DIAMANDA GALAS (Metalanguage, 2369 Russell St., Berkeley, CA 94705, $7.50)

Tragedy: a man, a gal, as each to the other is Diamanda to herself. As the album title mirrors the artist's name, the music reflects multiple images of Diamanda. The jacket notes compare Galas' work to German expressionist Schrei opera: "Intensifications of different facets of herself," or a "host of characters which merge in performance."

A more technical description is also offered : "Source recordings made through extensive improvisation were manipulated by editing, looping, tape speed transposition, & further generations of signal processing to create the building blocks for the final multiple-track tape."

The Greek titles, "Tragouthia" and "Panoptikon," and the pervasive mood of lamentation brings to mind "The Medea" of Euripides. But Galas' performance is more than lamentation. It is a virtuosic spectacle of vocal acrobatics and electronic juggling propelled by dramatic intensity.

The unrelieved tension of a tightrope act from beginning to end threatens, with repeated hearings, to turn the drama into melodrama, or the tragedy into comedy -- a gala soap opera. Tragic or comic, this album is a powerful testament. -Ralph Blauvelt

Typed by Cheryl Vega 6-12-95