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January 11, 2010

Shlomo and the Vocal Orchestra

The Times (UK):

Simon Shlomo Kahn was not even born when the first generation of New York hip-hop artists pioneered the “human beatbox” craze in the early 1980s. A classically trained percussionist from Buckinghamshire, the 25-year-old Kahn has not only revived this arcane skill but raised it to a whole new level of acrobatic virtuosity that has earned him invitations to work with Björk, Damon Albarn, Jarvis Cocker, the Mighty Boosh and others.

Kahn unveiled his latest collaboration last week at the Southbank Centre, where he is artist in residence. Billed as a “beatboxing adventure” combining music, dance and drama, Boxed was an almost wordless urban fairytale composed entirely from a capella sound effects generated live by Khan and his dozen-strong Vocal Orchestra. This young, multiracial crew deployed their voices in witty and complementary ways, not just to simulate drum beats but also strings, guitars, keyboards and even the sounds of a classical orchestra tuning up.

During one impressive scene, several cast members transformed themselves into a set of turntables, then a human drum kit. Between replicating the noises of passing cars, underground stations, bubbling test tubes and vibrating mobile phones, they mimicked the jerky movements and shuddering sounds of a DVD in pause and rewind mode. Clever stuff. Read more.

Posted by acapnews at January 11, 2010 11:03 PM


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