Roxanne Turcotte

… a prolific label for electroacoustic music as well as provocative experiments in conceptual sound. e/i magazine, USA

… un album très complet qui voyage à travers toute une gamme d’émotions. SOCAN, Paroles & Musique, Canada

More than eight years after Amore, Roxanne Turcotte is back with all the audacity she is known for.

  • Canada Council for the Arts • SODEC

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What is a “Libellune”?

A contraction of the French words “libellule” (dragonfly) and “lune” (moon), a symbol for dreaming and escaping to the moon…

A sonic overview of the realms of dream and make-believe through electroacoustic pieces filled with poetry, space, places, fantasy characters and intimate impressions.

To Fannie, my cherished daughter, and her fancy-filled rainbow libellunes.

Roxanne Turcotte

Musical Aesthetics

“A music of integration, pictures and stories” or new music made of styles combined regardless of borders. That is the most significant qualifier of my music, which remains ever-changing, following where my fancy takes me. Music that calls for the collective use of the various musical expressions in which electroacoustics, concept and rhythm are prime features. Inspiration comes from a number of different sources. One can trace back the influence of jazz, world fusion and minimalist music, in addition to insistent and often repetitive rhythms with sounds taken from electronic music, where all elements fall into place in a subtle, nuanced way. The music is the result of a duality between the intellectual side of technology and musical logic, and the emotional or poetic side of sound organization, spontaneous performance and deep-rooted beats. Instrumental improvisation becomes a sound material. Interactivity is retained through a number of choices and impressions… Whether it conveys a message or not, music always remains tied to moods and the tools used are meant to express and surpass feelings. This duality is always there and it influences my music. Humor, dream and magic are also among the key elements allowing to approach the inaccessible nature of electroacoustic music. These childlike elements bring a breath of life, eternal youth, a form of immortality and open-mindedness: a window to magic and the make-believe. The cinema approach plays a key role in music composition. It allows one to make different styles, effects and sound manipulations fit together while keeping the music at the reach of a large audience, thanks to the pictures and messages relayed by the synopsis. So my musical aesthetics relies on the use of a script, a real or virtual picture integrating multimedia dimensions or a story used as a guide for the work in progress. The production of a piece for the big screen where the respective roles of sound and picture have been swapped. Impressionism, the literature of fantasy, Magritte, Maupassant, Umberto Eco, Hitchcock, the realm of dream and perfect illusion of Walt Disney, tales and legends from around the world are all part of my multi-faceted sound universe. Cybermusical travel and the instruments of modern technology allow me to touch and transform sound matter into a palpable sculpture or to magically make it travel through time.

Roxanne Turcotte [English translation: François Couture, vi-03]

