Zaum Box: New Music for Speaking Percussionist
Keywords:composition, contemporary music, futurism, percussion, sound poetry
Zaum Box is a collection of compositions for solo speaking percussionist setting transrational Russian futurist sound poetry called zaum. Zaum arose among a small interdisciplinary group of artists, writers, musicians and thinkers who invented a beyond-rational language as part of the radical disruption of traditional artistic and expressive forms, necessary to bring about the accelerated experience of a technologically-driven future. The subgenre of contemporary concert music for solo speaking instrumentalist dates from the 1970’s and has grown into a significant branch of the solo percussion repertoire. The composition of Zaum Box was founded on an extended period of research into zaum, futurism and Russian language. The complete set of compositions was produced as a limited-edition box set of uniquely formatted scores, which were realised by percussionist Katelyn Rose King in a set of ten videos. This article by the composer reviews all the phases of this project, including research and production, and examines the relationships between text, sound, music and theatricality in selected scores.
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