Review

François Couture, AllMusic, September 1, 2001

The release of Ligne de vie: récits électriques marked two important events: the launch of the record label empreintes DIGITALes which would grow up to become a leader in electroacoustic music and establish Montréal as a Mecca in this field; but also the closing of an era for composer Christian Calon, who following this publication would leave Montréal to go back to Europe. This CD contains three long works created between 1985 and 1989. They illustrate the composer’s “first phase,” so to speak. Portrait d’un visiteur (“Portrait of a Visitor,” 17 minutes) takes the listener on an evanescent journey. Synthesized sounds paint an uncertain landscape with very poetic strokes. La disparition (“The Disappearance,” 21 minutes) follows a more determined structure of almost architectural proportions. Bits of classical and foreign folk music have been transformed and embedded in the sonic narrative that recalls Francis Dhomont’s storytelling talents. The latter’s influence is highly detectable in the 40-minute Minuit (“Midnight”), clearly the disc’s highlight. Three fragmented texts form the backbone of this hörspiel. There is no real story, but emotions and metaphors follow a progressing narrative, leading the listener through various stages of the night (the booklet provides an English translation of the French texts). This breathtaking piece points in the direction Calon will follow in the hörspiels from his Berlin period (1996 and on). Ligne de vie: récits électriques is highly recommendable to anyone interested in electroacoustics. Calon’s art is impregnated with a personal touch that makes it unique.

Calon’s art is impregnated with a personal touch that makes it unique.

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