Review

Davis Ford, Etch, no. 5:2, April 1, 1999

Ned Bouhalassa has constructed a truly breathtaking journey through the world of natural sound manipulation. Consider the piece Move 1, which begins with the maddening buzz of insects. I made the mistake of stepping on a hornet’s nest once while treading through some wetlands. I thought planes were approaching. I was wrong. This is what I heard. I got stung plenty. The hornets quickly disperse, and the sound shifts into chickens clucking sporadically. This is interrupted by the sound of something dropping into the water, almost as if a frog is scurrying for cover, which has the gratifying effect of destroying the environment the music was sculpting for you. Chickens and water are not common entities… yet they seem to coexist here. Further along, wetland insect buzzing slides in and out, interrupted almost violently by flapping wings. Then, a door slams.

Again, Bouhalassa seems to create a semi–coherent environment, only to slap you in the face with something completely foreign. The piece parades on, and the sounds become less familiar and more manipulated. Many of the sounds Bouhalassa incorporates are immediately familiar, yet he shifts them into environments and textures they probably would never see. This is the real treat involved in listening to this release. He also attempts to integrate the world of musique concrète with some well–intentioned but hardly inspiring techno. This is really the only area worth bypassing on this wild sound journey. Highly recommended.

… a truly breathtaking journey through the world of natural sound manipulation…

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