MP, Vital, no. 160, February 3, 1999

Ned Bouhalassa’s work is far more angular; sounds are sourced from a much wider palette than Copeland’s and are combined in volatile, unpredictable compositions. This CD is also a release in the [compact-compact] ‘short duration’ series and is a reverse-order retrospective (1998-1990) of some of his work. He also had tracks included on the … of Drones series and is himself closely connected to San Francisco’s Sound Traffic Control, “a media arts assemblage that features a unique real-time matrixed spatial audio system through which musicians, engineers, conductors, DJ’s, and sound sculpture form an interwoven surround sound orchestra” (Phew! Their definition—wotta mouthful! I think it means something like: They’ve got a hifi and maybe a working mixer!).

Aérosol opens with his latest work titled Jets and is based on movement away from… Some sounds scurry off, darting and casting nervous, uneasy glances, others hurl themselves violently towards the edges of the audio field. Also included is the track Move 1, which appeared in another, shorter version on The Swarm of Drones 2CD compilation released in 1995 (Asphodel, again). This piece is ‘based on an idea of representing animal/human movement through sound, and explores the possibilities of generating rich evolving textures from single samples.’ Headphones recommended!

The track Constamment (autoportrait) dating from 1997 contains sound elements which represent various aspects of Ned’s past and present, and includes several nods and a wink in the direction of what has come to be known amongst the young and frivolous as ‘techno music’—y’know: racy drums which boom, boom for a while and then there’s a whoosh, maybe a girl yells something about shakin’ yer booty and then boom, boom one mo’ ’gain.

These CDs have been created by two inspired and highly innovative young composers of electroacoustic music. If you’ve not got anything released on this peerless Canadian label, then this is an excellent place to start. If you’re already familiar with their releases, then these two CDs with surely augment your collection. Absolutely brilliant.

Absolutely brilliant.