Review

Frans De Waard, Vital, no. 829, May 1, 2012

Two releases from two composers I never heard of on the Empreintes Digitales label, home of the world of acousmatic composers.

Her [Elainie Lillios’s] biography reads like a list of official institutions and festivals, which is no doubt to impress the reader, but none of these mean much to me. The music however on this CD is quite interesting. Unlike others on this label not all here is about putting sounds through computer processing, which in this circle of composers often leads to similar results, but the power here lies in the use of field recordings (cars, voices, water) to come to the listener untreated but put together in a radiophonic manner. Sometimes the use of electronics is a bit too much of a cliche, me thinks, but the poetic Arturo and the filmic car sounds of three piece suite of Backroads are quite nice.

From the UK is Pete Stollery, BMus(Hons), MA, PGCE and PhD, a professor of electroacoustic music and composition. His music seems to be build from field recordings which sometimes shimmer through all the electronic processing that is going on. Like with the release by Lillios, things for me are most interesting when it moves away from all the well-known practice of acousmatic sound processing and focussing on primarily field recordings, such as in Field of Silence. In Resound he uses interviews with people and here its is where the music becomes great. It has a fine radiophonic character, with mumbling voices, street sounds and what seems an absence of electronic processing. It’s only with the third piece, Still Voices, that we hear more and more of these field recordings, as the first two sink away in sound processing. A combination of electronics and pure field recordings done well is the closing piece, scènes, rendez-vous, which has a fine soundtrack like capacity.

I wasn’t too happy a few years with the direction this label heading, but these two pick up matters where I like to see them best: a fine combination of pure sound and treatments.

… a fine combination of pure sound and treatments.

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