Review

Tom Schulte, Outsight, July 1, 1999

Chion began splicing together tape making musique concrète in France in the 1970s. The title track [Requiem] to this collection of pieces is a 37:16 dark, mysterious and at times demented version of the classic Funeral Mass. Funeral Mass is the basis for all classical requiems. While such classic requiems glorify in the suggestion of eternal life suggested by the religious interpretation of death, Chion’s work is probes the existential panic of those living under the threat of death. A dark, kaleidoscope collage of cruel whispers, snippets of choral works and eerie, segmented sacred string music promote a feeling of uneasiness and abandonment. Variations (10:02) finds Chion still working creatively with tape in the late 80s and 1990. An odd, transmogrified waltz is the underlying theme to this series of sonic portraits separated by silent periods. Nuit noire (Black Night) (22:14) precedes Variations chronologically and is dedicated to American science fiction writer Philip K Dick (Blade Runner, Radio Free Albemuth, Valis). This nightmare sequence is an aural re-enactment of a sleepless night of terror. Creaking, groaning and things that go bump in the night cavalcade through this unsettling work. (4/5)

… Chion’s work is probes the existential panic of those living under the threat of death.

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