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ELEKTRA (Scream Through the Eyes of a Statue)

by JAMES K

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1.

about

JAMES K
"ELEKTRA (Scream Through the Eyes of a Statue)"
CD ALBUM
CAT NO: iDEAL225
Edition of 250 copies. Jewel Case w OBI strip.

“Why is female sound bad to hear?” - Anne Carson

ELEKTRA (Scream Through the Eyes of a Statue), is a multimedia performance broadly conceptualizing the female voice as an “X-ray to the bones of sound.” It was commissioned by Issue Project Room and performed April 26th, 2018 in Brooklyn, New York. Taking poet, essayist, and Classics professor Anne Carson’s translation of Sophocles’ tragic play Elektra as a point of departure, James K monstrously externalizes the inner sonic world of female vocalization through a scored collaborative framework interpreting each of Elektra’s “screams” in the Greek tragedy.

The piece develops unique methods of screaming through musical and non-musical objects -- performed through manipulated text, videos, and live contributions from James K (voice, electronics, violin, video) performer and composer Eve Essex (alto saxophone, various winds and electronics), electronic producer and performer Dylan Shir (electronics), composer and cellist Leila Bordreuil (cello), and poet/artist Eli V Manuscript (textual alchemy, projections).

Within this collaborative framework, James K scores “the scream” to express the various relations between hysteria and the “gender of sound” -- a blurred and overlapping feminine sound defined by its fragmentation and resistance to scripted narrative. Elektra’s presence is emblematic of a radical alienation that occurs as a standing discrepancy to tragic convention. Amongst society, she is the anti-dialogue, a symbol of protest.

‘my cries are wings, they pierce the cage’

Elektra’s vocalizations pierce through language, revealing a shattered interior of multifaceted reflections constructed against habitual linguistic or vocal expression. In tragic convention, such habitual vocalization takes the shape of the often terse, patriarchal voice of the Greek philosopher -- a didactic, conceptual container in opposition to the expressive “becoming” of Elektra’s cries that riot against fixity. As a tragic character, Elektra is radical and alien for Sophocles and his audience -- an ever-present conviction that demonstrates how female shame has constructed a life-size funeral urn around her.

Through translating a text within layers of translations, a fragmentation of the firsthand into traces, James K mirrors Elektra’s deconstruction of reality into siren shards, offering an experiencing of female sign language as a means of sabotage to the world of normal utterances. By sliding on the edge of convention to sharply abandoning rational speech and sonic construction, K’s piece aims to embody Elektra’s strained and stretching screams, as cuts against the glass; her sabotage bound within the blanket loop. In response to rigid vocalization and fixed sonic understandings, ELEKTRA (Scream Through the Eyes of a Statue) takes the scream as an unruly, emotive sonic experience projecting outwards into objects and audience: to the very bones of sound.

This is a live recording of its single performance. Recorded by Bob Bellerue at Issue Project Room in Brooklyn, NY. Mixed by James K. Mastered by Jack Callahan. Performed by James K, Eve Essex, Via App, and Leila Bordreuil. Conceived and scored by James K for four players, and written in collaborative improvisation with the performers. Textual alchemy by Eli V Manuscript. Design and layout by Nicola Tirabasso and James K. Label management by Joachim Nordwall.

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released January 19, 2024

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