Artists James Harley

James Harley

Vernon (British Columbia, Canada), 1959

Residence: Kitchener (Ontario, Canada)

  • Composer

On the web

Appearances

Various artists
CEC-PeP / PEP 001 / 1997

Complements

Ashgate Publications / ASH 9781409423317 / 2015
  • Not in catalogue
University of Alberta Press / UAP 9780888644749 / 2009
  • Not in catalogue
Various artists
CEC-PeP / CEC 92CD / 1992
  • Out of print

Articles written

  • James Harley, Computer Music Journal, no. 22:4, December 1, 1998
    A wide range of dynamics and techniques of granulation plays a major role in this tour-de-force of mixing.
  • James Harley, Computer Music Journal, no. 15:2, June 1, 1991
    … the first pan-Canadian concert tour of electroacoustic music.

Review

James Harley, Computer Music Journal, no. 22:4, December 1, 1998

The 40-year-old Stéphane Roy brings a background in literature to his work in electroacoustic music. This Montréal-based composer has received numerous awards for his music. The composer associates his style with the school of “acousmatic” composition of the GRM in Paris.

Kaleidos brings together four compositions composed over the period 1987-1994. Mr. Roy’s sonic palette is consistent throughout this collection. In sudden gestures, he scatters fleeting sprays ot oily resonant grains. These are often mixed on top of distant, amorphous textures. Stéphane Roy also relies on another strategy: wide variations in dynamic range. Violent outbursts of energy emerge dramatically from near-silence to make curious gestures, then quickly disappear.

Mimetismo (1992) is a virtuoso composition based on strumming in the style of Spanish flamenco guitar, spanning 10 min and 36 sec. The piece was realized in several stages, with initial work using the SYTER system at the GRM studios, and final editing at the studios of the Universite de Montréal. The piece hegins gradually, building frenetically to an extended summit (but not a climax) at 3:30. The intensity gradually lowers, and we are transported to a realm of distant atmospheres. I was impressed by the composer’s fluid treatment of macro form.

Paysages intérieurs (1988), realized at the Universite de Montréal studios, works with a limited palette of source sounds that are transformed in the manner of musique concrète: filtered, transposed, remixed, spliced. The first several minutes consist of variations in what sound like small bells. The opposition between distant, Iooming figures and nervous cross-panning grains creates a dramatic landscape. As the composer states: “In these landscapes, where the unspoken reigns, a thousand fears suddenly emerge under the pressure of an interior murmur. The mysteries of our spirit open up ancient fratricidal debates, nourished by our entire existence” (program notes). This is a mysterious yet intriguing work, continuous in texture with a beautiful low-layer weaving throughout.

Ondes / Arborescences (1987), created in Montréal a year before Paysages intérieurs, Iasts 9 min and 36 sec. It begins with a cascade ot high and low frequencies. The source of its watery timbres is untraceable. Pitch plays more of a role in the opening of this work, which adds layers of long sustained tones to create harmonic fields that eventually destadestabilize into noises. The (analog synthesizer?) pitches return, drifting down in amplitude and across the spatial panorama. The melodic material seems improvised and quasi-random, so although the piece is skillfuily mixed, I did not find this piece to be as strong as the others.

Crystal Music (1994), at 14 min and 46 sec, is the newest and longest work on this disc. The work unfolds in the same unstable style as Mimetismo Realized with the Common Lisp music language, the first minute opens in a dramatic “acousmatic” style. As the composer states: “Like glasswork, the material has been expanded, moulded, transmuted in the fiery furnaces of experimentation.” A wide range of dynamics and techniques of granulation plays a major role in this tour-de-force of mixing.

A wide range of dynamics and techniques of granulation plays a major role in this tour-de-force of mixing.

Electro Traces Canadian Tour

James Harley, Computer Music Journal, no. 15:2, June 1, 1991

Electro Traces took place from 22 February through 9 March, 1991, and was the first pan-Canadian concert tour of electroacoustic music. The tour was realized by the Montréal-based group DIFFUSION i MéDIA, who also produce the empreintes DIGITALes series of CDs, several of which have already been reviewed in the journal. The Electro Traces tour featured the work of several Canadian composers and performers, including works by Christian Calon, Robert Normandeau, Alain Thibault, Claude Schryer, Jean-François Denis, and Daniel Scheidt. Seven concerts were held in cities from Vancouver in the west to Quebec City in the east. A custom “sonic diffusion” system was designed for the tour for real-time spatialization of the performances using the “acousmatic” techniques pioneered by the GRM in Paris.

… the first pan-Canadian concert tour of electroacoustic music.

By continuing browsing our site, you agree to the use of cookies, which allow audience analytics.