Monday, May 4, 2009


My previous post on the role of stuttering in music reminded me of Dadaist Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948) and his “primitive” sonata (sound poem), the Ursonate. The “Ur” principle (“early” or “primitive”) contributed to Schwitters’ creation of the Ursonate, a soundform from which the sonata might have come. Brian Eno includes a portion of one of Schwitters’ sound poems in “Kurt’s Rejoinder,” found on Before and After Science (1977). Eno’s interest in the Ursonate later influenced the Talking Heads during their Fear of Music (1979) period; Schwitters’ influence can be heard on that album’s opening track, “I Zimbra.”

Some Additional Recordings:
Marcel Duchamp, The Creative Act
Raoul Hausmann, Poèmes phonétiques (EP) (Paris 1958)
Kurt Schwitters, Ursonate (1922-32) (Wergo, pictured)
Cecil Taylor, Chinampas (Leo Records)
VA, Futurism & Dada Reviewed (Sub Rosa)

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