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Monday, May 25, 2020 In concert
  • May 1 – June 1, 2020: Cluster 2020: 11th edition / Digital Edition
    Presented by Cluster
  • May 25 – 27, 2020 (postponed): JIM 2020: 26th edition / Journées d’informatique musicale [Conference postponed to October 26-28, 2020]
    Presented by AFIM
    Strasbourg (Bas-Rhin, France)
  • May 26 – June 6, 2020 (postponed): Música Viva 2020: 26th edition / [Festival postponed to November 6-12, 20290]
    As part of Música Viva Presented by Miso Music Portugal
    Lisbon (Portugal)
  • May 28 – June 1, 2020 (postponed): Forum Wallis 2020: 14th edition / @ Schloss Leuk
    Presented by Forum Wallis
    Leuk (Switzerland)
  • June 3 – 6, 2020 (cancelled): Klang! électroacoustique 2020: 7th edition / @ Salle Molière
    Presented by Klang acousmonium — Maison des arts sonores
    Montpellier (Hérault, France)
  • June 4 – 7, 2020 (cancelled): Open Ears 2020: 13th edition / Festival of Music and Sound
    Presented by Open Ears
    Kitchener (Ontario, Canada)
  • June 5 – 7, 2020 (postponed): MA/IN 2020: 5th edition / Matera Intermedia Festival [Festival postponed to September and November 2020]
    Presented by MA/IN
    Matera (Italy)
  • June 14 – 21, 2020 (cancelled): NYCEMF 2020: 10th edition / New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival
    Presented by NYCEMF
    New York City (New York, USA)
  • June 17 – 20, 2020 (postponed): EMS20: Future Directions of Electroacoustic Music Studies: 16th edition / Electroacoustic Music Studies Network Conference @ De Montfort: Georgina Born… [Conference postponed to June 2021]
    Presented by EMS
    Leicester (England, UK)
  • July 5 – 11, 2020: ICMC 2020: 46th edition / International Computer Music Conference
    As part of ICMC Presented by ICMA
    Santiago (Chile)

Birthdays

Monday, May 25, 2020 General

Today May 25 is the birthday of:

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Review

Martin P, Musique Machine, May 11, 2020
Monday, May 11, 2020 Press

This is the first solo album from Chantal Dumas, released on empreintes DIGITALes, a Montréal label ’widely considered as the world leader in electroacoustics / acousmatics’ — though I’ll admit that it’s not a name known to me. Oscillations planétaires consists of nine electroacoustic pieces built around the interesting premise that the Earth contains ’undulatory motions of extremely varied temporal scales,’ contrasting, for example, imperceivable geological shifts with the daily movements of tides. This is an interesting, provocative idea but ultimately these things stand or fall, for me, on the quality of the sounds attached; Dumas does not disappoint.

In the spirit of the ‘temporal scales’ I mentioned, the first track, Tremblements de terre; Plaque antarctique; Subduction; Fosse océanique, begins with wind-like sounds and low end judders, before seismic reverberations erupt cavernously. Amidst the more ‘traditional’ electroacoustic sounds, it’s notable that a ambient-esque patch flickers in and out of the piece, before ending with cascading downward shimmers. The following track is somewhat of a reversal of the first, with long ascending drones; as Convection mantellique progresses it almost sounds like a processed recording of a warehouse, with circling vehicles, alarm sounds, and general hubbub, all laid on an eerie droning underbelly. Geysers begins with sea sounds, complete with something that sounds like seagulls, though all processed and spatially disrupted; this environment is then punctured by attacking percussive sounds, and what might be whale breath, indeed the track draws attention to the comparable cadences of breath and tide. From whales we turn to the insect chirruping of the fourth piece, which builds into a dense, expansive drone that is reminiscent of early Tangerine Dream and their ilk — complete with a suitable synth solo from Dumas. Whilst Marée crustale returns to the sea, with the sound of waves (also interrupted by electro thuds, as with Geysers) building into an almost orchestral lushness from more ambient pads; Magnétisme terrestre presents more recognisably electroacoustic fare, with a constantly shifting array of electronic sounds showing Dumas’ careful attention to detail — in particular some exquisite moments that sound like tape saturation, spilling and decaying. The next two pieces, Dorsale médio-atlantique and Ondes sismiques,’ jolt the listener. Although examination of the press release reveals that Oscillations planétaires was conceived with help from a small group of acoustic musicians, utilising baritone saxophone, flute, piano, and drums, it is with the opening of Dorsale médio-atlantique that we first hear any recognisable contributions from them — even though the saxophone and flute had been previously deployed. Thus the piece begins with an encroaching piano line, before being joined by cymbals and drones in an ecstatic, if at times tempestuous, crescendo, breaking down into more disjointed interactions that contrast tidal sounds with cymbal washes. Ondes sismiques brings the drums to the fore, with processed, dulled rhythms and kinetic snares, interspersed with what sounds like animal noises being stretched and prised apart.

