zweikommasieben / 28
The sound of each individual’s voice is thought to be entirely unique. Like a fingerprint, its composition is distinct, nuanced, and one-of-a-kind. While all this is true, it’s a concept that has been challenged in recent times by the refinement of AI-powered systems which are able to emulate voices to a tee. And not only voices, for that matter, but whole styles and aesthetics: an AI-generated facsimile of Drake and The Weeknd’s voices titled “Heart on My Sleeve” made the rounds this year and was even submitted for Grammy consideration. It’s a legitimate song, and a proposal that does not only keep legal departments busy, but also allows for myriad reflections on originality and, bluntly, the future of music. But as the future of music is a broad and daunting topic to speculate on, we want to hone in on what’s been prefaced above: issue #28 of zweikommasieben centers the voice as means of expression, and wants to expand on what is meant by that: it’s not only what is heard, but also why a voice is used and by whom. This latest edition considers what it means to voice, and its physical, societal and political dimensions.
Truthfully, voices as a topic might be even more daunting to tackle. Its political implications are manifold and have to be considered in seriousness. Voice can’t be separated from reflections on the ingrained power of attitudes, beliefs, and norms that dominate. Exhibit A for these complex entanglements is a conversation Dounia Biedermann had with South Korean artist bela. The musician explains how they use all kinds of different voices other than their recognizable speaking voice to articulate and access deeply felt emotions towards their home country and identity. “Whispering, growling, screeching, and inhaling” help them in disrupting cultural boundaries of power that historically constrain and silence marginalized identities. With this approach, bela finds an ally in Krista Papista: in conversation with Jazmina Figueroa she informs that her latest album was an explicit tribute to the lives of victims of femicide in Cyprus, and the marginalized voices that are not heard within the Cypriot national ideology. By subverting traditional music genres and poetics, both Krista Papista and bela push forward the need to queer history and to reveal longstanding, harmful, national myths.
zweikommasieben is a Swiss magazine that has been devoted to the documentation of contemporary music and sounds since the summer of 2011. The magazine features artist interviews, essays and columns as well as photography, illustration and graphics. In addition zweikommasieben organizes concerts, parties, club nights, matinees, raves and other fun events in various cities.