Poupées mathématiques Dominique Bassal

  • Canada Council for the Arts • SODEC

… la démarche est sincère, la musique, bien faite, et surtout qu’elle «donne à voir». EtherREAL, France

… es neuen Hörerlebnissen zuzuführen… Skug, Austria

Stereo

  • 96 kHz, 24 bits

Surround 5.1

Surround 7.1

Blu-ray: Surround 7.1 (DTS HD Master Audio 9624) + Surround 5.1 (DTS HD Master Audio 9624) + Stereo (DTS HD Master Audio 9624)

Stereo

  • 96 kHz, 24 bits

• MP3 • OGG • FLAC

Poupées mathématiques

Dominique Bassal

Notices

From Ubiquité to Poupées mathématiques

Ubiquité (2009) is almost purely an acousmatic album. Each piece was driven by dynamic relationships between sound events representing, in each case, a small closed set. The emphasis put on audio quality and the transparent quality of the mix could already be seen as an original effort, a hand outstretched toward listeners from outside our usual tiny community. All other aspects – the sound events and their relationships – were still in tune with the classical requirements of the genre. I guess it gained some respect as an album, but it was hardly ever listened to, since, when you bow to the diktats of a condemned genre, you are bound to fail to interest anyone: not the audience who has long had enough of hermetic platitudes, nor your colleagues who always have their ears set on someone more austere, rigorous and implacable than you…

Ubiquité was released as a hybrid DVD-A / DVD-V. At the time, it was the most advanced option, though neither format was actually well suited to electroacoustic music playback: DVD-A was a mystery to most listeners and there were extremely few native players around; in 5.1 mode, the near-universal DVD-V format suffered from compression levels that jeopardized audio quality.

This new album, Poupées mathématiques (2014), is presented as a music-only Blu-ray, in high-definition and high-resolution 7.1, 5.1 and stereo mixes (96 kHz / 24-bit, lossless DTS-HD Master Audio encoding); in terms of accessibility and playback quality, this format is currently unmatched for electroacoustic music.

Poupées mathématiques also marks the beginning of a true desire to experiment with ways out of the ‘acousmatic cul-de-sac.’ Sound quality alone will not make listeners forget about decades of opacity abuse. The time-tested recipe are well known: texts consisting of love prayers, middle-class melancholy, personal exaltation; prehistoric dance rhythms, and harmonic combinations that were almost all pioneered in the 16th century. These antiquated resources, from which “approved” music genres keep drawing limitlessly, are incompatible with the basic – and still valid – acousmatic statement, which is to refuse imposed reality and to build utopian, fascinating, and paradoxical ambiences.

Without these recipes, can we interest musically the contemporary human brain, perhaps the most heavily formatted brain of all time? Can we recycle these ancient pressure points, if only to openly reveal their bloated absurdity, their brainless sentimentalism, their cynical authoritarianism, their elemental moralism. Is it possible to reconcile audiences with the notion of avant-garde creativity freed from “rebel” sonic attitudes? The challenge of Poupées mathématiques can be summed up very briefly: to make the only artistic project worth undertaking clearer and more relevant, the project of lighting the way to the end of mindlessness.

Dominique Bassal [English translation: François Couture, iii-14]

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