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Review

Giuseppe Pisano, Toneshift, October 17, 2018
Wednesday, October 17, 2018 Presse

David Berezan is a notorious and well acclaimed Canadian electroacoustic composer. Teaching at the University of Manchester, where he also founded Mantis: a loudspeakers orchestra designed to perform electroacoustic music, he boasts an exceptional background. Everything in his career, from his studies with legendary personalities such as Jonty Harrison up to the many residences in famous studios and institutions around the globe, becomes solid grounding which places his well rounded, and clear aesthetic statements in the form of beautiful compositions that display all the skills and craft behind the sculpting of each sound.

Cycle nautique is by all means no different from his other records. Released like the previous ones on Empreintes DIGITALes, a label that seriously needs no presentation being home for the most iconic electroacoustic composers in history (Denis Smalley, Francis Dhomont, Åke Parmerud, Michel Chion to name a few), this work is straight walking the path to become a modern classic.

The album is mostly a collection of compositions produced 2011 and 2017, bound together by the reference to the sea world. Boats, ships, docks and the unexplored underwater depths blend together to give us an all-inclusive overview of the different aspects of the marine sound, and the many diverse and well defined moments we go through while listening provide us with abstract perceptions that feel somehow dystopian but, holding strong bonds to the sound sources, do not result in a proper Utopia.

The use of high quality, crispy and fresh sound materials together with David’s undoubted skill in the use of granular synthesis, keep his work unsullied, untouched by popular culture, hip musical tricks or references to a particular music wave or scene. What we listen to is a true and pure sound art piece, perfect in his balance. A fashionable and timeless evergreen, like a tailor-made suit. But Cycle nautique is not only an exceptionally well-composed work, with an interesting distribution of spectral components, a good balance of nice and full sound washes, overwhelming ambiences and sparse constellations — it is also an impressive demonstration of good spatial distribution.

Throughout this work, David plays with different planes of proximity and rapidly shifts between them integrating both heavily processed sound materials and plain field recordings. Even listening over only a pair of stereo loudspeakers we can appreciate the very complex sound environment he creates and the way we feel completely immersed, and I can’t dare imagining how empowered these compositions would sound by being performed over more complex speaker systems for spatialization.

A special mention would go to my favourite piece of the batch, Offshore. A great example of processing acoustic instruments’ sounds, being in fact constructed entirely with bass clarinet recordings of Marij van Gorkom and turned into streams, winds and far vessels buffs, then into stones clattering and clinking together. And again with pointy bio-luminescent creatures inhabiting the bottom of the sea, while sonars and morse signals deploy communication among the humans exploring that darkness.

… an exceptionally well-composed work…

Critique

Roland Torres, SilenceAndSound, October 16, 2018
Tuesday, October 16, 2018 Presse

Musicien et plasticien originaire de Marseille, eRikm propose trois titres qui nous entrainent dans des espaces où la plasticité de l’espace, puise ses ressources dans le field recording et l’imaginaire, dans l’enfance et la géographie, la pensée et la sensibilité, l’urbanisme et la science-fiction.

Mistpouffers circule entre nos oreilles avec une fluidité qui nous fait presque oublié que nous sommes les auditeurs de cette œuvre, captivé que l’on est par ces enchainements de sons enregistrés et assemblés, qui prennent le temps de nous transporter sur des sillons bousculés par le vent et secoués par les feux d’artifices, réchauffés par les voix et oubliés dans l’immensité du monde.

eRikm alterne les ambiances tout en respectant une certaine ligne directrice, qui voit les objets prendre des allures poétiques, enfantant d’instants de suspension troublés par les mots et les bruissements d’existences multiples, aux formes mutantes. Voyageur.