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In the press

Territorial Imperatives: Canada’s boldest and brightest labels…

Tobias C van Veen, e/i magazine, no. 4, June 1, 2005

[…] The minimum one can say of empreintes DIGITALes is that it is a prolific label for electroacoustic music as well as provocative experiments in conceptual sound. A few recent releases graft the varied interests of academic and acousmatic music together via the intriguing work of, say, John Oswald. His Aparanthesi is the work of a single note that is gradually inflected along its pitch and combined with various tuned field recordings. [aparanthesi A] is an A note tuned to 440 Hz, which is the broadcast signal stations play when off-air. [aparanthesi B] is a compressed stereo image of the 8 channel performance created for 2000’s Rien à voir electroacoustic festival in Montréal. It is tuned to 480 Hz, the North American electrical standard, so it is in-tune with the hum of lighting and electrical grids. It is also a sonic impression of a complex and involved performance that uprooted the audience from the seats to the atrium and back again. We might call the album a conceptual play between electroacoustc and microsound, audience and chair, sitting and standing, tuning and silence, and for these reasons, the listening experience is very unlike the genre’s contemporaries. Roxanne Turcotte, for example, produces a melange of disjunctive sound, voice and phone recordings, environmental atmospheres and world beat rhythms on Libellune, which features work dating back to 1985. Its complexity at times is interesting, for as a survey of her œuvre it mirrors the development of Montréal electroacoustic in its infatuation with voice and, like R Murray Schafer, the natural world. That said, it remains well within the by now well-established parameters of academic composition. Paul Dolden’s work trammels from New Music composition to electroacoustic, employing repetiton and choral arrangements in a fashion not unlike that of Philip Glass, albeit with a drive toward melodrama and punch over satyagraha, throwing in all elements including the kitchen throughout L’ivresse de la vitesse 1 and 2. Like Turcotte, this work too spans from the ‘80s to the ‘90s, and so much of its feel is like listening to a beloved but aging record from that era, its metallic drums and neon wildness only appearing just a tad navel-gazing with age. Dolden is somewhat overwhelming; [L’ivresse de la vitesse] is a nightmare collage at its start that quickly gets into squeaky territory. For this, the remedy of Seuil de silences is welcome. Although from the same era, its breathing space offers more time for reflection, arrangement and thought, even if the disharmonius creeps back into the picture and becomes an ultimate ode to piano-bashing. […]

… a prolific label for electroacoustic music as well as provocative experiments in conceptual sound.


Gabriel Bélanger, SOCAN, Paroles & Musique, no. 10:4, December 1, 2003

Après des études en piano au Conservatoire et à l’Université de Montréal ainsi qu’une maîtrise en composition électroacoustique, Roxanne Turcotte se consacre à la création d’œuvres très personnelles dont on peut apprécier à nouveau ici la sensibilité et la profondeur. Récipiendaire de nombreux prix au fil des années dont le Prix Hugh-Le Caine de la SOCAN en 1989, la compositrice nous présente un album très complet qui voyage à travers toute une gamme d’émotions.

… un album très complet qui voyage à travers toute une gamme d’émotions.


Ingvar Loco Nordin, Sonoloco Record Reviews, November 4, 2003

Roxanne Turcotte (b. 1960), is a sound designer and a composer, born in Montréal, Canada. She has studied with Francis Dhomont and Marcelle Deschênes. Her studies also included the piano, but she has been focused mainly on composition and music technology.

She is quite active as an artist, and her most recent work Mères et monde was premiered in June 2003 at the Synthèse festival in Bourges, France.

Track 1 is the title track; Libellune (1999 - 2002) for ethnic wind instruments and tape - the long track of the CD; 26 minutes. Michel Dubeau plays the instruments raita, kera, suling flute, oja, shakuhachi, ocarina, Native American Flute, bansuri & duduk!

Turcotte says about this work:

What is libellune? A contraction of the French words “libellule” (dragon fly) and “lune” (moon), a symbol for dreaming and escaping to the moon… A sonic overview of the realms of dream and make-believe through electroacoustic pieces filled with poetry, space, places, fantasy characters and intimate impressions.

The small sounds in the beginning, a hardly audible trickling from a stream over pebbles, perhaps, and a swirling, panning atmosphere, set the sails for this piece, into uncharted realms of… nature?… beyond?… within?… You choose! I know I choose! Everybody chooses something different, I’m sure - but the general set-up of audio does conjure up certain reactions, and within my mind it is a shaman level och existence that is depicted here.

How does a thought arise; where is it born? How does a feeling absorb us; from whence does it rise, descend? I don’t know; maybe from tendencies from earlier lives. The sudden sonic gusts in this piece, at the start, make me think of these seemingly spontaneous occurrences of thoughts and feelings, turning us this way and that, at the mercy of… what? The sudden, brief breaths of sounds or rather atmospheres phasing in and out in Turcotte’s work have me think along these lines; feel along these lines!

Generally, to begin with, the soundscape is transparent and elastic, small incidents appearing and disappearing and returning, in a very spatial manner, moving about like spirits on the loose.

A little later the flapping wings of the dragonflies are used by Turcotte as another instrument, while short vocalisms, reminiscent of the eerie calls out of the TV screen in Poltergeist, reach at you.

