Picking up where the first volume left off, IMEB Opus 30, vol. 2 covers the next sixteen years of IMEB history. Important to note that this volume comes on the opposite end of that paradigm shift from tape and analog over to computers and digital. Make no mistake, the framework of computer music is being built in the decade prior, but here those mechanisms are in full force. The processes heard here are dizzyingly complex, produced for once in real time rather than over an arduous wait, and yet there remains distinct ties to the aesthetics of the Group's early years.
Disc 4: 1984-88Very difficult to pick a highlight from the first batch, with each piece setting out for far different aims than the next. Dieter Kaufmann's piece is perhaps the oddest, an ode to childhood constructed from recordings he and his 10 year old son Ulrich made during their travels, a far cry from the Ferrari travelogue. Takayuki Rai delivers a gripping piece as well, this one for computer processed bass clarinet and tape. The pieces by Yves Daoust and IMEB co-founder Françoise Barrière both carry a strong narrative arc, Daoust's residing in a world of fantasy, while Barrière draws on a clear sense of human hardship.
1 Lothar Voigtländer - Hommage à un poète (1984)
2 Dieter Kaufmann - Le ciel et la terre (1985)
3 Yves Daoust - Il était une fois… (conte sans paroles) (1986)
4 Françoise Barrière - L’or (1987)
5 Takayuki Rai - Sparkle (1988)
Disc 5: 1989-93Curiously, there is much to compare among the works in this second disc. The three middle pieces by Boesch, Berenguer, and Bennett are each meditations on a central object--stones, a voice (and in its words, Claude Shannon), and a South American rainstick. Each of the works draws on human action and transforms in a way that keeps the tactile or vocal elements intact, never allowing computer processes to obscure that physical presence. The bookending pieces by Normandeau and Artemiev are both free-associations. Normandeau's "Jeu" almost serves as a thesaurus entry on the notion of "play", recited off the top of his head.
1 Robert Normandeau - Jeu (1989)
2 Rainer Boesch - Pierres (1990)
3 José Manuel Berenguer - Ob-lectum (1991)
4 Gerald Bennett - Rainstick (1992)
5 Eduard Artemiev - I would like to return (1993)
Disc 6: 1994-99Most interesting to me about these final six works is how each shows a distinct slowing of pace from the previous selections and a focused attention on how one organizes sound. It's almost as if the excitement over how much can be done with computers has worn off, moving on to the challenge of how it can be done well. Kosk and Dodge aim in their works here to bring a personal order to their disparate materials. Individual instrumental elements are bound in a mesh of manipulation as Kröpfl (voice), Sani (clarinets), Vaggione (percussion), and Parmerud (flute) offer varying stances on how deeply one's building blocks should be concealed.
1 Patrick Kosk - Plastique sans titre (1994)
2 Charles Dodge - Fades, Dissolves, Fizzles (1995)
3 Francisco Kröpfl - Winds (1996)
4 Nicola Sani - Non tutte le isole hanno intorno il mare (1997)
5 Horacio Vaggione - Agon (1998)
6 Åke Parmerud - Les flûtes en feu (1999)