Yann Novak
The Voice of Theseus
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1A Monument To Oblivion 2:50
2Reflex Point 1:16
3Traversing The Substrate 5:20
4Interlude- The Translator 1:25
5Super Coherent Light 8:44
6Patterned Behavior 4:41
7The Inevitability Of Failure 6:12
8Seeing Light Without Knowing Darkness 8:42
9We Went Out, Not With A Whimper, But A Whisper… 5:03

»In Greek mythology, the legend of Theseus describes how the king-founder of ancient Athens rescues the children of his city from King Minos’ minotaur on the island of Crete. In commemoration, Athenians began a pilgrimage to honor his victory, taking the ship of Theseus and sailing it from Athens to Delos. It was with this tradition that a philosophical paradox about the historic ship was raised: As the ship was repaired, piece by piece, until it was no longer composed of any original parts, at what point could the ship no longer be considered the same entity?

In recent years, I’ve become interested in exploring the perceptual differences I experience. While some of these differences—partial color blindness and dyslexia—have been with me my entire life, tinnitus caused by hearing damage is a relatively new change to how I experience the world. It is these sensory challenges which have shaped my artistic practice by creating what I call a perceptual insecurity—an uncertainty of how accurately I discern the world around me.

The Voice of Theseus is my attempt to explore the obstacles I face in processing external sensory information. If I have trouble perceiving reds and greens, if I have trouble hearing certain frequencies, if I don’t interpret written language in a standard way, how closely can I experience reality in the way that others experience it? The album asks the listener to question how their unique means of perception and interpretation might differ from that of others.

For The Voice of Theseus, I asked two of my favorite vocalists to assist with this experiment. Both Dorian Wood and G.Brenner recorded vocals for me to manipulate throughout the album. If their original audio is Theseus’s ship, the changes I make to their voices are like the Athenians replacing each of the original vessel’s pieces. And so, how far can these vocals be pushed while still remaining attached to the vocalists’ identities? Where lies the separation between the source materials and the objects they’re used to create?

The myth of Theseus’ ship allowed me to tease at the nuances of how reality can be observed, interpreted, and altered in an indeterminate number of ways; it can be dismantled and rebuilt, many times over. And yet, because of my internal circumstances, a perceptual insecurity remains. As flexible as the true nature of an object or moment may be, inaccuracy looms. There’s no real way to know how great the disparity is between my observational experiences and another’s, and no clear limit of how many pieces of our shared reality can be altered—before it stops being just that.«

  • Yann Novak