Off the Spine

Dwight Loop, e/i magazine, no. 1, March 31, 2003

Third in a compilation series by PeP (“armlength production team working on behalf of the Canadian Electroacoustic Community"), this is a worthwhile addition for anyone interested in exploring today’s vital electroacoustic music scene from America’s northern neighbor. The double-CD features 28 artists from seven countries, many making their first appearance on a CEC compilation. A major feature of electroacoustic music that comes with the territory, as with all experimental art forms, is a freedom to express political views about any number of subjects. Art is political and electroacoustic music is a leading art form for many composers expressing deeply held beliefs and realizations. Disc one’s highlights are many, opening with the deep, dark, airy tones of Machine Symphony (by Kristi Allik), recordings of steam engines and other machineries, blended in pleasant rhythmic ostinatos and drones. David Berezan’s In A Cold Light is a haunting short sequence of vistas from his ‘acousmatic documentary,’ exploring perceptions and imaginings re: the northern regions of Canada: stark, cold, crisp sounds from the tundra. Disc two revels in classical minimalism, including compositions making direct environmental ‘statements’: Sophia Male’s Alarm Calls, (canaries in a coal mine), Steven Naylor Irrashaimase (industrial urban Japan), the political Dale PerkinsSubmarine (the Russian Kursk submarine disaster), and even conceptualized sound alterations: Michael MatthewsOn The Outer Edge (manipulated cello), David R Mooney’s The Llama Strut (theremin studies), and Rick Nance’s This Is Not A Model (shapes and masses of metals recorded as they radiated summer heat into a block of frozen carbon dioxide). What’s most pleasing about Présence III is the flow of the mix, as selections are programmed with extreme care and a feel for continuity.

… a worthwhile addition for anyone interested in exploring today’s vital electroacoustic music scene…