293: The Voice

Unreleased (1991) / The Voice (1993)
The eyes may be the window to the soul, but the mouth can be a gateway to other realms. Whether it’s Pentecostal Christians speaking in tongues, Brahmin Hindus exhaling the cosmic Om or Pythagorean Mystics hearing musica universalis in sung harmonies, people have always sought the divine in the human voice. Mavis Staples’s gospel training may make her 1993 version of The Voice a spiritual experience for some folk. For me it does nothing. Yet Prince’s guide track recorded in 1991 and sung with little emotion or theatrics pulls me in like a tractor beam. He may be on cruise-control, singing about hearing the voice of God, but when it goes acapella he could be singing about his breakfast and still I’d hear a thousand Vedic mantras beat-matched to a Gregorian chant.