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Wolfgang Kabsch, Musik an sich, January 15, 2021
Tuesday, February 23, 2021 Press

Pierre-Luc Lecours ist ein aus Montréal stammender Komponist, Klangkünstler, Musiker und Visual-Künstler. Nach vielen Arbeiten für Ausstellungen und andere Events veröffentlicht er nun mit Éclats sein erstes Album unter eigenen Namen.

Es ist recht schwer, die Klänge, die man hier zu Hören bekommt, zuzuordnen. Zum Einem arbeitet Pierre-Luc Lecours mit vielen Feldrecordings und Samples, aber auch mit Elektronik und klassischen Instrumenten. Auf den vier Teilen des Titelstücks, welches zwischen 2014 und 2020 entstanden ist, hört man sich durch Geräuschkaskaden, stille Momente, Drones, Contemporary-Sounds aus Elektronik und Instrumenten, getragene Streichermomente und atmosphärische Elektronik. Die Stimmungen schwanken von unheilschwanger, beängstigend, panisch, ruhig, fast melancholisch und verstörend.

Im Gegensatz zu vielen ähnlichen Produktionen gelingt es dem Künstler jedoch tatsächlich aus all diesen Elementen ein bündiges und durchhörbares Werk zu schaffen, auch wenn die Grenze der Belastbarkeit manchmal nur knapp verfehlt wird. Dies aber nicht, weil die Klänge so kakophonisch und fast schon schmerzend sind, sondern weil einen die Vielfalt und Kraft der Sounds zu überfordern droht. Dass am Ende eben dieses stimmige und hörbare Werk entstanden ist, liegt daran, das man niemals überambitioniert ist, sondern alles aufeinander abgestimmt ist.

Eine spannende Reise in experimentelle Gefilde der Musik und eines der besseren Alben des Genres.

An exciting journey into experimental realms of music and one of the better albums of the genre.

Review

Antonis N Frangos, To Periodiko, February 21, 2021
Monday, February 22, 2021 Press

Éclats: κύκλος εργασιών ένθα ακουστικά όργανα και ηχητική σύνθεση σχετίζονται πρωτότυπα. Αναφορά κάνουμε στην δουλειά του Καναδού μουσικού και πολυθεματικού καλλιτέχνη Pierre-Luc Lecours που μελετάει τις σχέσεις μεταξύ φόρμας, περιεχόμενου και format, με επιρροές από τα ρεύματα της οργανικής και της σύγχρονης ηλεκτροακουστικής πειραματικής μουσικής. Το ηχητικό μέρος κάθε κομματιού εμπνέεται από το χρώμα με το οποίο έχει ονομαστεί (κόκκινο, μαύρο, άσπρο και μωβ). Ακολουθώντας την σχολή των Αυτοματοποιητών (Automatist) ζωγράφων, ο Lecours προσθέτει στην αρχή όλους τους ήχους ανάκατα για να ανακαλύψει σιγά- σιγά τις μεταξύ τους συνάψεις. Το εσωτερικό του πιάνου προσφέρει πλείστες όσες πηγές ενέργειας με τα διάφορα μέρη να κατακλύζονται διαδοχικά από χαμηλές και υψηλές εντάσεις.

Following in the footsteps of the Automatist school of painters, Lecours adds all the sounds to the mix at the beginning to slowly discover the synapses between them.

Editor’s Corner

David Olds, The WholeNote, no. 26:5, February 7, 2021
Monday, February 22, 2021 Press

I suppose the best place to start is with old friends. During my tenure as host and producer of Transfigured Night (1984-1991) at CKLN-FM, I became interested in the field of electronic music, to the extent of becoming a founding member of the Canadian Electroacoustic Community (CEC). On a trip to Montréal in 1986, for a conference that led to the establishment of that national organization, I met and became friends with a number of movers and shakers in that rarified field, including Jean-François Denis, who went on to found the internationally renowned empreintes DIGITALes (electrocd.com). At time of writing, the Montréal-based label has 171 releases featuring the most distinguished practitioners of electroacoustics, acousmatics and musique concrète from around the world. While at CKLN, I commissioned radiophonic works from a dozen composers, one of the most successful of which was Figures de la nuit / Faces of the Night by Francis Dhomont. Since the late 1940s working with magnetic wire recorders in Paris – one of the first exponents of what Pierre Henry would later call musique concrète – Dhomont has been a pioneer of electroacoustic composition, and has worked exclusively in fixed media (ie magnetic tape and its digital progeny) since the 1970s. From 1978 until 2004, Dhomont split his time between France and Québec, where he taught for 16 years at the Université de Montréal. I am pleased to see, as witnessed by the recent CD Images nomades (IMED 20167), that at the age of 94 Dhomont is still active in his studio in Avignon, France. This release includes three recent works – a particular favourite is Perpetuum mobile (Pluies fantômes) – plus a cycle of [9] shorter tributes to friends and colleagues such as composers Bernard Parmegiani and Jonty Harrison he calls Ami-versaires – composed between 2002 and 2020. This and the dozen or so discs of Dhomont’s music available from empreintes DIGITALes confirm him not only as a pioneer in the field, but also as a master of his craft.

