BPA -4 Hugo Ball: Sechs Laut​-​und Klanggedichte 1916 (Six Sound Poems, 1916)

by Jaap Blonk / Damon Smith

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  • BPA -4 Hugo Ball: Sechs Laut- und Klanggedichte 1916 (Six Sound Poems, 1916)
    Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Real CD in mini LP sleeve, folded postcard liner insert. Edition of 250, first 100 come with an Art Guys Business card.

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Three free improvisations for voice & double bass + improvisations on Hugo Ball's Six Sound Poems:

Hugo Ball: Sechs Laut- und Klanggedichte 1916 (Six Sound Poems, 1916)

Liner notes:

The Life and Work of Hugo Ball.

This recording is a modern interpretation of sound poems written and performed by German Dadaist Hugo Ball almost a century ago. Those familiar with Ball know him as the author of these innovative works and founder of the Cabaret Voltaire, Dada’s Zurich birthplace. Despite the sound poems’ artistic legacy, they constitute only a small part of Ball’s creative output. The purpose of these liner notes, then, is to consider the complex life and work of the man behind the sound poems.

Ball was born in western Germany at the end of the nineteenth century to a large Catholic family with ties to the region’s leather industry. His parents pushed him to learn a useful trade, but young Ball identified as an artist. He studied literature and philosophy at university before leaving to learn acting. Germany’s thriving experimental theater community would be his creative home from 1911 until 1915.

Ball excelled as a dramaturge, championing new repertoire, promoting local actors, and writing influential essays on modern theater. World War I interrupted his collaboration with the painter Wassily Kandinsky on what they called the New Theater, one “bursting at once in dance, color, mime, music, and word.” (Ball, “Das Münchner Künstlertheater,”1914) It would be a Gesamtkunstwerk for the twentieth century, a vision Ball later realized at the Cabaret Voltaire.

Ball’s initial response to the war was one of enthusiastic support. He volunteered for military service but failed his medical exam. Refusing to accept defeat, he travelled to the front with his own funds: what he saw there turned him into an antiwar activist. He wrote scathing articles and forged papers to help men evade the draft. Facing imminent arrest, he crossed into neutral Switzerland in 1915 using his own forged documents.

There, Ball’s immigration status forced him to work odd jobs, including as a vaudeville pianist. This inspired him to explore the cabaret as a site for his politically engaged New Theater. He opened the Cabaret Voltaire in February 1916, and it quickly attracted a core group of artists. Only five months later, Ball ended the experiment. The nightly performances exhausted him, and he resented others’ efforts to institutionalize Dada. After a period of recuperation, he returned briefly to organize a series of soirées but soon abandoned Dada, poetry, and theater for good.

After Dada, Ball reinvented himself as a writer. He began as a political reporter—something of a return to his antiwar days. This journalism coalesced into a book, Critique of the German Intelligentsia, in which Ball charted the historical development of German militarism from the Protestant Reformation to the future coming of a reactionary dictator. He also wrote two fictional novels with Dada-esque characters and plots.

From his earliest years, Ball’s single-minded dedication to his art approached a secular monasticism. In 1920, disillusioned with his youthful values and current events, he reconverted to Catholicism and committed himself to the study of early Christian theology. As part of this rebirth, he expunged his diaries of sacrilegious content, erasing every trace of the younger man. Ironically, this coincided with a revival of popular interest in Ball’s Dada works.

If not for his premature death in 1927 at the age of forty-one, he might have reconciled his artistic, political, and theological interests; as it was, he remained an outsider for much of his career. He used his marginal status to explore innovative ideas unrestricted by normative mainstream society. In our increasingly homogeneous world, Ball’s resistance to dominant narratives offers an inspiring model for creative thinkers of the twenty-first century.

