Entre espaces

Elainie Lillios

… you can’t do much better than this. There is a world of textural oddness to explore. Musique Machine, UK

It is a journey not to be missed. Computer Music Journal, USA

CD (IMED 11110)

  • Label: empreintes DIGITALes
  • IMED 11110
  • 2011
  • UCC 771028111053
  • Total duration: 72:58
  • OGpak
  • 125 mm × 125 mm × 10 mm
  • 50 g

On the web

Download (IMED 11110_NUM)

Some recommended items
In the press


Josh Landry, Musique Machine, August 23, 2013

Elainie Lillios is a new music / deep listening composer whose full length Entre espaces collects a number of her previously completed works ranging from 5 to 15 minutes length. The tracks could be described as close-mic texture studies that interweave electronic elements and digital manipulation with high fidelity recordings of nature and every day elements of civilization.

Aside from the occasional decisive thunderclap or slamming steel door, Lillios’ music is a blanket of white quietude huddled around a single wriggling / writhing element, a texture of remarkable crispness, sybillance and spacial precision, presented with origins obscured. As with many field recording artists, through the sparsitude of her compositions Lillios encourages us to pay attention to the microcosmic details. We are intended to read meanings into the rustling, scratching, and scraping, and indeed, with the infinitely complex timbres of nature, there is always more information to process upon repeated listening.

The album opens with Dreams in the Desert, one of the greatest tracks on the album with beautiful ambient transparency. It begins with a strengthening trickle of water, fed through some kind of divine vocoder that enriches the sound with translucent murmers of synthesizer chords. I could listen to this one sound for hours. The middle third of the 11 minute track is occupied by brittle crackling leaves, and sharp ‘whoosh’ sounds like tiny blow darts being shot. In the final third there is a welcome and cleansingly human wash of deep synth drone which rapidly draws us back into the industrialized world. In the warping and windblown sound of the synthesizer I see clouds rapidly passing in fast forward.

Arturo, another epic, changes tone considerably with the addition of male spoken vocals, presumably by “Arturo” on account of his accent. It’s an extended existential monologue containing such repeated phrases as “There is no such thing as a self-fulfilling prophecy.” The lyrics seem to be discussing the tarot and prophesies of death, an obscure subject with little emotional connotation for me. Arturo’s voice continues to dart between and behind cold quivering echo chamber effects for the 14 minute duration. There is some deliciously chaotic abrasive manipulation in the middle of the track, but this track still feels very long, and without the overt beauty of the previous one.

Hastening Toward the Half Moon is full of whispers and rapid, ragged breathing, and when a darkly glimmering string tone enters, pitched drastically down into a primordial undercurrent, I’m reminded of the weathered, isolationist mysticism of Lustmord and Lull. The breathing later fragments into a swarm of abrasive slices, and shadows of remote howls cascade through the soupy fog across the hilltops.

With the 3 concise parts of Backroads, the album becomes more easily listenable and engaging again. Torrential rain sounds recurr in each movement, as well as the screeching and skidding of cars lucky to have nearly missed a wreck. Undoubtedly, this is the most curious 10 minutes of the album, from the strangely ominous sounds of children playing in Tree Tunnel (as if a group of children had discovered something dangerous), to the sudden and welcome break into beat-driven electronica in the second half of Elevator.

The final Listening Beyond… is organic and wet in texture. There are drips and streams of pristine and pure mallet percussion, electronically arpeggiated in neon bright clarity. Lillios’ whispers cluster first into a nebula, then later are separated, chopped, and granulated. “If you listen deeply, can you hear infinity?,” she speaks. Simple words, but the point is felt in the quietude.

Many tracks are quite long (10+ minutes) and sparse, and the album is over 70 minutes, just near the maximum capacity for a CD. To listen and focus to the entire album is certainly challenging, and I’m sure if I saw these pieces live I would leave the auditorium with a similar feeling of uneasiness. However, I think this is absolutely intentional, as ‘new music’ is not made for simple entertainment or to conform to anyone’s expectations, but to attempt to express something that has thus far eluded all previous expression, as well as examine the human attention span and listening apparatus. It is a context that allows every gestural sound and its placement to be taken with utmost symbolic seriousness.

I highly recommend Entre espaces to anyone with patience, a quiet listening environment, and an ear for detail. As far as deep listening recordings go, you can’t do much better than this. There is a world of textural oddness to explore.

… you can’t do much better than this. There is a world of textural oddness to explore.


Barry Schrader, Computer Music Journal, no. 36:3, September 1, 2012

[…] electroacoustic music (as opposed to acoustic music) is now the dominant creative medium of music in much of the world. With this being the case, one would expect that contemporary masters of the medium would have appeared by now, the pioneering phase having been over for some time. Of course, this is the case, and there are several composers who fit nicely into this category. One of these is composer Elainie Lillios, and her mastery of the medium is aptly demonstrated in her excellent new CD, Entre espaces, released on the empreintes DIGITALes label. […]

After listening to Entre espaces, we know her as a composer and can come to a well-deserved appreciation of her work. […]

The audio quality of this CD is excellent. It has been mixed and mastered with a high regard for the original material, and retains a wonderfully wide dynamic range. It represents, I think, Lillios’s intentions in the best way possible that can be achieved with a stereo CD. Listening to Entre espaces takes the listener on an excursion not only through Lillilos’s recent work, but also through her imagination and technical prowess. It is a journey not to be missed. […]

It is a journey not to be missed.


