Paul Lemos, Under the Volcano, September 1, 1999

Internationally renown composer, Robert Normandeau’s fine new disc, Figures presents yet another very different side of electro acoustic composition. Normandeau’s release covers a lot of musical ground. The first selection, Le renard et la rose employs tribal rhythms, strange, fluttering high tones and grinding, hellish drones. Amazingly, the entire piece was constructed from samples of the human voice. Figures de rhétorique, for piano and tape is a wonderfully spirited piece that harkens back to works from the ‘50s and ‘60s, but here the tape becomes a truly active instrument. Although the initial section of Venture, the third piece contained here, sounds like Sonic Youth running in reverse, the source material for this wildly echoing introduction (and for the rest of the piece) is none other than the music of the ‘50s Surf band, The Ventures!! Ellipse the last selection is a tape piece, but reminds me of what some of Penderecki’s early orchestral work might sound like if deconstructed by the likes of Normandeau. This is another intense sound experience, crafted by a master.

… another intense sound experience, crafted by a master.