Boomkat Product Review:
‘Songs Without Throats’ is a large dose of zany brilliance from Paul DeMarinis - a Robert Ashley collaborator and member of The League of Automatic Composers - featuring work exclusively selected and compiled for Oren Ambarchi’s leading edge label, Black Truffle
Paul DeMarinis is a graduate of the famous Mills College, where he studied composition with Robert Ashley and Terry Riley, leading to his formative role in the world’s first computer “band” - The League of Automatic Composers with David Behrman and co - and his credit playing Moog on Ashley’s legendary album, ‘In Sara, Mencken, Christ and Beethoven There Were Men and Women.” Those credits aside, DeMarinis is also a wildly creative composer in his own right, with a body of work that probes perceptive schisms between natural and synthesised sounds in the most playful, beguiling manner.
Drawn from material found on compilations, together with stacks of work previously unheard in any form, ‘Songs Without Throats’ is a very necessary introduction to DeMarinis’ charming soundworld. Focussing on his output between the late ‘70s and 1995, it presents a hugely playful demonstration of digitally manipulated speech sounds, simulated pastoralism, and clinically sharp tones all threaded together with a mean sense of humour and adventurousness to provide a first time peek behind the curtain of his studio in the ‘80s.
Much of the work was produced off-the-cuff in the process of developing structures that began in live rehearsals. As such they’re relatively stripped down and shy of FX, yet they remain fascinating on merit of DeMarinis’ nascent naivety and explorative nature, abundant with the type of sounds that make your ear crease and pucker: from the way he turns a rare 78rpm sample of Stalin into birdsong using the formants of his voice; to the speak ’n spell froth of his catalogue highlight ‘Kokole’ ’ to his canny balance of natural and synthetic speech with longterm collaborator Anne Klingensmith; and his dotty, proto-chiptune, dance-pop rhythms in the likes of ‘R4T’, ‘Eenie Meanie Chillie Beanie’, and ‘Yellow Yankee.’