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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Gil J Wolman - "Wolman et son double" Vinyl LP, (Alga Marghen)

"Wolman et son double" 

Gil J Wolman is one of those figures that is almost ghost-like in the 20th century avant-garde.  Painter, poet, fllm-maker, and member of both The Letterist movement as well as Letterist International, which eventually turned into the Situationist International.   Works by him are sparse in the States, but one that is here for sure is his album “Wolman et son Double.” Influenced by Anton Artaud’s lecture/performance in Paris in 1947, Wolman takes the sound poetics of Artuad and is applied to his own sensibility, which serves him of course, but clearly a tribute to Artaud as well. 

Gil J Wolman
Letterism came from the post-war years of World War II, mostly organized by poet/filmmaker Isidore Isou. The principal mediums for this group are poetry, film, painting and political theory.   Sort of a little brother to DADA and Surrealism, but Isou and company looked up to DADA poet Tristan Tzara, but not much of the other artists in those two movements.  The other medium they had an interest in is performances and recodings using the voice as an instrument, but not necessary with the actual words, but sounds.  Like his fellow Letterist and “vocalist” Maurice Lemaître, Wolman made sound art, and did a recording sometime in the 1970s of his performance work.  “Wolman et son Double” is that work. 

The Letterist International

Multi-tracked, and often very intense, there is a heaviness compared to Lemaître’s work, which is quite funny and very sexual.  Wolman clearly takes his influence of Artaud, but to another level.   The album is very much a musique concrete recording, but all from his vocal abilities.  Screams, hiccups, coughing, breathing, yelping -all adds a sense of tension.  It’s a brilliant piece of work (the recording) and the ideal state of hearing it is in a room, playing this album very loud, and in total darkness.  A limited edition of 350 copies. 

Gil J Wolman