Artist, publisher, filmmaker and poet Henri Chopin (1922-2008) bought his first tape recorder in 1955, after which he started experimenting and pushing his poetic output into the realm of sound poetry. Chopin counts as a pioneer in that field, coupling attitudes and approaches of the early 20th-century avant-garde with new technological possibilities and bringing together in his publications, such as the poetry revue OU (1964-74), international iconoclasts such as original dadaists Raoul Hausmann and Marcel Janco and post-war lettrists, Fluxus artists and Beat poets such as Gil Wolman, François Dufrêne, Ian Hamilton Finlay, William Burroughs and Brion Gysin.
Chopin’s pieces are the result of an uncompromising approach of poetry, in which speech itself is taken apart and put together again in raw and anti-aesthetic compositions. Or, as Michel Giroud puts it in his liner notes to this CD: “Henri Chopin has consistently and unceasingly opened the ways to unexplored spaces beyond all known languages. Thanks to the systematic use of microphones, amplifiers, tape recorders, editing and mixing consoles, he has given voice to realms beyond modern or experimental music, beyond any note system and headed for spaces without norms, categories, definitions or limits: spaces of permanent metamorphosis.”
The CD La danse des tonneaux roulants et brisés subtitled Premier théâtre sonore du monde contains three characteristic compositions created by Chopin in his studio with a microphone and a Revox:
• Introduction pour une grande fête d’une bacchanale de tous les ages
• Sifflements et froissements sur le pacifique réel
• La danse des tonneaux roulants et brisés