Lucca Mattila, Prospective, January 1, 2000

Robert Normandeau is one of the leading composers of electroacoustic music in Canada. His aim in composing is to create a ‘cinema for the ear’ in which meaning as well as sound become elements which elaborate his works. Figures comprises of four works, each different in concepts and methods of sound sculpting, yet more or less entangied with the theme of the whole record, “figures”. Normandeau usually bases his works on human voice, acoustic instruments, tapes, field recordings and as in one of the most interesting pieces on the record, Venture where he exclusively uses fragments of the recordings of a 60’s progressive rock band called The Ventures which Normandeau states as one of his earliest influences. The compositions on Figures might strike you as abstract even absurd at first yet the more you give them some fair dedication, the more they expose of their meaning and charm. Especially in Venture, where the progressive sounds of yesteryear clash with the contemporary sounds of progress, the result becomes truly interesting. The album ends with a piece entitled Ellipse, which is a duet of an acoustic guitar and electroacoustics and totally disregarding its intended meaning, it somehow made me wonder about the actual meaning of music today. Anyway, Figures will not offer anything for those not interested in anything ‘arty farty’ (no offense), but perhaps even someone (like me) into a bit more experimental industrial sounds might find this interesting… Test your limits! 8/10