Vincent Barras (b. 1956) & Jacques Demierre (b. 1954)

Various pieces

1. bh n (a) 33:35

Vincent Barras & Jacques Demierre text, composition and voices Recorded and mixed March 2007 at Mas-de-Roure (F) by Adrien Kessler

bh n (a) is part of a triptych called “Voicing through Saussure”, including gad gad vazo gadati (2002) and manarauieoo (2009). bh n (a) was originally composed as a collaboration with choreographer and dancer Cindy van Acker for her choreography “Puits” (2006).

Talk, verbal stuff, is taken as a primary component, drawn from materials found in the work of linguist Ferdinand de Saussure on various ancient and modern languages (the so called “Indo-Europeans” languages). The detailed analysis of the sonorities of the ancient and modern languages, their re-elaboration and re-composition is finally embodied in a score-text, spread out on stage in its concrete dimensions through the language performance of the two sound artists. The body is where this vocal investigation takes place, digging in the primitive sound matter of language

2. ooa 3:42

Vincent Barras & Jacques Demierre text, composition and voices Recorded Marc 2005 at @PTT, Chêne-Bougeries (CH), by Thierry Simonot and mixed by Thierry Simonot and Jacques Demierre First published in Leonardo Music Journal, CD Series vol. 15, Vox ex machina, curated by Jaap Blonk, 2005

ooa is a piece about flows of vowels and gestures amid bodily surfaces and aural technology. Its speculates in a embodied and ontogenic way on the primitive language that flows out of the open mouth, occurring every time we articulate hiatuses and let them run out like the flow of some childish or barbarian or idiotic language. Consonants, which result in “natural” languages from the rubbings of different surfaces of the vocal organs, are replaced by the resonant traces of precise gestures performed on different bodily surfaces or materials (such as percussion, succession, palpation).

Live performances

1. d’ 6:10

2. découpe 6:41

3. umno ouwn umno 4:08

Vincent Barras & Jacques Demierre text, composition and voices Recorded live at Theater Stock, Zürich, 2006

homard et autres pièces inquiétantes et capitales

1. traghetto II 4:03

2. homère 4:04

3. voyelles 8:12

4. découpe 10:37

5. umno ouwn umno 4:49

6. ma merd'de 6:45

7. homard 1:24

8. lésions 5:59

Vincent Barras & Jacques Demierre text, composition and voices
Recorded October 2000 at @PTT, Chêne-Bougeries (CH), by Yves Meylan and mastered by Adrien Kessler
First published on CD, ASM/STV 008, 2000

These eight "pièces inquiétantes et capitales", created from 1987 to 2000, fall within the tradition of sound and poetic experimentation. They draw their materiality from the only vector of poetic expression employed, namely the raw voice, and from the only artifice used to capture it, that being the microphone. The "texts" are also positioned in relationship to this reduction of means. They consist mainly of "anatomical" or "organic" poems, that stage the space of the body, which is at the same time sound producer and principle of semantic organization. The rationale that lies behind their genesis is thus inspired simultaneously by poetic techniques - syntactical, lexical, phonemic, prosodic work - as well as musical - specific choice of tones, sequences, overlaps. This essential intricacy of the "text" and its expressive medium relates them to "text-sound compositions", a term that has been used by several poets and composers from the 1960s and 70s to the present day. The traditional opposition between the social, "purified", codified aspect of linguistic expression, and its private, "impure" aspect (the "speech"), is first laid out experimentally, as well as the question that has come to haunt the music of the 20th C., of the relationship between "music" and "text".

Au homard

1. Consonnes 5:07

2. Agripaume 3:46

3. Post Card 4:22

4. Les Ions 5:38

5. Commissions 7:30

Vincent Barras & Jacques Demierre text, composition, voices and keyboards Music of "Post Card" (excerpt from "Le vin jaune"), additional voice on "Consonnes", "Agripaume" and "Post Card", additional sounds (percussions) on "Les Ions" by Christian Oestreicher
Recorded and mixed Spring 1988 at Mega Wave Studio, Geneva (CH), by Christian Oestreicher
First published in “Au homard”, LP, MWO-03, 1988


Jacques Demierre (1954, lives in Geneva), pianist, performer, composer. His musical and sound work takes various directions: improvised music, contemporary music, sound poetry, sound installation. His compositions and sound realisations are concerned with the activity of listening and with sound space, and develop a very cross and interdisciplinary conception of music. He collaborates with many improvising musicians, Barre Philips,Urs Leimgruber, Thomas Lehn, Joëlle Léandre, Axel Dörner, Fritz Hauser, Sainkho Namtchylak, Hans Koch, Brandon Labelle, Jason Kahn, Butch Morris, Carlos Zingaro, Jaap Blonk, Barry Guy, Lucas Niggli, Sylvie Courvoisir, Hann Bennink, Rhodri Davis, Isabelle Duthoit, Dorothea Schürch, Phil Minton,…

Vincent Barras (1956, lives in Geneva), performer, historian, translator. He teaches at the University of Lausanne (history of medicine) and at the High Schools of Art and Applied Art in Geneva (sound, history of the body). He is member of Contrechamps Editions in Geneva (contemporary music and aesthetics) and programmer of sound poetry and art language festivals (La Bâtie Festival and Roaratorio in Geneva). He has published various books, essays, articles, on body theory, medicine and psychiatry, contemporary poetry and music. He has translated books by Galen, Edoardo Sanguineti, Theodor Adorno, Carl Dahlhaus, Georges Seferis, John Cage, Eugen Gomringer, Simon Cutts, Robert Lax.

Vincent Barras & Jacques Demierre have published together : Voicing Through Saussure, Jacques Demierre et Vincent Barras, a film by Véronique Goël, vidéo, color, 64 minutes, 2009
symptômes, Vincent Barras &Jacques Demierre, n’est-ce pas? #6, esba, Geneva 2006
ooa, in Leonardo Music Journal, CD Series vol. 15, Vox ex machina, curated by Jaap Blonk, 2005
gad gag vazo gadati, voicing through saussure, CD, madam revue sonore 1, Éditions Héros-Limite, Geneva 2004 (
homard et autres pièces inquiétantes et capitales, CD, STV/ASM 008, 2000
Au homard, LP, MWO 03, 1987