The final track, Plaque antarctique de loin en loin acts as a short summarising coda to the album, again harking at ambient tones and atmospheres, and perhaps provides a neat sketch of the strength of Oscillations planétaires. This quality, in my eyes, is that the album successfully fuses electroacoustic approaches with a popular notion of ‘ambient music,’ to the extent of even using sounds that are recognisably akin to synth pads or patches. This is perhaps unusual in the ‘hard-boiled’ environment of academic electroacoustic, but it has the wonderful effect of making Oscillations planétaires feel incredibly accessible. Listeners who enjoy ambient music or 1970s synth works, but might run a mile from austere electroacoustic pieces, will find here a welcoming gateway that might encourage them to explore that austerity. This is not to suggest in any way that Dumas’ work is not rigorous or engaging; the temporal themes behind the release are engaged with, present sonically, and rooted with the use of field recordings; there is constant attention to detail, and repeated sounds and ideas give a true sense of coherency to the album. Oscillations planétaires offers a lot to the listener, on many different levels.

Oscillations planétaires offers a lot to the listener, on many different levels.

Review

Stuart Marshall, The Sound Projector, May 3, 2020
Monday, May 4, 2020 Press

It’s been a while since my ears were graced by the colourful sounds of the Empreintes Digitales label, home to an international bevy of electroacoustic composers with compositional awards and academic qualifications lined up like military medals. While I’ve always been happy to get to know new releases, there’s a uniformity of approach that can make it difficult to say new things about them. This uniformity is stamped into the standard card packaging of each release, each of identical layout, heady, intertextual liner notes, and non-chronological sequencing of pieces. Naturally, this portrait collection, Yegl by Argentinian composer Elsa Justel, follows this formula.

Yet despite these hallmarks of artistic conformity the collection is as expressive of an individual identity, predilections and working methods as anything from the GRM studios, and it beckons the curious listener to probe within. Quite literally: remove the inner sleeve and peer into the wraparound card and you can see a picture of the composer, captured during what looks like a moment of erudition, opposite what may be her fingerprint. Talk about hidden qualities.

Dating back as far as 2001, the pieces span a broad set of themes from geometrical hypothesis (Cercles et surfaces) to electroacoustic Tango (Purzelbäume). Ingenious and polymathic, but one obvious risk of such rabbit-hole pursuits is insularity and the listener must be prepared to accommodate a few peccadillos. L, for instance, consists of jumbled electronic treatments of short passages read in French. Bewilderment achieved, granted, but for the non-Francophone probably less compelling than, say, the visceral smash and spray of the geometrical opener or the chilling psychoacoustic swish and tear of Marelle ou Les instants de la vie. This giddy interaction between disorienting sound collage and the tapestry of deeper listening sketches out the extreme boundaries of the collection.

On closer inspection, woven through these disparate themes is a sustained enquiry into primordial origins: meditations on Pythagorean concepts of geometry (Cercles et surfaces) and acousmatics (Tapage nocturne), a poetic synthesis of utterances on ‘the origin of the concept of “element”‘ (L), and the psycho-dialectics of identity (Marelle ou Les instants de la vie). As per so many releases on this label, Yegl is a selective audio autobiography that renders the image of an individual’s lifelong curiosity in the expanded palette of electroacoustics, fixed medium and radiophonic composition. And it commands a similar curiosity from the listener.

