the male and female elements in this world in order to introduce harmony—is simply fantastic. The performance itself delivers and enhances the meaning of this cryptic text. Their adaption of the text of Sufi poet Jelalludin Rumi "How Do I Live" is another beautiful interpretation of a spiritual text, arranged here as a mini-raga, with touches of circular breathing by Bogdanowitsch.

Track Listing: Breathing; Cave Chatter; Dona; Distant March; Behind the Curtain; Becoming; Passing Murmurs; Unearthing the Channel; How Do I Live; Conversation; Pulsation; Returning.

Personnel: Sasha Bogdanowitsch: voice, doson'goni, swarsangam, percussion; Sabrina Lastman: voice, percussion.

Record Label: Self Produced


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