May 17 2011 12:00 AM

Noise guru Sam Lopez turns his ears to the human voice

Sean Francis Conway

Anybody interested in the local experimental noise scene would be wise to keep an eye on Sam Lopez. A local promoter who performs in the one-man band Zsa Zsa Gabor, he's behind some of the city's harshest, freakiest and most out-there noise shows, including annual events like June Gloom and the San Diego Experimental Guitar Show. 

But at a show he's putting on at the Kava Lounge Gallery on Sunday, May 22, things will be a little different: Local musicians Meghann Welsh, Sean Francis Conway and XVOX will perform using nothing but their voices. They might use effects like loop processors or delay pedals, but there won't be any 100-stringed guitars or metal drums filled with fireworks. Nope, just the voice.

When I think of harsh noise experiments, the voice isn't the first tool that comes to mind. But over email, Lopez makes a pretty good case for the voice's possibilities. "The voice can produce some of the most unnerving sounds," he says. "A blood-curdling scream or a death rattle. How about a war cry? But it also produces the most soothing sounds ever. The whisper from a loved one or a reassuring tone that calms an upset baby. How dynamic!" 

If you dig the thought of experimental vocal experiments but want something perhaps a little tamer, you're in luck: German composer and voice artist Alex Nowitz will put on what promises to be a whimsical performance at The Loft @ UCSD on Saturday, May 21, as part of the final installment of the "Fresh Sound" series themed around voice and electronics. 


See all events on Monday, Nov 30