Melissa Venator


released October 25, 2014

Jaap Blonk - voice
Damon Smith - double bass

Hugo Ball: Sechs Laut-und Klanggedichte 1916 (Six Sound Poems, 1916)

Recorded Tuesday May 26th, 2013 at KUHF by Ryan Edwards
Mixed and Mastered by Ryan Edwards
Liner notes by Melissa Venator
Design by Alan Anzalone
Cover by The Art Guys

Saint Appollonia 2009
graphite, pastel, colored pencil on paper 9 x 12 inches

Other information:



all rights reserved


Track Name: Wolken (Clouds)
1. Wolken (Clouds)

elomen elomen lefitalominai
baumbala bunga
acycam glastula feirofim flinsi
elominuscula pluplubasch
endremin saxassa flumen flobollala
fellobasch falljada follidi
gragluda gligloda glodasch
gluglamen gloglada gleroda glandridi
elomen elomen lefitalominai
baumbala bunga
acycam glastala feirofim blisti
elominuscula pluplusch
Track Name: Katzen und Pfauen (Cats and Peacocks)
2. Katzen und Pfauen (Cats and Peacocks)

baubo sbugi ninga gloffa
siwi faffa
sbugi faffa
olofa fafamo
faufo halja finj
sirgi ninga banja sbugi
halja hanja golja biddim
mâ mâ
pawapa baungo sbugi
Track Name: Karawane (Caravan)
3. Karawane (Caravan)

jolifanto bambla o falli bambla
großiga m'pfa habla horem
egiga goramen
higo bloiko russula huju
hollaka hollala
anlogo bung
blago bung blago bung
bosso fataka
ü üü ü
schampa wulla wussa olobo
hej tatta gorem
eschige zunbada
wulubu ssubudu uluwu ssubudu
tumba ba-umf
kusa gauma
ba - umf
Track Name: Gadji beri bimba
4. Gadji beri bimba

gadji beri bimba glandridi laula lonni cadori
gadjama gramma berida bimbala glandri galassassa laulitalomini
gadji beri bin blassa glassala laula lonni cadorsu sassala bim
gadjama tuffm i zimzalla binban gligla wowolimai bin beri ban
o katalominai rhinozerossola hopsamen laulitalomini hoooo
gadjama rhinozerossola hopsamen
bluku terullala blaulala loooo
zimzim urullala zimzim urullala zimzim zanzibar zimzalla zam
elifantolim brussala bulomen brussala bulomen tromtata
velo da bang bang affalo purzamai affalo purzamai lengado tor
gadjama bimbalo glandridi glassala zingtata pimpalo ögrögöööö
viola laxato viola zimbrabim viola uli paluji malooo
tuffm im zimbrabim negramai bumbalo negramai bumbalo tuffm i zim
gadjama bimbala oo beri gadjama gaga di gadjama affalo pinx
gaga di bumbalo bumbalo gadjamen
gaga di bling blong
gaga blung
Track Name: Totenklage (Dirge)
5. Totenklage (Dirge)

tabla tokta tokta takabla
taka tak
Babula m'balam
tak tru – ü
wo – um
biba bimbel
o kla o auw
kla o auwa
la – auma
o kla o ü
la o auma
klinga – o – e – auwa
ome o-auwa
klinga inga M ao – Auwa
omba dij omuff pomo – auwa
tro-u-ü o-a-o-ü
gomun guma zangaga gago blagaga
szagaglugi m ba-o-auma
szaga szago
szaga la m'blama
bschigi bschigo
bschigi bschigi
bschiggo bschiggo
goggo goggo
a-o –auma
Track Name: Seepferdchen und Flugfische (Seahorses and Flying Fish)
6. Seepferdchen und Flugfische (Seahorses and Flying Fish)

tressli bessli nebogen leila
flusch kata
zack hitti zopp
zack hitti zopp
hitti betzli betzli
prusch kata
fasch kitti bimm
zitti kitillabi billabi billabi
zikko di zakkobam
fisch kitti bisch
bumbalo bumbalo bumbalo bambo
zitti kitillabi
zack hitti zopp
treßli beßli nebogen grügrü
blaulala violabimini bisch
violabimini bimini bimini
fusch kata
zick hiti zopp

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