Monday, August 31, 2009

Pierre-André Arcand - Eres + 16 (Avatar / Ohm Editions, 1995)

Nine more steps through Arcand's Eres series, this time transporting his looping processes into a live setting. Beginning with the spiraling scrawl of his sounding book, he then launches into a diatribe in French that his Macchina Ricordi subsequently dices and scatteres until left with a brigade babbling "blah blah blah" in a cadence befitting of tree frogs. The adrenalizing leap onto the stage manages to elevate Arcand's sound processes, revealing a grit and immediacy not always felt in the first seven pieces. With the macchina in tow, he conjures a swirling storm of chuckles and a dizzying blitz of unidentifiable reeds. Arcand delves into throat works that would no doubt delight Henri Chopin, guttural to the point that one finds bubbles in the belly.

Eres + 16

Francois Bayle - Erosphère (INA-GRM, 1990)

Easy to get confused here, as this is not Bayle's 1982 Erosphère LP (which it so happens the fine folks at Mutant Sounds posted here), but instead the flagship voyage collecting Bayle's complete works onto cd. Rather than feature Erosphère in its entirety, it contains one fourth of the original album, the 1978 piece Toupie Dans Le Ciel along with another piece from 1978 titled Tremblement De Terre Très Doux.

Tremblement De Terre Très Doux captures one of Bayle's long standing fascinations, the soundings of metal objects, here largely a metal marble and chimes of some sort. These sounds travel in and out of the foreground, sometimes submerged in flittering manipulation and other times unadorned. Bayle juxtaposes real and artificial space in a seamless fashion, his sounds unfolding at a energetic but serene pace. Toupie Dans Le Ciel builds sparse melodies from a succession of swelling figures, and atop that steadily vibrating upper figures are laid. With only minor variation, these two elements float the five movements with a depth and pulse that stunningly anticipates Wolfgang Voigt's Gas at its most gentle stride.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Jonty Harrison - Articles Indéfinis (Empreintes DIGITALes, 1996)

These early glimpses into the sound works of UK-based composer Jonty Harrison showcase his longstanding playfulness with sound and form. Harrison is a champion of listening inside sounds, enabling him the rare ability to transform without dampening the integrity of his sources. The eleven suites of … et ainsi de suite… explore a vast sonic space at the center of which lies the chime and clatter of a pair of wine glasses. Similar explorations on the sounds of balloons and air itself factor into subsequent recorings here. That play on the recognizable sound figures into much of Harrison's work, as the unraveling of his processes reveals a strangeness in the real that one can carry over into day-to-day listening.

Articles Indéfinis

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Aki Onda - Don't Say Anything (EWE, 2002)

A slight break in form from Onda's Cassette Memories work, at times swapping out field recorded moments for real instruments. Onda sampled or taped trumpet by Steven Bernstein, tuba by Marcus Rojas, string work from David Fiuczynski and Eyvind Kang, and the percussion of Yoichi Okabe, Yasuhiro Yoshigaki, Jyoji Sawada, and Kumiko Takara, then reconstructed, laying out the pieces in a manner similar to his other work. Onda based the overall vibe of the work on his the perceived intimacy and obsession in the photographs of French poet Pierre Louÿs, with Onda hoping the capture the transporting qualities of the photos. Save for a lull in "Mellow" due largely to shockingly uninspired sound selection, the pieces unravel in a very inviting way and capture the attention. Kang's rich violin overtones on "Dance" and the percussive outburst the closes "Naked" would certainly make the highlights reel.

Don't Say Anything