Artists Anna Rubin

Anna Rubin

1946

  • Journalist

On the web

Complements

Various artists
SEAMUS / EAM 2006-2 / 2006
  • Not in catalogue
  • Not in catalogue
Various artists
SEAMUS / EAM 9301 / 1993
  • Not in catalogue

Articles written

  • Anna Rubin, Computer Music Journal, no. 25:1, March 1, 2001
    … extremely effective in maintaining a languorous, yet musically compelling, texture throughout.
  • Anna Rubin, SAN Diffusion, November 1, 2000
    … Tremblay has a feel for climactic intensity and gnarly sounds which get under your ears.

Review

Anna Rubin, Computer Music Journal, no. 25:1, March 1, 2001

[This text was also printed in SAN Diffusion (RU), 1 novembre 2000]

The recent Jacques Tremblay compact disc, Alibi, includes six pieces dating from 1990-1995. Mr. Tremblay is a young composer who explains in the program notes that he began as a guitarist and encountered electroacoustic music as a “revelation.” Further, he grounds his work in the use of concrete sound, both vocal and ambient, and favors a rich, dark sound palette. The “typical” sonic makeup of the first three pieces, in particular, are so varied and rich, yet oddly similar to each other, that listeners may prefer to listen to the CD in the following order: tracks 1, 4, 2, 6, 3, 5.

The first work, Hérésie ou les bas-reliefs du dogme (1990), is a relatively long 21-min piece, which includes extended recordings of an American fundamentalist Christian preacher along with snippets of Frank Sinatra and Muslim and Gregorian chant. The extended “rant” of the preacher is countered with French dialogue which I could not follow, but which another reviewer characterized as “papal posturing.” Most of the quoted speech is enmeshed in a rich stew of repetitive, mechanical sounds, and long stretches of bell-like overtones emphasizing upper partials over repetitions of tonic and dominant. Occasional stretches of Tibetan horns and Gregorian chant (sung by a woman, yet another heresy!) gradually distort and slither away. The religious spirit is perhaps viewed here through the lens of those dark, Spanish baroque paintings, all blood, fire, and damnation, although religion itself is viewed as the evil. The piece inscribes a long 18min arc, pauses, and then has a 3-min coda of similar material. I am not altogether convinced by this large-scale form, but certainly Mr. Tremblay has a feel for climactic intensity and gnarly sounds which get under your skin.

Oaristys (1991) is described as following “the stages of a hypothetical night of love,” and is divided into six movements: Call of Desire, Approach, Embraces and Sensuous Delight, Animal Urges, Scattering, and Inflection. This work is highly sensual, but ominous as well. But then, great passion is often companion to a sense of danger, of vulnerability before the beloved other, even as union occurs. Mr. Tremblay draws from both these sides of the erotic experience. Waves, bird-like calls, cello quotes from a Bach Sarabande, and the stylized vocalizations of a Japanese Noh actor all enmesh the listener in a sinuously rich texture. The second section loops and cycles erotic feminine laughter with percussive patterns reminiscent of bird calls. The composer characterizes this section as a remake of the Erotica movement of Symphonic pour un homme seul by Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry. Sounds progressively expand, speed up, reappear, distort, and disappear in a mercurial trajectory, and the succeeding four movements follow each other until ending with a slow, brooding finale.

The third work, L’intrus au chapeau de spleen (The Intruder with a Spleen Hat), is a mysterious sonic stew which incorporates favorite Tremblay strategies - multi-layered repetitive mechanical sounds, sinuously morphing gestures - but allowing a bit more silence to frame individual gestures. A mysterious, watery, and nocturnal world is evoked, conveying the sense of what boils and roils beneath otherwise ordinary surfaces.

Rictus nocturne (1992), again in six movements, evokes the jam session of jazz. I quote the composer: “Each movement follows its own story and develops a compositional problem: montage; play-sequence, of density; of silence; and of sketched, improvised and edited sequences from object instruments.” The jazz idiom, though, is absent in the composer’s own music, though it is intermittently quoted. Interestingly, this piece includes the most introspective and quiet music heard on the disc to this point. What Mr. Tremblay seems to love most of jazz is its quiet balladic side as well as the needle noise of old records which he riffs upon.

Jeu d’ondes quotes Maurice Ravel’s Jeu d’eau, and also includes quotes from historic recordings of reflections on the problems of creating an FM network for radio broadcast. Delightful confections of boat noises, much of it frothy and effervescent, make this a tasty morsel.

