Paul Dutton is a talented and highly respected writer of fiction, poetry and essays, and well as an oral sound artist. He has also made his mark in Canada and internationally as a leading oral sound artist, whilst performing as a soloist and as a member of the performance/ poetry group The Four Horsemen (1970–1988) and the free-improvisational performance group CCMC (1989–present). What fascinates me most about his work is that his sounds are all oral and yet seem so different from the sounds we hear every day. His work consists of textured multiphonic vocal fluency, and is laced with rasps, rumbles, honks, howls, and wheezes, featured in freely improvised but structured solos. Like in many sound artists’ work, the occasional verbal invention is added in. While listening to some of his compositions, such as “Reverberations” and “An M ‘n’ an M,” I actually felt as if I was sitting in the middle of the jungle. The sounds he makes in these two pieces sound so much like animals, it’s fascinating. I would have never thought it would have been possible to make those kinds of sounds orally. When listening specifically to his piece “Reverberations”, I thought about a safari, and could almost feel myself skipping down a sidewalk. In fact, it reminded me of the movies The Lion King and The Jungle Book.
Listening to Paul Dutton’s music makes me feel energized as well as able and ready. Most his music also communicates to me, the feeling of joy and humour. What I enjoy most about his music is the fact that each one is fun, completely different, and unique. If I had listened to his pieces without having known they were his, I would have never been able to guess that they were by the same artist. His work demonstrates much variety and this is something that makes him very different from many sound artists. The compositions of other artists, such as Maja Ratke, do not prove to each have a different theme, and message/ idea behind them. In fact, most of them follow the same sort of theme and it would be easier to guess which artist had composed them. Paul Dutton’s pieces, however, each proves to be individual and fun. Dutton describes his work as an expression of himself and his life, and believes that the fact that he is not only a sound artist, but also a writer, contributes to his originality. It seems to me as if he is influenced greatly by the sounds around us, as he has said in an interview.
His music makes me wonder about how sound can have such a huge impact on us and how we feel. It makes me wonder whether the types of sounds he makes orally can be more powerful than the music we normally listen to (hip hop, rock). I wonder whether the reason he is such a successful oral artists, was inspired by the fact that he is also a writer.
I would love to look deeper into Paul Duttons different works and see whether I would be able to find any type of a pattern. I highly doubt I would but it would be great to explore the idea and figure out what exactly it is that makes each of his compositions seem so unique and isolated from the others. I would also like to explore his written work and especially poetry and see if I can sense a connection between at least those works of his.