electrocd

Review

MP, Vital, no. 161, February 10, 1999

Yves Daoust released the CD Anecdotes on this same label several years ago, and now there’s this [(Musiques naïves)], in the nifty [OPAK] cardboard packaging which I have come to associate with excellent electroacoustic music. (Before I get to the aural content, full marks for the absolutely gorgeous photo-collage [by Luc Beauchemin] on the cover.)

The CD opens with Impromptu — the most recent piece on this collection — in which Yves dissected Chopin’s Fantasie-Impromptu in C sharp minor, Op. 66, by recording it note-by-note and treating it inside a computer. It starts with a nervous, tentative piano chord, which unexpectedly fluctuates drastically in pitch setting the tone for the rest of this excellent composition. It slowly builds into a seething deluge of notes, attack is forcibly seperated from release and the threatening distortion is cooled towards the end by by a slight shower. It made me think of the composition Return by our chum Morton Subotnick (thanks for the responses to last week’s review, all of you who did), which was executed on reasonably horrid Yamaha synthesizers by Yamaha sequencers and was “a distillation of the piano works of Scarlatti” (or something like that), according to Morton himself. Return, by the way, was composed as a celebration of the Halley’s Comet periodic flyby a couple of years ago.

Next on Musiques naïves is a piece titled Il était une fois… (conte sans paroles) which is a soundtrack to a dream, lingering ‘somewhere between the narrative and the musical’ with sounds that caress, floating like weightless feathers and others that leap out in joyful surprise. No danger here. This is followed by Mi bémol, a three minute piece composed for the first empreintes DIGITALes compilation Électro clips, which was also my introduction to this label — an absolutely brilliant CD, which was followed by a similar compilation in 1998, Miniatures concrètes — a celebration of 50 years since musique concrète’s ‘invention,’ which I own but have not fallen so rapidly under the spell of.

The fourth track Résonances was constructed from church bell sounds. Again the individual sounds are split into tinier and tinier fragments creating shimmering cascades of bells which gradually smear back into their original shape and pitch, now tight, then loose. Sustain is stretched — faint reflections and scattered points of sound bounce off drifting clouds of dust motes in ancient buildings. Water Music was inspired. like so many pieces, electroacoustic and otherwise, by the element water. (Check out Annette Vande Gorne’s release Tao [and Musiques naïves by Yves Daoust] on this same label for a superb piece around this theme.) Perhaps it’s because the rich palette of frequencies and moods inherent in water can evoke and inspire any emotion, feeling or memory. The final track Fantaisie was constructed from radio archives and was commissioned to commemorate the 50th anniversary of French production on the state radio network.

Once again, empreintes DIGITALes have produced a musical gem, no easy listening or background sounds here, but a demanding and rewarding journey through the topography of Yves Daoust’s imagination. Sublime!

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Oh Yes! I nearly forgot to mention Robert Normandeau’s definitive CD Lieux inouïs, which is perhaps my favourite CD on this label, can I have a copy please, sir.

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His other full-length CD on empreintes DIGITALes, Tangram, was made [originally] available as a double CD of the same track, the second CD was recorded from a multiple speaker performance master (if I remember correctly?) and was also a gem.

Once again, empreintes DIGITALes have produced a musical gem…