Mistpouffers circule entre nos oreilles avec une fluidité qui nous fait presque oublié que nous sommes les auditeurs de cette œuvre…

Review

Kevin Press, Badd Press, October 15, 2018
Monday, October 15, 2018 Presse

Montréal-based composer Monique Jean’s take on electroacoustic music has been described as “engaging a present that happens now.” Credit François Couture with that sharply written phrase. Indeed, there is an abrasiveness to her work that feels urgent and forceful. Her new release Troubles features two vivid examples.

The first is T.A.G. The title is an acronym for trottoir, asphalte, goudron, which translate as sidewalk, asphalt, tar. The 2013 composition is a study of demonstrators and the dynamics of crowds.

Unlike Amethyst Seer’s excellent 2017 work Protest, this doesn’t feature an actual recording of a demo. Instead, Jean interprets the subject matter. In doing so, she delivers a more accessible piece of music.

All the tension and fluidity of motion you’d expect from a protest-themed work is there. But its relatively vague reference points encourage appreciation of the work on a more emotional level. This is a consequential, timely effort — one that resonates even more deeply four years after its composition.

The second half of the album features Jean’s 2009/2011 piece Out of Joint. In the album’s notes, she describes it as “an essay in sound hybridization on Shakespeare’s Macbeth and the various silver screen adaptations, stagings and rewrites it inspired through time.”

Again, her decision to avoid a literal interpretation serves to broaden the work’s appeal. Yes it is about Macbeth. But it also works as a piece about iterations or interpretations.

Big themes. But they’re all within Jean’s reach. Her work has an outsized quality that — with a bit of promotion — could have influence beyond the confines of electroacoustic fandom.

Her work has an outsized quality…

Akousma: Quinzième sommet de l’exploration électroacoustique

Alain Brunet, La Presse, October 15, 2018
Monday, October 15, 2018 Presse

Présenté dans des conditions acoustiques on ne peut plus optimales, le festival Akousma XV démarre aujourd’hui et se conclut samedi: six programmes des plus nourrissants pour les amateurs les plus pointus des approches électroniques et électroacoustiques.

Francis Dhomont

Ce soir, 20h, Au Gesù

Cet incontournable de l’électroacroustique cultive encore aujourd’hui un intérêt fervent pour une écriture dite «morphologique» et aussi pour ses observations créatrices des «ambiguïtés» entre le son et l’image. Entre le Québec et la France, Francis Dhomont a cumulé les honneurs sa vie durant: Grand Prix Mega-Hertz 2013-Allemagne; docteur honoris causa de l’Université de Montréal; prix SACEM 2007 de la meilleure création contemporaine électroacoustique; prix Lynch-Staunton du Conseil des arts du Canada; 1er prix (1981) et prix «Magisterium» (1988) au Concours international de musique électroacoustique de Bourges (France); prix Ars Electronica 1992 (Autriche). De 1978 a 2004, il a partagé ses activités entre la France et le Québec, où il a enseigné à l’Université de Montréal de 1980 à 1996. Le nonagénaire vit aujourd’hui à Avignon, compose toujours et étoffe sa réflexion théorique. En feriez-vous autant à 92 ans? Au programme de demain, plusieurs œuvres en création nord-américaine.

La lucarne des rêves

Demain, 20h, Au Conservatoire De Musique De Montréal

Voilà un film immersif conçu par la Française Cendrine Robelin, avec [la participation] de Martin Gracineau (son) et de Claude Mercier (montage). Voilà une œuvre cinématographique autour de la musique concrète, au sein de laquelle l’approche des compositeurs Bernard Parmegiani et Lionel Marchetti est respectueusement évoquée. «Je rêve d’un film avec le pouvoir de transformer notre perception des bruits du monde et de nous inviter à en faire de la musique. Ces bruits du monde nous entourent et nous façonnent sans que l’on y prête attention. C’est la rumeur de la ville, l’éveil des oiseaux, un moteur en action, des voix, des bruits de machines, des instruments», indique Cendrine Robelin, question de piquer notre curiosité et de nous convier à cette soirée où elle présente également Bain de gong, d’une durée de sept minutes.

