Saturday, August 22, 2009

Scream Song

The artist LeRoy Stevens has always thought that human screams were an intriguing sound, and I guess they kind of are. So, he spent six months (from October 2008-March 2009) going around Manhattan to every single record store, where he asked employees at each one to tell him their favorite scream from a piece of music ( I can't help what these employees thought about the question. Personally, I wouldn't be able to think of a favorite scream off the top of my head. It's not exactly like walking up to someone and asking what their favorite ice cream flavor is). He ended up with screams from heavy metal, punk and rock 'n roll, but also opera, the blues and rap. Stevens ordered them according to when he received the selections (so it was pretty random), and pressed the three-minute collection onto a 12-inch vinyl disk. The finished product is.. well.. interesting. At first I thought it was unpleasant, -I guess because I associate screams with pain or otherwise negative experiences- but by the end, the screams turned into sonic phenomena, rather than screams (like It's gonna' rain all over again!). It has 74 screams, some of which are supposed to be "easily identifiable", like the opening howl from The Who's "We Won't Get Fooled Again" or Iggy Pop's bellow from The Stooges' "TV Eye," (but seeing as I'm not familiar with any of these songs, I couldn't recognize a one). If you would like to listen, I think you can hear the collection of screams at Just search for LeRoy Stevens or "screams" and you're sure to find it.