I Hope I Can Feel Something Like That One Day (Self-Released, 03.2010)
For: The Books, Okapi, Chris Rehm
Byline: A deeply human tract on memory through shared experience. Download this now.
The collage has often been seen as a derivative art-form. An attempt to force meaning out of a random series of images (pre-drawn, pre-recorded, pre-photographed) in which the "artist" has simply re-contextualized them by juxtaposing the images to each other in order to elicit some sort of subjective connection from the audience. Something you do on high school notebooks but then move on from once you discover "real" art. But then you have Brion Gysin, William S. Burroughs, Ben Frost (the other Australian Ben Frost) who see the collage as an end in itself. A piece of art with its own intrinsic worth and possessing an internal logic that is immediately apparent. You can add New Orleans experimental/sound-collage artist DTH to that short list. DTH sifts through eras of pre-recorded voices, old home videos, last wills and testaments, man-on-the-street interviews, etc... to produce a coherent, touching statement of tangible humanism. The Books come immediately to mind, and in many ways DTH is in good company with them. Combining rummage sale of collected voices with strummed acoustic guitars, pillaged symphony scores, a lilting violin note or two, glitched out electronics, and the generally percussive nature of his editing style, DTH's characters feel like real people, aunts and uncles who died of cancer, little sisters on Christmas morning, classmates and survivors. Never expository, this collection of field recordings and people speaking directly into the microphone for the express purpose of telling their life story hearkens to the idea that once something is externalized, put on tape, written down, filmed, etc... it is no longer yours completely. Once it is out in the public domain you no longer have control of something that seems so personal, like your voice or your story. They are simply small parts of the collected human history now on tape and made available for complete recontextualization and interpretation. DTH has done something complimentary to these people and their life events, he turns them into something beautiful and emotionally true to the event being described. The emotionally transparent songs on IHICFSLTOD range from exultant, to nostalgic, and move from bitterness to acceptnce, all while wrapped in the aural warmth of coming across an old family 8mm film. This album struck an unusually emotional chord with me. And at one point seriously creeped me out. There is a moment on the second track "I'm Squeaking Everywhere" where I swear I heard my own voice. I occasionally do interviews for In Your Speakers and SLUG and through transcribing those interviews I have become acutely aware of my own voice and how much I hate it. I swear, I heard an "um" and (all to frequent in my interviews) that has the same tonal frequency as my own. Not to mention the kid in the Christmas morning segment is named Ryan. Probably not me though, I don't have a sister and I never got a cat for Christmas. But still DTH, do you have a tap on my phone?