Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Hans Arp, Raoul Hausmann, Kurt Schwitters - "Dada Antidada Merz" (2005)
When I came across it in Amoeba Records in Los Angeles, this compilation of poetry and spoken word pieces from three major contributors to the Dada movement was an offer I simply could not refuse. Although it was far more sparse than I had originally envisioned, I found myself entranced by their warped, brain-twisting take on verbal delivery and the recording medium itself. While I don't speak German or French, the two 'real' languages most often featured/referenced here, that didn't much detract from my experience of the works, which are focused as much on tonality and off-kilter timing as the semantic content to which they apparently correspond. To the these linguistically-naive ears, the result is like some kind of vocal free-jazz, a challenging and intruiging document of some incredibly challenging and intruiging 'artists.' Honestly, written description isn't going to do it here; you just gotta go with it.