… as a master of his craft.

Review

Antonis N Frangos, To Periodiko, February 21, 2021
Monday, February 22, 2021 Press

Γεννημένος στο Παρίσι, ο συνθέτης ηλεκτροακουστικής Patrick Ascione σπούδασε αρχικά κλασική μουσική πριν θητεύσει στο περίφημο Groupe de musique expérimentale de Bourges, τέλη του 1970. Συνήθως, με τον όρο ηλεκτροακουστική μουσική θεωρούμε έργα όπου πέρα των κλασικών οργάνων χρησιμοποιούνται field recordings και ήχοι από συνθεζάιζερς. Η έμφαση δίνεται όχι στην μελωδία ή τον ρυθμό αλλά σε άλλα χαρακτηριστικά όπως στον χώρο (space), στην δομή ή στο φάσμα. Ούτως, το Figures de son δημιουργεί ένα είδος πολυφωνίας του χώρου (spatial polyphony) με την μείξη προετοιμασμένων ηχογραφήσεων μέσω διαρκούς αυτοσχεδιασμού, με απρόβλεπτη εξέλιξη.

Thus, Figures de son creates a kind of spatial polyphony by mixing prepared recordings through constant improvisation, with unpredictable evolution.

Review

Mike Eisenberg, Avant Music News, February 15, 2021
Wednesday, February 17, 2021 Press

Natasha Barrett paints with sound… but the color of her canvas is black.

After not hearing this wonderful release for several years, I recently went back and revisited much of her catalog (through headphones) and was amazed at the, lets call it 3-D’ness of this release, as well as the other empreintes DIGITALes release Bouteilles de Klein from 2010. The sense of multi-dimensionality in these recordings (and others not on this label) is at first curious, as in “wow, this is unusual” but then quickly graduates to utter fascination and childlike marvel at the sound tableau that is laid out in front, above, below and behind you.

I mean, this stuff is totally surreal! What’s interesting to me is, as much as Ms. Barrett seems to live and breathe technology, her sound sources are primarily natural and elemental. Reading some of the notes on her website/blog she’s not afraid to go out into the world to capture the environment as field recordings. Some of these excursions sound downright risky. The longest piece on this record, Viva la Selva! takes us on an 18-minute sonic trip through a Central American rain forest. Incorporeal / intangible sounds seem to approach the listener from all directions. Human sounds are sometimes substituted for animal sounds, and the distinction is often blurred. The rain forest at night sounds at once inviting, and at the same time menacing. The spatiality of it all is astounding.

Speaking of spatiality, this is a quality that turns up in most of her music. I opened this write-up by saying she paints on a black surface. I say this because the sensory perceptions that this listener gets while experiencing her music seems to come from some dark landscape and not from any particular direction in space. In the piece The Utility of Space, human voice and other indeterminate sounds appear to be materializing from a pitch-black velvet source, only to be momentarily illuminated to allow the brain to register that they are even there. My favorite piece on the album Red Snow has so many sonic easter eggs that delight the listener upon discovery it’s almost overkill. Between all the micro sounds that are spinning around the 3-dimensional sound stage and the more organic earthly sounds like footsteps in crunchy snow… the mind just struggles to keep up with it all.

The shorter pieces on this album are no less appealing. The opening 3 works form a trilogy entitled Three Fictions and each presents the listener to a different micro-climate or meteorological event. Upon these backdrops, the composer added a whispered female voice that imbues a phantasmagorical / mystical quality to the piece. The whispered voice takes shape out of nowhere with nothing concrete holding it in place… a whisp of nothingness that somehow forms itself upon the listener’s psyche, if only for a few seconds before disintegrating into something less than its molecular structure… forever.

This is music that does not reveal itself completely on the first, or for that matter the tenth listening. Instead, each visit back to these works is like listening to it fresh. New sounds that you swear you’ve never heard before appear out of nowhere. One can only relax and let it wash over you. If you are a fan of ambisonic or binaural recordings, recommending Natasha Barrett will be an easy sell. If you are a more seasoned Acousmatic listener but have never heard her, I would suggest running (not walking) to your favorite vendor and take the plunge. Careful headphone listening is strongly recommended. The composer makes ample use of deep, subsonic frequencies. Personally, from a guy who likes to listen to Acousmatic music at fairly high volumes, Barrett’s music doesn’t require this at all. In fact, as a word of caution, these deep (not bassy, but DEEP) sounds can really do a number on headphones or earbuds. Lower volume is in order here, and it in no way takes away from the enjoyment of the experience. Without headphones, a subwoofer will work wonders. Isostasie is a fantastic point of departure! I plan on doing a future write up of Bouteilles de Klein soon.

… I would suggest running (not walking) to your favorite vendor and take the plunge.