"Visionaire 53 Sound" - Various Artists


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Background Information

“Visionaire” is a magazine that strives to push the boundaries of what a magazine has to be. Each issue pushes the boundaries on content, delivery and format. The 53rd issue was titled Sound, and arrived in a plastic dome with the name “Visionaire 53 Sound” and the “Mini” (Mini Cooper) logo. Inside the plastic container, you first see a miniature Mini, which is actually a record player, it will drive around the vinyl and actually play the songs. The Mini sits on top of five 12-inch vinyl records, which are picture vinyl on the front and back. Each side features a different artwork by a different designer.

Finally at the bottom, below the vinyl and the Mini is a foam insert, and held in the foam is a small booklet as well as the two 5-inch CDs. Each track featuring on the five vinyl also are featured on the CDs contained in the set. The U2 track is on both the vinyl and the CDs. The release is numbered, and 4000 copies were made.

The U2 recording is recognizable to U2 fans, as it was used in the Vertigo tour. The initial part of the song has Bono repeating “Everyone” while sounds of breathing and a light accompanying music can be heard. About 0:43 into the track, the breathing stops and a female voice can be heard giving a reading of The Declaration of Human Rights, which was done during the Vertigo tour. It is the same voice on this recording that was used in the tour. At the end after the Declaration, some breathing can be heard again. The entire track is less than 2 minutes in length. The song is the 11th track on the first CD, and is the final track on side two of the first vinyl.

Catherine Owens spoke about the recording of the track: “For the Vertigo tour I was thinking that possibly we could revisit the Declaration of Human Rights, reviving an important piece of text for the time we are living in. It would also allow us to make a political statement without pointing any fingers. For this we needed the right combination of voice, person and emotion – it happened to be a woman from Thailand called Beng Kamsaard. She has an air of everyone about her, a timeless face. We shot a short film and edited it in New York and then put it into after-effects for our screens. I wanted to find a way to find a third dimension on this tour something akin to the effect that Willie got with the Pigi audience projections on Elevation. The concept was to project her head onto fog so that she is not only seen to be speaking on the screen but also seen to be hovering in the building. This fog concept was influenced by an artist called Tony Oursler. When we finally brought all the bits to rehearsals – the head, the smoke, the text, the audio – the band looked at it and some changes were made until we got the piece running now. It’s quite haunting and a credit to U2 that they are fearless with their visuals in the show.” (Quote from U2Eastlink.com)

The whole set was sold at a hefty $250 price tag. At the time of this writing some copies are still available at the Visionaire website.

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