Randi Pontoppidan is fucking cool.
Think about the human voice and how it works. The lungs push air through a pipe we creatively called the windpipe (Get it? Cause fucking wind goes through it?) In the middle of this pipe is a pair of rubber bands called the vocal folds. We can push these fuckers in and out of the windpipe cause we’re awesome. If we couldn’t do this every time we took a breath, we’d make some sort of sound. The world would be full of people making “ughh” sounds. And they wouldn’t be happening at the same time, mind you. The “ughh’s” would be everywhere. The earth would consist of close to 8 billion popping “ughh’s” like we were bullfrogs in heat. I’d nuclear bomb every single motherfucker. No offence. And, essentially, that’s it. Our vibrating skull and mouth help amplify and individualize our rubber band throat noises, but that’s it. From that, we’ve created music, language, and communication. The human voice is badass.
Randi does vocal jazz. But not the “shoe-bop shoe-bop” kind (though I’m sure she could if she wanted to). Randi is a singer that continually pushes the boundaries on what the human voice can do. She has vocal and singing techniques I’ve never heard before. This album is made entirely of her voice being filtered through a fuck ton of electronics. She’s worked with jazzers like Greg Cohen, Sissel Vera Pettersen, and Jamaaladeen. She also works in the contemporary classical game and has performed the works of Stockhausen, Cage, Lang, and Reich. In other words, Randi is truly fucking out there.
I understand how strange this album will sound to many of you. I wouldn’t be surprised if you decided to never listen to it. But you’d be making a mistake. Think about back in the day when some DJ’s power suddenly went out on his CompuRhythm CR-7030 beatbox. The entire block party looked up to this one motherfucker like he just shit the bed. Then one courageous MC picked up the mic, put his mouth to it, and beat boxed for the first fucking time. We’re still young as a species. We’re still figuring out what the fuck we are and how these meats sacks, we call bodies, work. Sure, the human voice may seem simple, but look at the shit we’ve made with it. Randi is at the head of this game. And she’s fucking good at it.
As a composer, Randi is extremely talented. If you step back from the fact that this album is made entirely of Randi’s voice, her use of layering and arrangement is sophisticated as fuck. If you find yourself wanting to suddenly laugh while listening to this, that’s because this was her intent. So, go ahead. Enjoy the moment. But be aware that there will be other moments on this album. There are beautiful and strange moments where at the midst of an organic orchestra you’ll feel connected, vulnerable, contemplative, introspective, and cerebral. You’ll feel the things that make humans so fucking badass. Not bad for a pipe and a pair of rubber bands.