Because I don’t have any sort of music-related academic qualifications (unlike some of my Splendid peers), I was a little bit nervous about reviewing something by a founding member of the Canadian Electroacoustic Community. Luckily, my fears about what to do if I didn’t like Volt were mooted by the fact that it’s a wonderful, dynamic album, full of motion and energy and thought and collisions of harmony and dischord that are enjoyable even if you’re not writing a dissertation about them.
Concerto pour piano MIDI mechanizes the classical concerto format, and features a human soloist attempting to keep pace with an electronic ‘performer’ not limited by human constraints like physical speed, finger length, and so on. Le soleil et l’acier (Sun and Steel) combines Asian gamelan-type sounds with undulant keyboards, intermittent electronic percussion and an otherworldly soprano — even at its most random, it’s a thoroughly engrossing piece. OUT builds a futuristic keyboard tale over four parts, using a Ronald Reagan sample and a variety of sharp ‘orchestra-hits’ and percussive melodies. ELVIS (Électro-lux, vertige illimité synthétique), based on Timothy Leary’s eight mutation phases of life, is a faux-orchestral vision of dischordant, seething beauty, and as for the closing piece, Volt… you’ll have to hear it for yourself, on the Boombox. If the whole electroacoustic thing seems a little too pointy-headed to you, this is the disc that’ll show you how wrong you are.