Discreetly you see him sitting in a high folding chair. He doesn’t grumble at his players, he’s already set the scene as he wants it. With encouragement and a little push to the find just the right place. Robert Normandeau directs his acousmatic music very cinematically. And yet he does not make soundtracks.
Normandeau explores fleeting essences, fragmentation and extraction. He investigates timbre at the microscopic level, but also the sonorities of streetcars versus the reverberation of a church. Normandeau even uses rain splatter compositionally. Taking a contemporary classical approach he comes out with dark ambient soundscapes that bump up against Cinema perdu. His Hamlet-Machine without Actors, an adaptation of the soundtrack for the play by Heiner Müller, is certainly reduced to its extreme core. As a lament for the end of the (theatre) art, there remains only an afterglow, like an afterimage; a circle on the inside of your eyelids after looking too long at a light source.
Normandeau puts in just such actors and voices in the forefront the final stretch Baobabs. His interest is particularly in onomatopoeia. This focus allows him to tie language to the concrete world explicitly, a long way from abstract representation. Rhythmic chatter and laughter, dynamic nostalgia and serene texture are choreographed theatrically into a vocal dance that frolics and sparkles.
You shouldn’t listen to Dômes in one go. Choose your work and take the time, as if you’re watching a good movie. And immerse yourself for ten minutes inside one of Normandeau’s spaces. They are like five rooms projecting short films. Little movie theatres like a dioramas you can literally walk through, listening to see the decor and the scene constantly change color and atmosphere.