More ensemble-like sections follow, when all the instruments that are played by Michel Dubeau are introduced, skillfully, into this atmosphere of dreams, which gradually grows denser, heavier, but still not heavier than the mist that floats over the pasture of early June morns in Sweden, deer still and attentive, ears directed at you.

A dark acoustic wave rolls through the music in a slow pulsation, as the instruments sound eastern, golden, silk-route-like.

A rhythm has established itself without me noticing how. It’s just there, a simple beat of percussion, dark and semi dark; a pulse of the shaman ceremony inside the music. Reversed sounds add delicacy and enchantedness, as a fast fluttering pans madly, and cowbell-like metallics spread rays of reflections off of thin spheres hovering. A hint at a female voice utters shreds of morphemes. The flute of a young boy god in golden locks lures the listener ever deeper into his listening, where he is subject to all kinds of acoustic mirages in a sonic hall of mirrors.

In a jiffy we’re suddenly - but seamlessly, kind of shrewdly - in a Laurie Anderson Superman type of thudding, stuttering oral event, where the rhythm gets more Latino too, smoothly jumbling along, flutes from the Andes flying up around you, as were you smack dab in the middle of a flock of sea gulls, all that white motion up and down, hither and thither, left and right, back and front - and Turcotte’s music inches over into a kind of Steve Reich type minimalism here, and later even a Charles Lloyd Love-In set from San Francisco 1966!

When that particular section dies down, a slower, observing kind of audio emerges, jungle-like, in the sequence and rhythm of Japanese Gagaku; that slowly swaggering, ceremonial progression. Long, resounding calls of gigantic Tibetan trumpets and Aboriginal didgeridoos (or what sounds similar), opens up a rain forest soundscape that could’ve been cut straight out of a Sittelle nature recording - but I’m sure it’s not!

Certain sounds are picked up out of this moist scenery and swung about by Turcotte in her electroacoustic trade, creating a peculiar dance macabre of jungle electronics!

It all glides over into a mixture of Trance Gong and Terry Riley (The Five Voices of the Two Prophets, for example), and it’s a pleasurable giant that moves behind the trees, in a Shangri-La of agelessness…

The title of track 2 is DMXnébula - a flight over a blue planet (2000 - 2002).

François Doyon (lighting designer):

A creative wave originating from the space-time, an inexhaustible energy source, light transforms, celestial it rises beyond the spheres, catching the imagination… Scorching heat, nocturnal sun, a fog of stars, it brings people closer together, dazzles children and pushes the horizon a little further back every day.

Right from the start I first get a feeling of the space ships in Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Sirius, but after the first few seconds I am transported into 1967 and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, when you hear the soaring crowd in the big hall right before it’s about to set off; “It was twenty years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play”…

The symphony orchestra is tuning, while the rotating rumble of Sirius ships emit an ominous murmur…

Dark drums shake the ground, bells ring in a foggy distance, the murmur of the ships keep up, and somewhere in there Mr. Stockhausen walks the floor of a captain’s bridge… Sounds of a crowd, just as the applauding bunch in Stockhausen’s Momente, further confuses the educated guesser…. That familiar/unfamiliar female Laurie Anderson bit reemerges left and right, in a breathless kind of breath, like falling, falling, falling away…. Layers on high, curving space inside the music, widen the perspective dramatically, white traces of jet fuel exhaust in the higher pitches, timbres layering, mixing and shifting positions, Saami yoik and jet streams encircling the planet, engulfing the oohs and aahs rising up our throats in a mouthful of halted exclamations… cheeks blown up like the cheeks of quacking frogs at the pond on Melody Lane in Dallas, Texas in 1979, or of some pre-war German old boy blowing his tuba down the streets of Munich, Bavaria… as the dark one that was the fate of Europe still roamed the hostels of Vienna, making a living by painting postcards…

Third comes Sons et tintamarre (tracks 3 - 7) (1994 - 1995, 2002); sound tales for Fannie and to all children of the world.

