I first heard the work of Patrick Ascione on a collection of stuff released on CD as an audio documentation of the Prix International de Noroit 1989. The piece was titled Lune noire and it is also the first of three compositions on this 1995 release of some of his work on the impeccable Canadian label empreintes DIGITALes. Lune noire is sonic topography, little is recognisable in this new audio terrain which is viewed multi-dimensionally from extremely unusual angles in strange attractor space. many of the studio techniques, and I suspect, some of the sounds used on Lune noire occurred earlier on Sur champ d’azur which was finished in 1986. It’s a study of the sky as canvas and the clouds that cross it. Huge slabs of sounds interspersed with microscopic investigation move us across this azure field as it slides past us. Truly enormous — this man has seen how big clouds can be.
Valeurs d’ombres (Values of the Shadow) ends this CD with its “exploration of a sombre region of dark sonorities of the electroacoustic palette and is also therefore a quest for the light” (of course!). Domains of the Shadow are flat space… the edges are sharp. Nothing offers protection or cover, everything shifts, jitters and moves. Electronic insects buzz and whirr, are silenced violently and then return mutated/evolved. Space tightens as we advance. Oozing ahead of us… A Glimpse of Light.
Ascione incorporates a broad spectrum of techniques in his work. He has signature trademarks and they are good because they work effectively as suggestive audio information. This, together with his knowledge of how fast audible space can change raises him a notch above his contemporaries.
As usual with the empreintes DIGITALes series, the full power of the sound quality is best appreciated under headphones unless you have extremely tolerant neighbours.