Review

Grant Chu Covell, La Folia, April 1, 2001

Absolutely brilliant and balanced anthologies and collections are put out by the CEC (Canadian Electroacoustic Community/Communauté électroacoustique canadienne). New are Cache 2000 and Présence II.

What makes these discs special is that a lot of diverse works are put into one package. Some of the more established anthologies have a maximum of five or seven composers and works (I’m thinking of the Wergo or CDCM series), but the CEC’s anthologies go for distinctive shorter works, accompanied with terse notes which leave little room for aggrandizing commentary. The CEC’s publications also have to be bilingual which promotes an effective use of space.

I have only one minor problem with the CEC and that is that the booklets fall out of the paper CD billfolds too easily. But I am grateful for the considerate and compact packaging. Fortunately all the details are up on their website.

I could go on extensively about each of the four sets here, but I will be brisk. These are all good anthologies, and any of them are worth snapping up.

Cache 2000 is a single disc of 14 varied works, just part of a larger CEC effort to support young and emerging sound artists of Canada (http://cec.concordia.ca/econtact/YESA/). The composers and their works are presented alphabetically.

From the beginning you will notice how these composers have a commanding use of the sound spectrum. Sounds and gestures appear all over the stereo spectrum, and the variety within each piece is diverse. And yes, these pieces don’t seem to dwell exclusively in either the pure computer or pure concrete domain. I really like this disc, so if I don’t mention every piece on it, it’s purely for reasons of space. The opening three pieces make and excellent set: Berezan’s Gathering, Borycki’s Le diable au teint orageux and Bouchard’s Tonicité. Gathering and Le diable au teint orageux describe intriguing spaces. Tonicité starts with the recognizable sound of a large truck maneuvering, and the whole piece seems to dissect this sound pulling out a deep drone and making the truck’s horn into a saxophone (or maybe I’m being tricked into hearing this). Gurevich’s Soft White begins a casual poem with saxophone plus multiphonics and assorted electronic processing which turns kind of R-rated all of a sudden. The longer works by Roy and Zavada are entrancing as they course though textures and places effortlessly, and the appearance of text in Zavada’s Relation Diplomatik is effective and surprising. Not all of these works are easily explainable: Ledroit’s Miasmata starts with a handful of sounds and creates a set of expectations that are thwarted by the remainder of the piece. This is a great disc, and we should look forward to more work by these artists and the continuance of this CEC series in the future.

Absolutely brilliant and balanced anthologies and collections are put out by the CEC…

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