The different tracks (3 - 7) have these titles:

3. 8, 9, 10… des sons à dormir debout

4. Historie sans paroles

5. Jouets

6. Ballon rouge qui bouge…

7. L’æuf magique…


A suggestive flight over sounds… Tarapatapom lives in a land where strange sounds grow and fly all around her. She meets Tintamarre, a talking music box who introduces her to Coquet-the-parrot-who-memorizes-everything. Together, they go in search of the world of electroacoustic art. All the sounds they discover are memorized, synthesized, sampled, treated, organized and filed inside the magic box. After sound watching, sounds take off to create surprising ambiences […].

A kid at right talks right in your ear, counts… (and no reference to Stockhausen Piano Pieces here!) - and another kid at left speaks in French. The voices are permuted, veiled, shielded and mirrored, as the electroacoustic soundscape grows fiercer, denser and… almost overwhelming. The little girls’ - or perhaps the little girl’s - voices are cut up and shredded, swung around and panned, extensively.

The mood changes sharply as a bird call is heard, a snore… and then some extreme synthesizer sounds, or organ treatments - a barrel organ, in that case - and tilting sounds are swung like samurai swords in the air, crossing each other right in front of your face like at the annual Edinburgh Tattoo, where pipers from all over merge in Scotland to perform their marshal arts of old.

Shreds of girls’ voices are used as rhythmic properties, left, right, left, right, in an almost irritating persistence.

A comic effect is reached at track 6, where a funny little melody is heard briefly, until the irregular rhythms of balls or footballs being kicked bounce around the perimeter of one’s mind, until one grows weary…

The finishing section offers some real live children’s voices in intelligible speech, which, however, soon is shrouded, veiled and rolled up in an electroacoustic majesty of trembling timbres in thick, fat, oily textures… and it’s fascinating, captivating, stirring; a passage of really good electroacoustic art in a lot of imaginative creative fantasy.

Finally I see a circle of girls dancing behind the window of time, in an ageless dance of innocence, oblivious of evil deeds done in earlier lives.

Rêveries absolues (2002); a flight over time, sits at track 8.


Talking sounds, resounding meditations and sound remarks reveal the sensations instigated in us by hopes, dreams, fantasies, the exorcism of fears toward a new dimension, tomorrows and the convergence of people in their quest for absolute… Memories and nostalgia feed rebirth and the future via a core sound material: the page flipped, torn and turned over… The tick-tock of running time…

A tremble, at first just a distant whimper, opens the piece, and some close up small sounds, prickly, dry-leafy, until the tremble moves up in pitch as permuted shreds of voices are washed out like flakes of soot out of a bucket of contaminated water from Chernobyl.

I like the way Turcotte utilizes vocal speech, often mangled and cut-up way beyond any morpheme-carrying qualities. The small sounds act as a kind of precipitating percussion; dry rain all around, like worthless grains of leftovers and rejects falling onto a forest floor of dried-up leaves from yesteryear, or your own feet helplessly dried-out and flat from years and years of true death.

Y---OW (1985, 2002); a flight over the phone book, is the strange title of track 9.

Roxanne Turcotte:

This version of Y---OW has been put together from 22 tapes of the multimedia work by the same title (a sound and photography installation) realized with the photographer Marc Larochelle. The piece explores a number of themes revolving around a frame of mind, a feeling, a communication of the unforeseen evoked by opening the Yellow Pages phone book.

Descriptive elements come back to create a link on many occasions, the answer or echo between the various tapes (older and newer phone rings, answering machine, conversations, water, laughs, screams).

The Laurie Anderson short-breath voice shreds are back, but in what I would call an ensemble or chorus setting, swirling, dancing, painting, panting… It’s very suggestive, very beautiful; carries you away! Into this soaring, hovering ship of vocal remnants ringing telephones are introduced, and then hello-voices and rippling percussive garlands… A standing wave of timbres, kind of thin, fills the function of a curtain, or even curtains, stretching this way and that. You hear, in this hall of sonic mirrors, the freaky signals of modern day Nokias and Ericssons, as well as those grand telephones of our youths or our early black-and-white mono movies!

