Review

Jeremy Keens, Ampersand Etcetera, no. 2002_8, June 20, 2002

Born in 1926, Dhomont is the oldest artist on the impressive empreintes DIGITALes catalog (most were born in the 50s and 60s). His experience and ease with the language of musique concrète/electroacoustic writing is demonstrated clearly on this understated but compelling collection of pieces from 1998, incorporating works from 1989 and 1996. As one of the founders of the field, he originally worked with magnetic wire (the original tape) and since 1963 has produced only works for tape. This combination of experience and medium creates a more measured music without some of the fragmented flourishes that computers can bring to the form.

This disk is something of an homage to Pierre Schaeffer, and incorporates sounds from his Étude aux objets, amongst other musicians and ‘celebrates sound and musique concrète.’ My musical education is lacking, and I can’t recognise all the references, but it is a pleasure none the less. In Objets retrouvés we have a warm, analogue introduction that slowly flows as mysterious noises emerge in volleys, hovering on the edge of recognition. AvatArsSon is in six parts, and dedicated to ‘the inventors of the treasure’ (some of whom are named) and traverses ‘some of the stages of the sound odyssey.’ Each part is distinct in structure and method: Paysages opens with a naturalistic sampled village then shifts into manipulation, Voix is not surprisingly a complex voiced based piece while Avatars is buzzy dits and electronica and À suivre… takes long tones and buzzing. A fascinating journey which those more knowledgeable can mine. There seem to be two modes in Novars - one is lyrical ringing tones with washes and a pulsating cloud, while the other is more percussive, swirling, more effected. The two forms alternate, flirting with recognisability and dancing away in this light duet. Finally Phonurgie is more dense with hollow sounds, whistles, bleeps, fluttering wings and a darker feel created from similar sounds to those which have come before. Distorted strings, voices a light swirl and fade. A classic(al) musique concrète album, very listenable and endlessly satisfying.

A classic(al) musique concrète album, very listenable and endlessly satisfying.

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