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Saturday, December 12, 2009

ON THE PURSUIT OF "VISAGE" BY LUCIANO BERIO

Is it possible, I'm wondering - is it actually fucking possible - to own too many vinyl versions of Berio's "Visage"...?

How many is enough? How many is too much?

It's the laughs that get me - the hisses and the snorrrks; the sighs and the unwords; the trills n the throbs. It's an incredibly sexual piece.

Sexy, but hysterical. I should've included it in my Ontological Hysteria Mix a while back. Maybe I did.

But how many versions are there? How many editions, performances?

CDs don't count, NaxosKids. And click-trawling the internet for copies like Woebot is just a cop out - this is a tale of deferred pleasure (and pain) - the story of a desperate sirensongcry that has echoed out down thru the decades; the ultimate electronic cocktease.

That wailing voice just, y'know, begging for it...

No, you need to pound some serious pavement, sniff it out in obscure Welsh charity-shops or Norfolk village fetes. It's there still, waiting for you. But you need to work at it. Put some effort in.

Don't tell my wife, but I've, uh, paid for it in the past and I... I'm not ashamed. The least was 50p; the most was £1.99. I don't live in London, suckers.

Years will go by between catching sight of this record in the raw, but it's never far from your mind, is it? C'mon, 'fess up; you're amongst friends here. It's just a piece of music.

I first heard it in '72? '73? A 'progressive' music-teacher (he had biiig lambchop side-burns) gave us pencils and a sheet of paper and told us to "draw what we saw in our heads" while he played it to us. My God, what was he thinking of, doing that to a bunch of pre-pubescent boys? (Maybe he had papers to mark or was nursing a hangover, I dunno) But, boy, did I ever draw!!

Then, at Yeovil College, my Stockhausen n Berio-jonesin' pal Dave Furber played me a copy and I thought waitaminute this sounds kinda familiar...my balls had dropped by that point and, ummmm, this was a woman's voice that spoke to me down thru the ages (very loudly and shrill-ly) of need and frustration, of want and desire. It was funny, sexy and horrible, all at once. Like a Lynch movie.

Somehow Berio had made a piece of viral music. He had invoked some sort of Endless Eternal Need, had awoken sexcircuits in our heads...

And you - you want it now too, don't you? My God, you want it so badly.

But just how long are you willing to wait?

How much are you prepared to pay?

How much is too much?

How much do you need, baby?

2 Comments:

At 8:16 am, Blogger Loki said...

i'm not sure that the timelines can work out (it's even BETTER if they don't) but can this be the same music teacher I talked about here? - http://loki23.blogspot.com/2004/09/beatles-revolution-no-9.html

 
At 11:06 pm, Blogger I am not Kek-w said...

Sadly not. I wish it were.

This guy looked like he was a temp lecturer at Belbury Poly lol. Youngish guy; fresh out of college - a bit posh and v. obv. pissed off to have ended up teaching at a provincial Grammar School. Despite his age and the fact it was the post-hippie era, the guy wasn't exactly what you'd call child friendly.

That was his only progressive/avant moment, I'm afraid. Me and him clashed over clarinet lessons. The guy I time-shared a school clarinet with kept returning it late, so I never had the time to practice my parts, yet Mr. Garland (lol!!!! - he was a bit of a diva) always blamed me.

Guy had some issues.

 

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