Sometimes these older telephone bells ring way inside large halls, or far inside someone’s huge apartment in New York, but no one answers, and maybe the recipient is dead, and I think of the tragic fire in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1998, when more than sixty youths died in a discotheque. I recall the firemen’s stories of mobile phones ringing in the pockets of dead youngsters…

Again Roxanne Turcotte works in a very imaginative way, unfolding her imagery across her pallet of sounds, evoking many feelings and visions in a listener’s mind.

The only thing that sometimes bothers me in Turcotte’s works is the rhythms that may raise a kind of discothèque atmosphere, which I’m not so fond of. There are to many dead-rhythm tunes on commercial shit radio all the time. We don’t need that crap in art music.

At track 10 we find Micro-trottoir (1997 - 2002); a flight over inner thoughts… What’s on your mind?


Micro-trottoir is a radio work about the fascinating world of confrontation. The piece is made of onomatopoeias and the voices of persons from various economic and ethnic horizons (sounds which are airy, soft, loud, aggressive, lively, rough, low, high). These micro-trottoirs done by Isabelle Tanguay collected divergent opinions on new topics, lifestyles, dreams and disillusions from a number of generations and characters.

Jingling hinges and interstellar space, winter’s night in the dark north… and ghostly voices crowd your perception with fractions of conversations, like the voices inside someone who badly needs a depot anti-schizophrenic tincture to rid him of too much too soon…

This can be scary for the sensitive, or the ones on the brink, but for most of us it’s enjoyable, with coffee and a good set of speakers and a pretty loud volume. I’d love to play this stuff loud at a party for the common man!

The last work is Poussière d’étoiles (2002); a flight over Perseids… Your eyes are stars!, spread out across tracks 11 - 13, which have the following sub-titles and brief descriptions:

11. Regard étoilé (Intuitive and spontaneous luminosity)

12. Regard intérieur (Luminosity for the return to one’s self)

13. Regard en voyage (Outer luminosity of a world near and far…)

Roxanne Turcotte on this piece:

A musical triptych focused on the look [observations] and visions from outer space. Three looks [observations] at [of] things, three sound impressions, three radiances, three reflections: a starry spark in the eyes!

Poussière d’étoiles takes its musical inspiration from the symbolism in Hitchcock’s works (the looks in the actors’ playing, the illusion, the objects, the surreal passages and his intrusions into the supernatural) with a wink at the fantastic visions in René Magritte’s modern art and at impressionism. It’s all in the look…

Bike bell percussion and dark ambiences, small-town comforts and deep space - and all small towns are in deep space, and, of course, we’re all space creatures, whether we wish to be or not. Everything is situated in outer space. There is nothing in this here universe but outer space. We’re just home blind, on our planet and in our bodies as well as in life; home blind. We have to get wiser-crazier, for anything to matter!

Is this what this music gets across? It’s what it makes me think and write anyway, and I had no idea I would write this just one minute ago… That’s how strong the force of sounds can influence and open mind.

Turcotte has this affinity for brief resoundings of oral cavities, those pre-morpheme expressions straight out of meaty bodies trembling with cardio-vascular activities and electric discharges through subcutaneous networks. This is a sound-poetic aspect on sounds, and I believe Roxanne Turcotte, sort of on the sly, is a natural sound poet without even trying; it seems to come so easy, so fluently - and that is one of the characteristics of all her pieces; their inherent fluency, even though the content may be grainy, disparate, pulling in all directions; it’s still embraced in an artistic fluency, stronger than in most electroacousticians.

… embraced in an artistic fluency, stronger than in most electroacousticians.