La robe nue (The Naked Dress) uses string sounds for a good deal of its material, as well as bells, train, and a horse. The composer evokes Marcel Proust’s Cambray, the first book of Remembrance of Things Past. Mr. Tremblay returns to a reflective mood, giving individual sounds room to gently resonate. This piece is extremely effective in maintaining a languorous, yet musically compelling, texture throughout.

… extremely effective in maintaining a languorous, yet musically compelling, texture throughout.

Review

Anna Rubin, SAN Diffusion, November 1, 2000

[This text was also printed in Computer Music Journal #25:1 (ÉU), 1 mars 2001]

The new Jacques Tremblay CD, Alibi, includes six pieces dating from 1990–95. Tremblay is a young composer who explains in the program notes that he began as a guitarist and encountered electroacoustic music as a revelation. Further, he grounds his work in the use concrete sound, both vocal and ambient and favors a rich and dark sound palette. The typical sonic makeup of the first three pieces, in particular, are so varied and rich, yet oddly similar to each other, that listeners may prefer to listen to the works in the following order: 1, 4, 2, 6, 3, 5.

The first work, Hérésie ou les bas–reliefs du dogme (1990), is a relatively long piece of twenty–one minutes which includes extended recordings of an American fundamentalist Christian preacher along with snippets of Frank Sinatra, and Muslim and Gregorian chant. The extended rant of the American is juxtaposed with French dialogue which I could not follow but which another reviewer characterized as papal posturing. Most of the quoted speech is enmeshed in a rich stew of repetitive, mechanical sounds, and long stretches of bell–like overtones emphasizing upper partials over repetitions of tonic and dominant. Occasional stretches of Tibetan horns and Gregorian chant (sung by a woman, yet another heresy!) gradually distort and slither away. The religious spirit is viewed here through the lens of perhaps those dark Spanish baroque paintings, all blood, fire and damnation, although religion itself is viewed as the evil. The piece inscribes a long arc of 18 minutes, pauses, and then has a 3 minutes coda of similar material. I am not altogether convinced of the larger form but certainly Tremblay has a feel for climactic intensity and gnarly sounds which get under your ears.

Oaristys (1991) is described as following the stages of a hypothetical night of love, (p 14, notes) and is divided into six movements entitled Call of Desire, Approach, Embraces and Sensuous Delight, Animal Urges, Scattering, and Inflection. It is highly sensual but ominous as well. But then great passion is often companion to the sense of danger, of vulnerability before the beloved other even as union occurs. Tremblay draws from both these sides of the erotic experience.

Waves, bird–like calls, cello quotes from a Bach Saraband, and the stylized vocalizations of a Japanese Noh actor all enmesh the listener is a sinuously rich texture. The second section grabs along with the erotic and informal laughter of a woman, albeit looped and cycled with percussive patterns reminiscent of bird calls. He characterizes this section as a remake of the Erotica movement of Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry’s Symphonie pour un homme seul. Sounds progressively expand, speed up, reappear, distort and disappear in a mercurial trajectory and the resulting four movements follow each other until ending in a slow, brooding finale.

The third work, L’intrus au chapeau de spleen (The Intruder with a Spleen Hat) is a mysterious stew which incorporates favorite Tremblay strategies multi–layer repetitive mechanical sounds, sinuously morphing gestures, but allows a bit more silence in the mix to frame individual gestures. A mysterious, watery and nocturnal world is evoked, the sense of what boils and roils beneath otherwise ordinary surfaces.

Rictus nocturne (1992), again in six movements, evokes the jam session of jazz. I quote the composer: Each movement follows its own story and develops a compositional problem: montage; play–sequence, of density; of silence; and of sketched, improvised and edited sequences from object instruments. (p 16, notes) But jazz idiom is absent in the composers own music though intermittently quoted. Interestingly, this piece includes the most introspective and quiet music heard on the CD up to this point. What Tremblay seems to love most of jazz is its quiet balladic side as well as the needle noise of old records which he riffs upon.

Jeu d’ondes quotes Ravel’s Jeu d’eau and includes quotes from historic recordings of reflections on the problems of creating an FM network for radio. Delightful confections of boat noises, much of it frothy and effervescent make this a tasty morsel.

The work, La robe nue, (The Naked Dress) uses string sounds for a good deal of its material as well as bells, train and horse; he evokes Proust’s Cambray, the first book of Remembrance of Things Past. Tremblay returns to a reflective mood, giving individual sounds room to gently resonate. This piece is extremely effective in maintaining a languorous, yet musically compelling texture throughout.

… Tremblay has a feel for climactic intensity and gnarly sounds which get under your ears.

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