Yegl is a selective audio autobiography that renders the image of an individual’s lifelong curiosity in the expanded palette of electroacoustics, fixed medium and radiophonic composition. And it commands a similar curiosity from the listener.

Recensione

Ettore Garzia, Percorsi Musicali, April 3, 2020
Friday, April 3, 2020 Press

Il cercare l’inaudibile dalla musica è la conseguenza di uno sforzo sperimentale, che si costruisce su prove continue di determinazione dei suoni, della loro manipolazione profonda come processo per arrivare ad una sorta di trascendentalità dell’ascolto, che vada oltre l’astrazione evidente; in tal senso, Stéphane Roy richiama le corrispondenze filosofiche di Lyotard, che poneva il riconoscimento non effimero di un prodotto musicale proprio dalle sensazioni inaudite che riusciva a provocare. Come si manifesta l’inaudito nei cinque brani presentati? Dal punto di vista del suono, Roy cerca di sondarlo oltremisura attraverso una ricerca di strutture astratte e complesse con creazioni che richiedono anche una dose di spazialità ed avventura, elementi che guardano in faccia (e non so con quanta causalità) persino ceppi umorali dell’elettronica degli anni settanta: in un vespaio di sonorità minuziosamente ricercate e di sensazioni da decifrare, l’insinuazione di suoni sintetizzati nelle trame manda nel circolo aurale dell’ascoltatore anche estensioni di esperienze sonore che si agganciano al Mike Oldfield strumentale, alle apprensioni delle polveri cosmiche nei viaggi Tangerine Dream o Steve Roach. Sono naturalmente rimandi forse involontari in mezzo ad un’intelaiatura sistemica, poiché c’è di fatto una ricerca sul suono notevolmente più ampia rispetto a quelle fonti, tipica degli scultori: in Maelström, si assiste ad una pioggia di suoni-situazioni, sventolate di suoni sintetizzati bardati con granulazioni, rumori interstiziali, possenti trafile del suono che rendono l’idea di vortici aggressivi, ma talvolta anche solo apprensivi; Train d’enfer è in 3 sezioni, un’idea di mescolamento nella prima, una tensione espressa in molti modi nella seconda (forme dronistiche irreversibili, quasi litanie, costruzioni astratte incatalogabili, con più livelli di percezioni e tanti dettagli), un’emersione apparente di “motivi”, ripetizioni che si arricchiscono di pathos, nella terza. L’introduzione di Les aurores pourpres potrebbe essere confusa con le fasi sonore iniziali di Blade Runner, mentre una tavolozza di bit si estende nella spazialità, anticipando ambienti inusuali come segnali di avvertimento, polveri che sembrano radioattive, venti forti e sabbiosi e tanta saturazione funzionale; questo pezzo si avvale di un lavoro speciale di formazione dei materiali, dovuto al fatto che Roy ha utilizzato un sensore di movimento ad infrarossi per controllare cinque parametri audio contemporaneamente, attraverso il gesto della mano. In Les territoires secrets, una raggiera sonora ripetuta compatta un terreno sonoro morfologicamente vicino alle produzioni ambient, lambendo forse anche il terreno della IDM: lo scopo è chiaro, un minimale ed impressivo set di rappresentazione che è un’altra forma di esprimere creatività; nella finale Voies crépusculaires si formano opposizioni, un vento ovattato contro pulsazioni, sempre sostenute, con filtri, analisi additiva, plasticità dei suoni; la parte centrale presenta un ventaglio di tagli ed incollature che reindirizzano costantemente l’orientamento musicale, che resta potente come un tam-tam subdolo e sotterraneo che vuole scuotere l’immaginazione.

Avvicinarsi senza dubbi a L’inaudible. Questa è grande musica, davvero!

This is great music, really!

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