We, The Chorus is written for a professional choir, auto-tune, and electronics. It is named after a chapter in Valentinas Klimašauskas’ 2018 book Oh, My Darling & Other Rants. The book was written using an auto-correction and virtual assistants, which scanned and transformed the whole text. The book is also based on a song by Rajah Rajasingham – a street musician who has been singing one and same song in Münster, Germany for more than twenty years. As Klimašauskas writes: “Rajah has sung the single line “Oh my darling” for hours and years in the same streets of the same Münster. Originally from Sri Lanka he repeats the same line as if it was a mantra or a techno track. Among the book’s aims was finding a contemporary character who would represent the larger part of the society, the so-called 99 percent. Watching today’s scandal-seeking mass media and scrolling through rather hysterical social networks, one may easily be reminded of the Greek Chorus in classical Greek theatre. The function of the Chorus is to explain the context and represent society”.
We, The Chorus uses an auto-tune system, which filters and auto-tunes the choir throughout the piece. Similar to the auto-correct function in text editing, the auto-tune (as a Max4Live patch) automatically adjusts and retunes the sung notes. This automated choir is coupled with the slowed-down audio of Rajah Rajasingham singing in the street, recorded together with racist comments of the teenagers who have filmed him. It is followed by the repetitive electronics, based on typical techno music harmonies. As the voices get auto-tuned and mixed with echoes of techno and Rajasingham’s chant, a different narrative emerges, reversing the roles of localities, and generating a new, artificial sonic environment.
V.Klimašauskas: “In today’s society, the Chorus represents and refers to the whole mixed landscape of a/anti/post/sub/super-humans — AI, eco sentient, clones, consumers, migrants, narcissistic capitalists, Nazis, populist politicians, precariat, tax payers, etc. Think of all the people you have ever met, passed by on the street and online.”
Professional choir, auto-tune, electronics, 18 min
Commissioned by Vilnius Choir