Tiina Kiik, The WholeNote, no. 8:10, November 1, 2003

Electroacoustic music fans will be thrilled to know that these two new releases featuring the work of Paul Dolden and Roxanne Turcotte are extremely high quality in praduction values, generous in duration, wide-ranging in styles, thought provoking in musicality, and well, just plain great!

As Dolden and Turcotte’s compositional styles are as different, to my ears anyway, as apples and oranges, comparisons cannot really be justified. As the liner notes describe, Dolden’s music is “the missing link between jazz and rock and the high-brow concert tradition” while Turcotte’s musical approach rests on a film-like art of integration.

Paul Dolden’s release contains three works from the composer’s output from the mid to late 1980s and two works from 1996. Most impressive is how Dolden can manipulate a wall of sound to create musical juxtapositions, especially in the opening track, Below the Walls of Jericho (1988-89). My pick, however, has to be The Vertigo of Ritualised Frenzy, Resonance #4 (1996). For tape, with Francois Houle on clarinet and Leslie Wyber on piano, this is a rocking, thumping, virtuosic display of streetsmarts, intellect and psyche. Timeless.

Most of the works featured on Roxanne Turcotte’s CD are more recent. A more introspective nature and thus compositional style is evident here. She also displays a quiet wit in Y---OW (1985, 2002). The telephone and its users play a starring role in this version of a work which the liner notes explain was put together from 22 tapes of the multimedia work of the same name. Turcotte is described also as a sound designer and nowhere is this more evident than in the title track Libellune (1999-2002). A glorious and reflective work for ethnic wind instruments (as performed by Michel Dubeau) and tape, aural imageries are created effortlessly by Turcotte’s exact sense of movement and timing.

But once again, the music is great. Both first-time and seasoned electroacoustic listeners are well advised to check out both discs.

Both first-time and seasoned electroacoustic listeners are well advised to check out both discs.


François Couture, AllMusic, October 21, 2003

The drawing gracing the cover of Roxanne Turcotte’s Libellune may convey the message that this album is not cut from the same block as empreintes DIGITALes’ other productions, but it is not that remote from electroacoustic music. Her previous album (going back a decade) had already shown her interest in music that is more soundtrack-like than abstract, more interested in sound quotes and storylines than sculpting masses of sound. Libellune innovates as it is addressed in part to children. The 26-minute title piece pictures a dragonfly’s journey around the world with the help of flutist Michel Dubeau and his arsenal of ethnic wind instruments. Gentle and graceful, it doesn’t trade in fascination for simplicity and because of that stands as Turcotte’s finest work to date. Sons et tintamarre, a suite of short vignettes featuring children voices is less convincing, although the voice manipulations will amuse. The conversation/miscommunication theme that dominated Amore is revisited in two pieces: Y---OW (as in yellow pages) and Micro-trottoir. The latter, an orchestrated collage of street interviews, hardly rises above the anecdote. Dreamier pieces like DMXnébula and Poussière d’étoiles hold more interest and remind us of Turcotte’s studies with Francis Dhomont. The tiny bells at the beginning of the first movement of Poussière d’étoiles lure us into a soundworld that recalls in part childhood wonder but also the more grown-up aspect of tape music. Libellune’s occasional naivete may not please every listener — and it’s not quite yet the album to introduce your children to the genre — but it takes a refreshing stance.

Gentle and graceful, it doesn’t trade in fascination for simplicity and because of that stands as Turcotte’s finest work to date.

Introduction(s) to the Delights of Electroacoustic Music

François Couture, electrocd.com, October 15, 2003

Electroacoustic music is an acquired taste. Like it or not, radio and television have conditioned us from an early age into accepting some musical (tonal and rhythmical) molds as being “normal.” Therefore, electroacoustics, along with other sound-based (in opposition to note-based) forms of musical expression like free improvisation, is perceived as being “abnormal.” That’s why a first exposure to this kind of music often turns into a memorable experience — for better or worse. Many factors come into play, but choosing an album that offers an adequate (i.e. friendly and gentle) introduction to the genre will greatly help in letting the initial esthetic shock turn into an experience of Beauty and mark the beginning of a new adventure in sound.

