Review

François Couture, AllMusic, September 1, 2001

Clair de terre (Earthlight), Robert Normandeau’s fourth CD, adds three works to his available catalog. All were created between 1999-2001, thus this album picks up where Figures (1999) left. Malina could be seen as an acousmatic study of the shakuhachi, a Japanese bamboo flute. One would expect a particularly ethereal piece, but Normandeau manages to find strange twists and turns to the soothing sound of the instrument. Erinyes continues to explore the deconstruction of speech into onomatopoeia. This time, the composer used the recording of a production of Sophocles’ Electra for sound material. The piece does not reach the same heights as the prize-winning Le renard et la rose, the previous installment in the series. The highlight of this disc is the 36 minute suite Clair de Terre. Through 13 short movements, Normandeau revisits some of his favorite sounds and techniques, devising an ersatz of his own work while framing the whole thing with a space-age theme. He clearly enjoyed the process — so does the listener, won over by the buoyancy and playfulness of the work. From freeze techniques to more basic sound collage and even an ephemeral reconstructed beat, Clair de Terre is fundamentally entertaining, a rare comment for electroacoustic music. The relation of some of the parts with the whole are not always as strong (or obvious) as they should, but one sympathetically looks over the details.

Clair de terre is fundamentally entertaining, a rare comment for electroacoustic music.

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