Anne La Berge
(b. 1955) is a pioneer who defies easy categorization. She is a flutist, composer and improviser, often simultaneously; she is also, as this disc demonstrates, a computer musician and a sui generis
poet and story-teller. Her performances bring together a ferocious and far-reaching virtuosity, a penchant for improvising delicately spun microtonal textures and melodies, and her wholly unique array of powerfully percussive flute effects, all combined with electronic processing. Many of her compositions involve her own participation, though she has produced works intended solely for other performers, usually involving guided improvisation and text. The concept uniting these five pieces, despite their diversity, is that all involve stories of one kind or another. The textual material is placed in different locations in the pieces, sometimes as foreground and sometimes as middle- or background, so that it forms only one element in the compositions, and is integrated with the instrumental and electronic sounds in the overall musical texture. These pieces are not compositions in the usual sense of the term, and none has anything like a conventional score: she describes the first four as guided improvisations, while the final track was originally part of a joint lecture/performance devised with her scientist father. In all these and other ways, La Berge is a precursor of some of the important things contemporary composition has now come to mean.
Classically trained and gifted with a "ferocious and far-reaching virtuosity", La Berge defies a classification in the traditional roles of avant garde art, preferring instead to concentrate on what she calls "guided improvisations" carried out across a wide gamut of interactive settings.... Seriousness is rapidly becoming a rare commodity, but here's the vivid evidence of a bright mind's refusal to comply to several of today's unwritten rules. An excellent release, very highly recommended. --Massimo Ricci
...every track on Speak
speaks exceedingly well of Le Berge's conceptual boldness and resourcefulness; each is its own world. --Point of Departure