electrocd

Review

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

This is an extremely complicated, and disjointed volume of concrete sound manipulation. As a general listen, it can come across quite harsh, with it’s wide spectrum of noises, some of of them literally attacking you. Listening to Karlheinz Stockhausen often produces a similar tone, and Tremblay admits a Stockhausen influence. In a described context, this melting pot of sounds starts to make sense. Listening to the first track, Hérésie ou les bas-reliefs du dogme, you are assaulted with various religious audio snippets varying from southern American televangelist preachers, and other quotes issued in French. One gets the sense, whenever samples of preachers are used, that the artist isn’t necessarily promoting religion, but chastising it. This indeed turns out to be the case, as culled from the liner notes: “I found it unbelievable to see all the cruelties that man has committed in the name of God. I had found my subject.”

With Tremblay, it appears that subject is preeminent to the music. With each piece he has a strong message or concept in which to convey via recognized sounds. Sounds do transform, and shapeshift, but when they do, it appears that there is a purpose to that as well. Tremblay points out that when the Gregorian Chant dissolves into distortion, it symbolizes a transition from pure to impure. Alibi is like a difficult read, which must be pieced together and analyzed. This can be a fascinating adventure, or a tiresome chore, depending on who listens to it. Taken at face value, the pieces herein can be quite intrusive as a background, attesting to their demand for deeper exploration. This property alone seems to indicate that this collection should garner timeless recognition. Other themes Tremblay explores involve: eroticism, the unconscious, a tribute to jazz spontaneity, and Marcel Proust. Jeu d’ondes is a piece constructed entirely from sounds taken off a sailboat. In this “imaginary marina,” ships have come together to celebrate a new vessel: “the unsinkable FM network” which Tremblay expresses via various radio broadcasts throughout while the ships blow their horns. There are some fascinating and original ideas and concepts realized on this disc, although it requires a bit of explanation to guide you through Tremblay’s world.

… this collection should garner timeless recognition.