electrocd

Review

Bill Tilland, Option, no. 43, March 1, 1992

Musique concrète, the reorganization of natural sounds (including music) into personalized sound collages, has in the past ten years or so acquired a dubious reputation as the preferred medium of many fledgling basement tapers. But French-Canadian Daoust and some of his labelmates represent the elite of the contemporary musique concrète community. Their work utilizes the latest in studio technology, and is painstakingly crafted, highly intellectual, and aimed at evoking specific memories and emotional states. In seven of his eight pieces on this CD, Daoust performs a gentle deconstruction of Western classical music, mixing everyday city sounds (traffic, phone conversations, etc.) with melodic fragments played on piano, harpsichord or accordion, or with short, sampled excerpts from classical flute repertoire. In doing this, Daoust is playing with several related premises, one being traditional classical music’s increasing artificiality and distance from contemporary culture, and the culture’s corresponding trivialization of the music. Daoust’s work is not just cultural criticism, but also engrossing listening. Good musique concrète is highly associational, and the attentive listener gets involved in the process. Pieces function as ambiguous but intriguing stories, with certain recurring sounds serving as motifs, and everything rendered with an eerie, almost hallucinogenic clarity suggestive of a dream vision.