Katalin Ladik – Water Angels LP



Alga Marghen. Edition of 300 copies.

alga marghen proudly presents “Water Angels” an LP with previously unreleased tracks by Katalin Ladik, following the monumental “Phonopoetics” from 2019.

“Water Angel”, the title track, is a side-long work from 1989. It began its life containing a plice of “O Fortuna” from Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” and was first staged in an artificial fog on a lake at the 1989 Spoleto Festival in Italy.The texts include fragments of her own lyrics mixed with parts from James Joyce and Lewis Carroll in a kind of sonic-textual collage of processed sounds superimposed to environmental field recordings. One can also hear the composer Erno Király, her first husband, playing his self-built instrument called “zitherphone”, a 58-stringed huge engine of sounds assembling five zithers in a single body, with pick-ups placed on some of the strings.

The first part of “Water Angel” was used as a starting point for “Three Orphans”, another composition juxtaposing electronically modified voice with recordings of folk songs, this time Hungarian. It’s a kind of “adaptation of a Hungarian folk ballad”, utilizing recordings done in Transylvania in 1940, registered with a wax cylinder phonograph and gathered by Radio Novi Sad. Thanks to the collaboration with Boris Kovač, the sound engineer for this project, the quality of Katalin Ladik’s screams, whispers, chants, laughter, giggles is now significantly improved, and in some ways the subtle nuances of her virtuoso interpretation find here their most powerful rendition.

Also presented on this record are three and never before issued works created by Katalin Ladik in collaboration with the composer Svetlana Marasch at the Electronic Studio of Radio Belgrade in 2019, “Electric Bird”, “White Bird” and “Ice Bird”. Combining extended vocal techniques, processing and modular synthesis, these tracks confirm the artist’s radical temperaments that helped to define her work during the 60s and 70s, while pushing it further into new territories thus revealing an artist with almost no peer in the experimental landscape today.

Ladik, born into the Hungarian minority of Yugoslavia in 1942, is an artist who resists categorization. She is an experimental writer, a sonic artist, a writer as interested in the sound of the words as its meaning. She is an actor as well as a performance artist, a visual artist whose graphic scores generates from her early contacts with the work of Stockhausen and Acezantez, also addressing the relations between sound and woman’s body. Katalin Ladik can be considered a phenomenon of music excesses and voice miracles, combining music, theatre and poetry. It was the music of a female body and its motions, transformation, action and expression: when she produced sounds with her body as a music instrument, playing folk or self-made instruments nude; when she voiced poetry or transformed voice into linguistically inarticulate sounds of phonic poetry; when her voice turned into a scream transforming poetry into acoustic event; or when she borrowed her transgressive voice to experimental musicians.


> Alga Marghen