Dôme + Sinus + Fiction

Mercredi, 20h, À la Satosphère de la SAT

Dans le contexte d’Akousma, la Satosphère de la Société des arts technologiques (SAT) accueille mercredi trois œuvres immersives sous la bannière Dome + Sinus + Fiction. Un «ensemble d’oscillateurs» réunit d’abord un florilège d’électroacousticiens québécois, suivi de Out of Joint, «essai d’hybridation sonore autour du Macbeth de Shakespeare», imaginé par la compositrice québécoise Monique Jean. Le programme se conclut par le travail du compositeur français Franck Vigroux, intégration singulière de musique contemporaine et de bruitisme, mais aussi de théâtre, de danse et de vidéo. Alternativement guitariste, platiniste, électroacousticien, producteur électro, improvisateur, compositeur, il a travaillé notamment avec des musiciens iconoclastes de réputation internationale tels Mika Vainio (Pan Sonic), Reinhold Friedl, Elliott Sharp, Joey Baron, Zeena Parkins, Ars Nova ensemble instrumental.

Complexe + Nature

Jeudi, 20h, À l’Usine C

Andrea Gozzi et Francesco Casciaro présentent Dot Plot, dialogue improvisé via le PrintStrument, sorte de synthétiseur polyphonique électromécanique conçu à partir d’une imprimante matricielle. De la compositrice d’origine mexicaine Nashim Gargari, on aura droit à Ensifera Ventum et Glaciar and Blue Whale, quête d’unité avec la science, les arts visuels et l’environnement. La compositrice canadienne Rose Bolton présentera ensuite The Blinding, évocation sonore du fonctionnement de la mémoire. S’ensuit Live Somewhere du Québécois Philippe Vandal, qui travaille ici sur nos problèmes de perception induits par la saturation d’informations. Le numéro suivant s’intitule Spiel; la performeuse Nien Tzu Weng exploitera le concept «pour bouche préparée» de Michael Montanaro et de Tatev Yesayan. Après quoi le compositeur québécois Georges Forget offrira Eurosignal, inspiré d’un ancien système de radiomessagerie (téléavertisseur, pager). La soirée se conclut par Les Hexacordes bien synthétisés, micro-pièces explorant les 35 hexacordes de la «pitch class set theory» d’Allen Forte.

Chaos + Émergent

Vendredi, 20h, À l’Usine C

La soirée Chaos + Émergent réunira d’abord les Italiens Francesco Canavese et Francesco Giomi, qui exécuteront The SDENG Project, exploration des relations entre le live electronic et l’improvisation. La pièce Thunderdrone, des Espagnols Diego de León et Manu Retamero, témoignera de leur expertise en conception de synthétiseurs et de l’influence qu’ils exercent sur le genre glitch-ambient ou même la techno. Par la suite, la Québécoise Myriam Bleau nous offrira un de ses systèmes audiovisuels dont elle a le secret… quelque part entre l’installation et la performance musicale intégrant l’électroacoustique, la techno, la pop ou le hip-hop. Myriam Bleau sera suivie de l’Allemand Markus Mehr, dont l’œuvre Liquid Empires résulte de subtils traitements d’enregistrements sous-marins… glou glou! Ce programme sera coiffé de Giant Claw, œuvre singulière de l’artiste audiovisuel américain Keith Rankin.

Viva l’Italia!

Samedi, 20h, À l’Usine C

À l’évidence, la présence italienne domine le 15e festival Akousma, le programme de clôture en fera l’éloquente démonstration. D’abord au menu sera diffusée la pièce Valence du Montréalais Ilyaa Ghafouri, un diplômé du Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, sous la tutelle de Louis Dufort, en l’occurrence le directeur artistique d’Akousma. Ensuite, les compositeurs italiens uniront leurs forces: Francesco Casciaro, Francesco Canavese, Francesco Giomi et Andrea Gozzi diffuseront un florilège d’œuvres les ayant marqués; o Down de Gabriele Marangoni pour quatre performeurs; Chants parallèles du brillantissime Luciano Berio; Microclima II de Marco Dibeltulu, imprégnée de musiques traditionnelles de Sardaigne; Scabro de Francesco Giomi, de facture «rugueuse, rustre, rude et impolie»; Otkaz, Simonluca Laitempergher, fondée sur le principe d’oktaz, point précis où un mouvement s’arrête et un autre s’amorce.

