Up to Eleven
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Up to Eleven

A Fetus is Releasing an Album

Unfortunately, that is not a clickbait headline.

Some people like to say that “any idea can be a good idea”. Whilst it’s a nice sentiment, sometimes an idea materialises that really brings it into dispute. Maybe it’s a horrible film plot. Maybe it’s an idea to invade a police station whilst drunk and wearing a papier-maché shoe as a hat. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s the idea to record the audio of a developing human before it has even been born and release the results as an album.

The latter idea has somehow become a reality, as an American toddler named Luca Yupanqui is set to have an album released in her name. Her parents are accomplished musicians in their own right, with mother Elizabeth Hart being a member of the psych-rock band Psychic Ills and her father Iván Diaz Mathé having worked with the likes of Lee “Scratch” Perry, but this first album may surpass their successes immediately; it’s certainly more interesting as a concept.

The album itself was recorded in what have been called ‘Joint Meditation’ sessions, in which electrodes were fitted to Hart’s body above the womb. These electrodes picked up vibrations caused by movement of Yupanqui’s emerging body and, via the use of “Biosonic MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) Technology”, transferred into synthesiser sounds.

Production on the sounds was minimal, with only small amounts of editing done as the goal was to preserve the natural element of the sounds as much as possible. The parents in particular intervened as little as possible, in order to allow “Luca’s message to exist in its raw form”. According to record label Sacred Bones, this lack of intervention worked as Luca apparently recognises herself in the sounds. “Her awareness of what was happening was astounding. She would open her eyes wide and stare at her parents, seemingly recognising her own sounds from the womb, knowing that they were revisiting those rituals that made them come together as one.”

It’s all very interesting and, as a concept, rather intriguing. There is a question to be asked, however, of consent. The baby is totally unaware of what’s happening (regardless of what Sacred Bones says), and yet her name is on an album. Is this exploitative? This project, as experimental and innovative as it is, certainly poses some questions regarding ethics.

It’s an absolutely bizarre idea, but if you want an idea of how it sounds, there’s a YouTube link below. It’s pretty scary stuff, very ethereal, atmospheric and downright creepy at times. And yet, having now heard it, there’s definitely worse out there. Perhaps this ISN’T a crazy idea after all…?

The full album, titled Sounds of the Unborn, will be released on 02/04/21.

Originally published at https://www.uptoeleven.co.uk on February 3, 2021.



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