Review

Julia Loktev, Option, no. 34, September 1, 1990

The title, meaning “Unheard-of Places,” could be misleading. Normandeau, a professor of acoustics and electroacoustics at the Université de Montréal, may not be splicing his way through terra incognita, but he is mapping out some pretty interesting soundscapes and “acousmatic” compositions, as he deems them. These five pieces include both abstract sonic arrangements and more concrete, almost cinematic or radiomatic, compositions. The abstract works, as well as another piece based on computer-processed extracts from requiems, lean towards the monotonous at times. But the two concrete compositions easily make up for the tinge of tedium. Both Jeu and Rumeurs (Place de Ransbeck) project a compelling “cinema for the ear” never too cluttered, never too sparse. Rumeurs (Place de Ransbeck) wanders through haunted halls and doorways in a drama of spaces and objects. Jeu an exploration of the different uses of the French word for game or play, skips from a quiet torest to an amusement park, with sojourns near a bulldozer and a medieval choir along the way. It is uncanny how smoothly they come together in a finely manipulated soundscape. Both compositions are exquisitely spatially mixed and ideal for headphone listening.

… exquisitely spatially mixed and ideal for headphone listening.

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