Might it be as a ‘détournement’ of Artaud’s famous collection and masterpiece “Le theâtre et son double” that Gil J Wolman calls this recording “Wolman et son double”? Artaud’s conference at the Vieux Colombier theater on January 13, 1947 had a major impact on the future sound poets François Dufrêne, Jean-Louis Brau and Gil J Wolman. Wolman’s ‘mégapneumie’ appeared as early as 1950 and eventually developed into an improvisation for breath and organic sounds originating from the throat. The whole body seems to be mobilized to perturb the human appearance of any possible speech.
“Wolman et son double”, a previously unreleased recording probably from the end of the 70’s, is Wolman’s most theatrical, musical and lyrical piece, his most accomplished and extreme. This is due both to its duration and above all to its experimental recording techniques: Wolman records a series of improvisations on a 30 minute track, then mixes them with a new series of ‘mégapneumes’, mixing and manipulations with echo and Larsen!
The first track begins with a hum, immediately overlaid by Wolman’s ‘poésie physique’: hoarseness, cough, strangulation, twisting, wheeze, rumbling, hiccups, asphyxia, a whole set of grips against himself and his speech. Wolman breaths and winces, he mimes the impacts, the scars of the blows by an invisible fighter… actually his double.
Antonin Artaud observed that ‘actors in France no longer know how to do anything but talk’… “Wolman et son double” may well be the national strike of that show, of masterpiece art.