Scanner, a Consenting Voice, and the Notion of Collaboration (MP3)

Her voice is all vowels, the haze a matter of affect not effect — that is, not post-production effects, aside from a certain amount of what appears to be echoing, stretching her syllables without sacrificing their analog-ness, their flesh-and-bloodness.

Well, not all the haze. The voice belongs to Sally Doherty, the British singer, but for all the smoky allure she brings to “Afr.Gold,” as the track is titled at, there is, in the background, and slowly seeping into the foreground, no small amount of digital exotica. That Soundcloud account belongs to the musician Scanner, and the production is his work, nanotech castanets and sonar snare drums, a call-to-secular-prayer opening bell, and throughout enough counterpoint to produce sonic moire patterns.

Scanner reports it’s part of a “full length collaborative album,” with a likely release late in 2011: “As yet no release date or label confirmation.” The use of the word “collaborative” is especially enticing. It’s a word we don’t hear enough of. We know, just to use two prominent examples, Timbaland produced much of Madonna’s Hard Candy, and that Kanye West produced much of the rapper Common in general, but those resulting albums are billed as belonging to the vocalists, which is maybe a useful illusion in the marketplace, but isn’t an accurate representation of the effort that goes into a substantial segment of popular music. As for Scanner’s involvement, since he cemented his reputation early on in his career with work combining voices unwittingly snatched from the ether along with his own instrumental compositions, it’s especially interesting to hear a voice in this very different context.

Track originally posted at Apparently it results from music the two performed at the Electron Festival in Geneva back in 2009. More on Doherty at, and on Scanner (aka Robin Rimbaud) at Scanner announced the track about 10 hours ago at

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