… dans des conditions acoustiques on ne peut plus optimales…

Review

Frans de Waard, Vital, no. 1153, October 15, 2018
Monday, October 15, 2018 Presse

Since more than twenty-five years Empreintes Digitales is probably the leading label when it comes to computer based electro-acoustic music, mostly composed and performed by conservatorium skilled composers. Oddly enough I don’t see a reference to those in the short biography that is printed on the cover of the album by Monique Jean. She was selected by several competitions (which I think is THE thing in this musical area) and played international concerts and festivals. She has here two pieces of which the first, T.A.G., which stands for ’trottoir, asphalte, goudron’ (sidewalk, asphalt and tar) is inspired by “crowds of demonstration” and she says that sounds are “mainly synthesized”, which I found hard to believe. I was more thinking about heavily processed field recordings, certainly in the opening section of the piece that sounded like car tyres screeching. I might be wrong of course. As the piece evolved it became more obvious that there are indeed synthesized sounds used and even some more orchestral ones towards the end. It’s a massive piece, crowded with many sounds, as crowded as the pavement of the inner city perhaps. This is quite a powerful piece of music. The other piece here is Out Of Joint, and it is a “sound hybridization on Shakespeare’s Macbeth and the various silver screen adaptations, stagings and rewrites it inspired through time” — whatever that means but “what I am trying to do instead is to develop a form that operates through grafts of time, interpretations, meanings and references”. Which I guess wasn’t helpful either. Here the piece is also computer based I would think as well as dense, slightly distorted from time to time, a massive narrative perhaps; again I could have been fooled it included field recordings as I distinctly heard some birds. Both pieces are quite good and seemed removed from the more usual glissandi approach that was common with releases on this label some years ago. Either the composers have moved on, or the label did. […]

This is quite a powerful piece of music.

Review

Frans de Waard, Vital, no. 1153, October 15, 2018
Monday, October 15, 2018 Presse

[…] Of course eRikm, as he loves to spell his name, is someone who is no stranger to these pages, ever since he first surfaced as a turntablist in the mid 90s. He works as an improviser, expanded to using vinyl, CD, mini discs and finds his own narrative, which is not unlike that of say Luc Ferrari. A particular highlight was his LP L’Art de la fuite (Vital Weekly 1000), even when that was an earlier work. The three pieces here deal with the past, his own past, in Switzerland, which he calls ’his other homeland’, but also using a traditional Icelandic text in the first piece Draugalimur, meaning ’phantom limb’. In that piece eRikm combines field recordings with text and with some instrumental sounds, while in Poudre he uses many recordings of new year’s fireworks in Berlin, with it’s many reflections of the buildings and perhaps also from history. In the third piece, L’aire de la Moure 2 there is also a text, by Paul Eluard and I must admit reading the description didn’t make things clearer for me. Here there are quite a few field recordings, mainly birds I believe, along with insects and wind, with what seems to me a minimum of processing here and there, but not a lot, or at least: not throughout the entirety of the piece. eRikm doesn’t follow Ferrari’s more linear approach to the use of field recordings but it seems to me it is all bit more of an anarchist approach; see where sounds fit and then use them accordingly, which I would think is the best approach. This too is not really the sort of things one expected from Empreintes Digitales, and for instance more at home on Gruenrekorder, but here too I thought the label does a smart move and venture into something new. In the past I may have been a bit (too) sceptical, but with these two the label is back on track. For eRikm I would say this is another highlight.

… I would say this is another highlight.

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