RNE3: Atmósfera, July 15, 2012

Hace algunos programas os presentamos el nuevo trabajo de Elaine Lillios.

En aquella ocasión escuchamos uno de los temas de su Entre espaces inserto en un miniespacio que dedicamos a la palabra, a la voz como instrumento.

Pues bien, este trabajo que es una recopilación de sus obras compuestas entre 1998 y el 2007 nos ha gustado especialmente y hemos querido mostraros otro corte más, muy diferente a aquel que escuchamos en su día. Sí que, aquí tenéis el corte que abre el disco Entre espaces de Elaine Lillios.

Pues bien, este trabajo que es una recopilación de sus obras compuestas entre 1998 y el 2007 nos ha gustado especialmente…

Elainie Lillios… écoute

Essmaa, June 3, 2012

Regroupant sept œuvres réalisées entre 1998 et 2007, Entre espaces (premier disque pour Elainie Lillios chez empreintes DIGITALes) présente une musique électroacoustique de facture classique. Ciel d’étain, ombres dessinées, impression de couleurs sonores plaquées sur un mode narratif. Voix humaine, les voitures, les carillons ou l’eau, des branches qui craquent, des pas dans la neige ou des cailloux déplacés par l’eau courante. Au centre Elainie Lillios joue avec de longues partitions favorisant les techniques de traitement granulaires. Les sonorités ont la fragilité des insectes, jouent avec la pierre comme les mouettes avec le vent, grattent le bitume ou s’évaporent dans les chaleurs du désert, se brisent en particules comme des nuages de poussière.

Ciel d’étain, ombres dessinées, impression de couleurs sonores plaquées sur un mode narratif.


multipara, De:Bug, no. 163, June 1, 2012

Eine Sammlung von Elainie Lillios’ elektroakustischer Soloarbeit steht schon lange aus. Keine Ahnung, weshalb man auf eine Sammlung dieser neun kraftvollen Stücke auf CD im Durchschnitt zehn Jahre warten musste. Lillios hat einen eindeutigen Hang zum Mysteriösen, Unwäg- und Unsagbaren, vielleicht auch zum Okkulten, und die röhren- und glockenhaften Resonanzen, die granularen Dehnungen, taumelnd kratzenden Reihungen, mit denen sie ihre Geräuschaufnahmen von Wasser, Rascheln, Stimmen, Kraftfahrzeuggeräuschen, Münzenkullern, Tellerklappern und Stoffreißen in strahlende Vibration versetzt, gereicht immer wieder zum Schauder. Quellthemen – die Wüste, ein Tarotleser, das Reisen unter Umgehung von Highways (Lillios, ursprünglich aus Chicago, lehrt Komposition und Musiktechnik an der Bowling Green SU in Ohio) – treten hinter der Formung eines elektrisierenden Klang- und Raumerlebnisses zurück, und plötzlich durchschneidet tatsächlich mittendrin ein Elektrobeat die Dimensionen.


RNE3: Atmósfera, May 27, 2012

El sello de Québec empreintes DIGITALes ha publicado el trabajo de la norteamericana Elainie Lillios, Entre espaces. En este trabajo encontramos una recopilación de obras compuestas entre 1998 y el 2007. Es evidente la conexión de la obra de Lillios con elementos como la disposición del sonido o la naturaleza como fuente de sonidos en contraposición a otros de origen “artificial” como el sonido del tráfico urbano. La estructura sonora de este trabajo está cuidadosamente colocada de forma relajada y fluida de tal modo que el oyente queda inmediatamente sumergido en su escucha.

… de forma relajada y fluida de tal modo que el oyente queda inmediatamente sumergido en su escucha.


Frans De Waard, Vital, no. 829, May 1, 2012

Two releases from two composers I never heard of on the Empreintes Digitales label, home of the world of acousmatic composers.

Her [Elainie Lillios’s] biography reads like a list of official institutions and festivals, which is no doubt to impress the reader, but none of these mean much to me. The music however on this CD is quite interesting. Unlike others on this label not all here is about putting sounds through computer processing, which in this circle of composers often leads to similar results, but the power here lies in the use of field recordings (cars, voices, water) to come to the listener untreated but put together in a radiophonic manner. Sometimes the use of electronics is a bit too much of a cliche, me thinks, but the poetic Arturo and the filmic car sounds of three piece suite of Backroads are quite nice.

