Dominique Bassal

Composer and sound engineer Dominique Bassal studied electroacoustic music at a time where that discipline was at the cutting edge of audio technology. He started working in commercial music production as an arranger, producer, and studio manager, where he applied avant-garde techniques to the world of pop music, narrow and conservative at the time. However, starting in the mid-’80s, positions shifted, the music industry taking the lead in assimilating technological progress. When Bassal came back to electroacoustic in 2001, he found himself able to share the knowledge and know-how of the industry with a discipline enfeebled by years of inadequate financing and academic isolation.

Since then, Bassal has gained recognition within the global electroacoustic community for his passionate commitment to increase the professional aspect of electroacoustic music production. He is the author of the unique and innovative document The Practice of Mastering in Electroacoustics (December 2002) and its online extension Mastering in Electroacoustics: State of Affairs (eContact 9.3, April 2007; English version: November 2007). Bassal has been empreintes DIGITALes’ mastering engineer since 2004; he has mastered a significant number of the label’s CD-Audio’s and DVD-Audio’s. He has also presented his research work in seminars all across Canada and the UK.

Winner of the 2002 edition of Jeu de temps / Times Play (JTTP), Bassal has been a jury for this competition since 2003. His works have been performed in various settings, such as the ÉuCuE concert series (Concordia University, Montréal), the 3rd Festival Musica Acusmatica (Cagliari, Sardinia), and more recently in Manchester, Keele, Birmingham, and Bangor.

Bassal’s music is the result of two separate artistic processes, one qualitative and the other proceeding from aesthetics.

The qualitative aspect of his work submits the generation and organization of sound materials to production standards inherited from his background in audio production and mastering. A part of these standards are production-oriented and aimed at achieving a general feeling of auditive comfort: rich spectral content, integrity of transients, balanced spatialization, and, most importantly, transparent layers without compromising on density. The other part of these standards are reception-oriented and revolve around the concept of narrative dynamism: visually evocative vocabulary freed from the conceptual diktat, conscious use of the spectacular and the fascinating, maintaining interest, balancing comfortable narrative episodes and elements of surprise…

The esthetic aspect of Bassal’s artistic process is based on polyphonic ambiences — arrangement of intense spaces that can be cold and relentless, tense and disquieting, or strange and luxuriant. And no compromise whatsoever content-wise: no message of serenity or resignation, no praise for any tangible or “spiritual” power, no toning down the description of a world where cynicism and cruelty seem rampant on a cosmic scale.

[English translation: François Couture, ix-12]

On the web

Dominique Bassal

Cairo (Egypt), 1955

Residence: Montréal (Québec)

  • Composer
  • Technicien du son (matriçage)