Boomkat Product Review:
Myriad tongues enchant from every corner and across the ages on a special one from Demdike Stare’s DDS label; the first in a series of vocal-only mixtapes reaped from 25+ years of record collecting by NYC’s Simon Gabriel of 2 Bridges fame.
Spanning seven continents, Only Voices Vol.1 speaks to its compiler’s personal research via a plurality of languages, accents, styles and patterns. Drawing on decades immured in NYC’s contemporary art scene, digging its book and record shops, and even running a few of them - Good Records and 2 Bridges - Simon Gabriel pits rarified knowledge at the service of a genuinely ear-opening and low-key life-affirming mixtape with acute appeal to the most insatiable listeners.
For 70 minutes he joins dots across far flung voices highlighting the beauty of distinctive vocal traditions and their analogs in art musics. Like previous DDS editions focussed purely on percussion, this one weaves a rhizomic meta-path from a nocturnal scene of spellbinding choral whorls via field recordings of the blues to utterly captivating spirituals that keep us all guessing at every transition.
Even an educated guess would leave us floundering for reference points, so it’s better to take this one on trust and a leap of faith that Only Voices lives up to its modest moniker to the fullest, tipped if yr into anything from Folkways to the Nonesuch Explorer Series, Sublime Frequencies and beyond.