From the UK is Pete Stollery, BMus(Hons), MA, PGCE and PhD, a professor of electroacoustic music and composition. His music seems to be build from field recordings which sometimes shimmer through all the electronic processing that is going on. Like with the release by Lillios, things for me are most interesting when it moves away from all the well-known practice of acousmatic sound processing and focussing on primarily field recordings, such as in Field of Silence. In Resound he uses interviews with people and here its is where the music becomes great. It has a fine radiophonic character, with mumbling voices, street sounds and what seems an absence of electronic processing. It’s only with the third piece, Still Voices, that we hear more and more of these field recordings, as the first two sink away in sound processing. A combination of electronics and pure field recordings done well is the closing piece, scènes, rendez-vous, which has a fine soundtrack like capacity.

I wasn’t too happy a few years with the direction this label heading, but these two pick up matters where I like to see them best: a fine combination of pure sound and treatments.

… a fine combination of pure sound and treatments.


Greg Barbrick, Blinded by Sound, April 27, 2012

Elainie Lillios is a brilliant composer whose solo electroacoustic debut Entre espaces has just been released on the Empreintes DIGITALes label. For those who may be unfamiliar with the term “electroacoustic,” it refers to a wide variety of electronic music. The genre is somewhat broad, as it covers a wide range of sound experimentation. Some of the forms include musique concrete, computer music, tape music — basically electronic music of all sorts. It is no surprise that she is recording for Empreintes DIGITALes, who are one of the most innovative labels around.

The seven works that make up Entre espaces (“between spaces”) were realized between 1998-2007. Most musicians would probably agree that the biggest hindrances to their creativity are time and freedom. On these two fronts, Elainie has been afforded remarkable autonomy, and the results speak for themselves. With a total running time of 72:53, we certainly get our money’s worth with this disc. More importantly though is the fact that Elainie utilizes all of the tools at her command, and has created an all-encompassing sonic landscape.

The disc opens with Dreams in the Desert (10:45), an evocative title for a piece whose overriding theme is that of water. She introduces a number of intriguing changes to propel us along, all to great effect. One of the greatest aspects of purely instrumental music like this is the opportunity it affords the listener to hear whatever they want to in the tones. Dreams in the Desert is a perfect example. I initially listened to Entre espaces without looking at the song titles or brief explanatory pieces included in the package. For me, the music conjured up images of a journey upriver, with stops at various places along the way. I think it is a great credit to Elainie Lillios’ talent that her music works so well in conveying whatever the audience wishes it to.

The longest piece of the set is also the most dissonant. Stumbling Dance (14:45) begins with some very abstract sounds, which continue throughout. The track was composed in 1998-99, making it one of the earliest of the set. It is also one of the most demanding, and shows just how adventurous a writer Elainie has always been.

There is something to be said for every one of the seven compositions on Entre espaces, but the one I found myself most entranced with is Arturo (13:35). The mysterious nature of the composition is what first attracted me, and as Elainie’s notes explain, this impression was well-founded. “Arturo is a tarot card reader who requests his visitors to ‘please let me answer your questions before you ask them,’ “ she writes. Her musical impression of him is fascinating on a number of levels.

The disc closes with the appropriately titled Listening Beyond (8:20). The otherworldly nature of Elainie Lillios’ music is perfectly encapsulated here. In her own words, the composition “Explores the relationship between sound and silence and their intersection in space.” What is between the spaces? On Entre espaces Elainie Lillios attempts to show us some of the infinite possibilities, and one gets the feeling that she has barely scratched the surface.

This is a remarkable disc.

This is a remarkable disc

Listening Diary

François Couture, Monsieur Délire, March 13, 2012

With Entre espaces (“between spaces”), Empreintes DIGITALes adds a new composer to its roster. This one is a CD, not a DVD-A. Seven works realized between 1998 and 2007. Rather classical-sounding electroacoustic music — water sounds, footsteps in the snow, human activity — but elegantly assembled, and immersive enough to stand the test of deep listening. […]

… elegantly assembled, and immersive enough to stand the test of deep listening.

Reviews — Improv & Avant-Garde

Nick Storring, Exclaim!, October 25, 2011

Although the music of Elainie Lillios is firmly rooted in the new stream of musique concrète-derived aesthetics, her work offers much for fans of other forms of abstract electronica to sink their teeth into. Like the work of many of her peers also documented by Montréal’s scene-defining empreintes DIGITALes label, each piece here is dynamic and gestural, with real-world sounds transforming and dissolving through unpredictable electronic processing trajectories. Lillios favours granular processing techniques that shatter sounds into particles and then sprays them out like clouds of dust or casts them across the soundscape like handfuls of pebbles. While others have employed this technique extensively, Lillios does so especially adeptly, achieving a balance between preserving the source material while conjuring a wide palette of unanticipated sonic colours. Her work often settles into an intimate mode with the use vocal source sounds. Though attractive, this feature can also occasionally feel overly prescriptive and literal, like with the texts in Listening Beyond. Elsewhere, such as in Arturo, textual aspects are perfectly intertwined with the sound world of the piece, only adding to the intrigue. Said intimacy and balance, as well as her penchant for resonant, droning atmospherics and dramatic contrasts, make Entre espaces a worthwhile listen.

… processing techniques that shatter sounds into particles and then sprays them out like clouds of dust…