Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Luc Ferrari - Unheimlich Schön (Metamkine, 1993)

This 1971 piece from the late Luc Ferrari marks another contribution from an elder statesman in the Cinéma pour l’oreille collection. As with Radigue's Biogenesis, this is a piece that diverges from the path most often identified as the author's. He begins with a deep breathed refrain by Ilse Lau, "Unheimlich schön"--roughly translated as "terribly beautiful"--which repeats on, as a steady breath and an increasingly prominent room tone swamps the phrase. Fragmented echoes begin to crowd the short line, until one can hardly distinguish the voice from the echoes. The piece bears an uncanny resemblance to Robert Ashley's She Was a Visitor, so much so that it could act as Ferrari's response to that piece in mirrored form.

Unheimlich Schön

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Terry Fox - Insalata Mista cs (Edition S Press, 1982)

Sadly lacking a cover for this one, but this candid shot will surely suffice. My original plan was to share this last Thursday, as it marked one year since Mr. Fox's passing. Having missed that deadline, I see no better time than the present.

The material here gives a fine view of Fox on the run in the 1970's, as his interest in the sonic nature of spaces was just in bloom. It begins with a duet with Joseph Bueys for pipe and glass, the closing of an hour long performance where the pipe is rapped upon and aimed at windows, its echo then used to find dead spots in the panes. Once found, the pane is then broken, continuing until all panes are shattered.

Numerous samplings of Fox's long string works are featured, from springy pieces to the dense timbrel exercises most common to long string investigations. More surprising are the anomalies, like the excerpt from Fox's 1977 piece "Culvert", a warbled head scratcher if ever there was one. Another highlight is "Lunar Rambles", an audio snippet from a five part video series wherein Fox arrived unannounced at various locations in downtown NYC and conducted a brief performance on a bowed steel disc and a metal bowl.

Insalata Mista

While on the subject of film, the fine folks at Ubu recently posted the following early video work by Fox, Children's Tapes, a tight framed series of simple household experiments set on a table top.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

François Bayle - Jeîta / L'infini Du Bruit (Magison, 1999)

Always took this to be Bayle's back-to-nature work, but the line is blurry as to where natural sounds end and his transformations begin. His works often have a spaciousness to them, but here there is a genuine sense of space, of sound bouncing off walls. Part of this is due to much of the sound material--the tinkerings, gusts, droplets, and chirps--being recorded at the mouth of a cave, making the distinction between what's real and what's Bayle very confusing. The opening piece, Jeîta, was initially released in 1970 as part of the Prospective 21e Siècle series with the great silver covers. The two that follow, L'infini du bruit and Jeîta-Retour were both completed in 1999.

Jeîta / L'infini Du Bruit