Pamela Z

Sound Performance
Pamela Z  

Pamela Z is a San Francisco based composer, performer and sound artist with a classical musical education from the University of Colorado. Sound patch-work, puzzles of taped, manipulated and sampled voices compose the main field of Pamela Z's search for new possibilities of vocal expression over the last two decades. With electronically manipulated sounds she brings back bel canto, an enigmatic singing style of Italian religious singers from the sixteenth and seventeenth century, she plays with singing and echoes, searches for the best tone and tonal continuity. Pamela Z takes on this revival differently from contemporary opera singers, since she employs modern technology to unveil a wider comprehension of vocal expression.
New sonic dimensions are reached with the help of computer, live electronic processing and the Body SynthTM (which allows her to manipulate sound with physical gesture), in addition to much more uncommon instruments, giving off peculiar sound effects - such as the type-writer, metal plates, glasses, water, etc. With the dramatic changes that came about in her music due to the use of special digital technology, her hands and body were freed up for gesture and movement and she became more focussed on the performance aspect of her work: "I came to see the sound I was making, and my physical behaviour while making it, as an integrated whole..." (Pamela Z)
Apart from her solo performances, Pamela is also the driving force of the interdisciplinary trio The Qube Chicks, the other members being Miya Masaoka and Donald Swearingen. Pamela Z's project-based collaborators include the opera singer, Nina Hagen, Jim Caroll, the 'spoken word' poet from New York, Brian Eno, Louis Andrissen, the vanguard Dutch composer, Peter Kowald, the German double bass player, jazz experimentalist from New York, Elliot Sharp, and the notorious hip-hop producer D.J. Spooky; she has performed at the Lollapalooza Rock Festival, in opera houses, museums and modern art galleries in Europe and America, in dance theatres, traditional houses of Japanese dance and most recently at Dak'Art, the Biennale of Contemporary African Art in Dakar, Senegal.
Her compositions have been played by The Bang On A Can Allstars, California E.A.R. Unit and Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, to name but a few, while she undertook the arrangement of Stockhausen's works and the scores for movie maker/painter Peter Greenaway's creations.

City of Women will feature selected parts from Pamela Z's creations Voci, Gaijin, and Parts of Speech.
Voci, her latest project, is a multimedia performance of multilayered segments, passing dynamically one into another. She researches not just the sound, but also the cultural, physical and artistic worlds of voice. Spoken and sung texts are captured in a research vice of scientific voice evaluation and its interpersonal perception. She researches the character, identity and anatomy of voice by electronic processing over video projections created by Jeanne Finley and John Muse.
Gaijin, an electro-acoustic vocal performance accompanied by video, is a three-year-old project using 'butoh' music as accompaniment and tackling 'being different' from several angles. This broad concept was inspired by Pamela's sojourn in Japan, and unveils a magical journey, provocatively defining the word 'foreigner'.
Parts of Speech is a 1995 project based on texts from advertisements, communication systems and slang, united in an integrity of non-linguistic sounds. By sampling, reading, singing and chanting, the author finds new meanings in these sounds.
Helena Bozic

Presentation / lecture:
Tuesday, Oct 5th, 4 pm - 6 pm, Cankarjev dom, Club CD
Pamela Z will provide insight into her complex sound practice.

Organisation: City of Women
In co-operation with: Cankarjev dom



Date and time of event: 
Oct 04th 19:30
Place of event: 
Cankarjev dom
Photo gallery: