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Steve Bradley

"volalle melodie vi to trot" / "fowl melody to trot" (1999)


Analysis by Matthew Kober

This piece contains very few sound sources that are layered and juxtaposed in a sombre and contrasting fashion. A noisy hum and and low buzz swell tradingly in and out while throughout, the sound of switches flicking can be heard. Lacing the entire piece is the crackle of a needle gliding on an old, dusty record.

The text elements are a strange contrast of a mundane French language lesson interspersed with what seems to be a tense domestic scene that culminates in screaming. Amother is trying to get her kid to eat his oatmeal and ultimately freaks out. Snippets of parental cliches like "I've had enough of this!", "How many times have I told you?" and "Sick and tired.." dominate, while one can vaguely discern the small voices of children buried in the mix. The disturbing quality of this element is tempered only slightly by the French lesson samples.

There is a strange voyeuristic chill throughout the piece, reminiscent of Rachel McInturff's piece about physical abuse "By Heart". A glimpse into the life of an obviously unhealthy and unharmonious family in conflict, the piece leaves one with a feeling of unsettled powerlessness. You just want to reach into this scene and tell the raving mother to just let the kid carve the damned pumpkin.


Spectral analysis taken from "volalle melodie vi to trot" / "fowl melody to trot"


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