Electroacoustic Music With a Flamboyant Spin

Robert Everett-Green, The Globe and Mail, March 5, 1990

Some of the strongest music coming out of Canada these days is electroacoustic, and much of that originates in Québec. This album features three “récits électriques” [“Electric Tales”] by Christian Calon, a young Montréaler with a taste for the theatrical. Calon’s music is flamboyant and bold, as free in its plunder of past music and ambient sound as in its vlrtuosity.

The best piece on the disc is La disparition (1988), in which scraps of Asian music, Beethoven’s Grosse Fugue, and environmental recordings dissolve into a volatile flux of sound. Calon’s progressions are nimble and often wry, as he puns on the characters and origins of his material. One movement glides down the arc of an over-flying airplane into a Doppler-induced cadence of bristling electrons. Another flicks the sound image rapidly from left to right, disorienting the ear while it teases with streaks of repeated pitches. Beethoven and the Asians appear already divided into bitesized fragments, to be digested before our ears. It is as though Calon were revealing to us the surging intestine of some new and vigorous musical organism.

Calon’s music is flamboyant and bold…