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Album: Berio and Friends, Stories – Theatre of Voices / Paul Hillier (Harmonia Mundi)

Burps, sighs and coughs. Hisses, purrs and groans. Giggles, barks, polyglot whispers and the chaste-sexy shreds of madrigals and motets cast a spell in Theatre of Voices's performance of "A-ronne".

Luciano Berio's virtuosic 1974 quintet opens a disc that explores extended vocal techniques and narrative, and closes with Cathy Berberian's rapacious "Stripsody" (1966). John Cage's "Story" (1940), meanwhile, anticipates the Sugarhill Gang in its playful rhythms.