My goal with this sound path is simply to point out a few titles that I think have the potential to encourage instead of discourage, titles opening a door to a new musical dimension. Of course, this selection can only be subjective. But it might be helpful to new enthusiasts and to aficionados looking for gift ideas that would spread good music around. After all, Christmas is only a few weeks away!


We usually develop new interests from existing interests. What I mean is: we explore music genres that are new to us because a related interest brought us there. That’s why when it comes to electroacoustic music, mixed works (for tape and instrument) or works related to specific topics are often the best place to find a bridge that will gently lead the listener into the new territory. For example, people who enjoy reading travel literature will find in Kristoff K.Roll’s Corazón Road the sublimated narrative of a journey through Central America. Those still young enough to enjoy fairy tales (I’m one of them) will find in Francis Dhomont’s Forêt profonde an in-depth reflection on this literary genre as inspired by the works of psychoanalyst Bruno Bettelheim, in the form of a captivating work with multiple narratives (in many languages) and electroacoustic music of a great evocative strength. Lighter and more fanciful, Libellune by Roxanne Turcotte finds its source in childlike imagination and is in part aimed at children without over-simplifying its artistic process.

Guitar fans can turn to Parr(A)cousmatique, a wonderful project for which classical guitarist Arturo Parra co-wrote pieces with some of Quebec’s best electroacoustic composers: Stéphane Roy, Francis Dhomont (Quebecer at heart, at the very least), Robert Normandeau, and Gilles Gobeil. The latter has just released an album-long piece, Le contrat, written with and featuring avant-garde guitarist René Lussier. Lussier’s followers and people interested in Goethe’s play Faust (and its rich heritage) will find here an essential point of convergence, another bridge.

Essential listens

Those who want to explore further will probably want to venture into more abstract electroacoustic art. I recommend starting with the Quebec composers. Chauvinism? No way. It’s just that the music of composers like Dhomont, Normandeau, Gobeil, Yves Daoust, or Yves Beaupré seems to me to be more accessible than the music of British or French composers. It is more immediate, has a stronger impact (Gobeil, usually hitting hard), a more pleasant form of lyricism (Daoust, Beaupré), more welcoming architectures and themes (Dhomont, Normandeau). If you need places to start, try Normandeau’s Figures, Gobeil’s La mécanique des ruptures, Dhomont’s Cycle du son, and Beaupré’s Humeur de facteur.

That being said, there are hours upon hours of beauty and fascination to be found in the works of Michel Chion (his powerful Requiem), Bernard Parmegiani (La création du monde), Jonty Harrsison (Articles indéfinis), Denis Smalley (Sources/Scènes), and Natasha Barrett (Isostasie), but they may seem more difficult or thankless on first listen. And for those interested in where these music come from, the EMF label offers L’œuvre musicale, the complete works of Pierre Schaeffer, the father of musique concrète and grandfather of electroacoustics.

Tiny ideas

A compilation album has the advantage of offering a large selection of artists and esthetics in a small, affordable format. Available at a budget price, eXcitations proposes a strong sampler of the productions on the label empreintes DIGITALes. The albums Electro clips and Miniatures concrètes, along with the brand new volume of the DISContact! series, cull short pieces (often under three minutes) to trigger interrogations and discoveries in those with a short attention span.

And finally, for those of you who want to take their time and explore in short steps, the Cinéma pour l’oreille collection produced by the French label Métamkine contains many wonderful 3” CDs, 20 minutes in duration each, for a reduced price. The catalog includes titles by renown composers such as Michel Chion, Lionel Marchetti, Michèle Bokanowski, Bernhard Günter, and Éliane Radigue. These tiny albums are perfect for gift exchanges.

Of course, all of the above are only recommendations. The best sound path to discovery is the one you follow by yourself, little by little.

Best listens!