Conversation Piece (2006)

from Symbiotica (a cross-cultural mixup)

(recorded segments from throat-singers of Asia and Canada *, throat patients 'speaking' through implanted electronic larynx devices **, digital voices, processed human voices, and voices of animals )  

I think of this composition as an electronic choral work, founded on the tradition of the unaccompanied motet. The recordings of throat-singing are from northern Asian and Canadian tribes, and include Tuvan, Mongolian, Tibetan, and Canadian Inuit Katajjaq songs. Recorded animal sounds were sampled from animals around the world in their various habitats, including a bison, camel, chimpanzee, dolphin, elephant, jungle frog, hyena, leopard, monkey, moose, panda bear, polar bear, prairie dog, whale, zebra. Digital sounds include John R. Pierce’s first version of Bicycle Built for Two, and a reference to Charles Dodge’s Any Resemblance is Purely Coincidental. Recordings of throat patients with an artificial voice box often sound similar to modern computer voices, and at other times are nearly indistinguishable from certain animal voices.

Each recorded track was separated into short musical segments, naturally bounded by silences. The segments were then recombined independently of one another, and separated by varied durations of silence. 

by permission of Robert Beahrs (
** from recording of unknown origin (c. 1960's)