Grant Chu Covell, La Folia, March 1, 2005

Lucky Dolden, for having time and opportunity to remaster old ea compositions with digital technology. While these pieces aren’t exactly prehistoric, 1990’s analogue assembly and track-bouncing fogged the clarity of Dolden’s style: He notates a passage for 100 or more acoustic instruments, records each part individually, then mixes them in the studio. Today’s tools make his restless works shine and vibrate. His rapid pace would stun a defibrillator.

The most representative piece here, Caught in an Octagon of Unaccustomed Light, aligns nonstandard tuning with the burr and hum of struck metal, possibly prepared piano and cymbals. Is the heaving material in a kaleidoscope or meat grinder? I imagine the different threads marshalling themselves like eager, acquiescent robots, only to scatter suddenly into dust: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice meets Metropolis. Disjointed episodes serendipitously linked, Below the Walls of Jericho isn’t a Biblical illustration. Dolden fancies the idea that sound could bring down a wall and his piece could do just that. In the Natural Doorway I Crouch pulses with plucked strings and wind instruments.

Dolden happily joins his tapes with live instruments. Gravity’s Stillness. Resonance #6 features solo violin (Julie-Anne Derome) and The Vertigo of Ritualized Frenzy. Resonance #4 has parts for clarinet (François Houle) and piano (Leslie Wyber). The live musicians occasionally succumb to the blitz or else are instantly echoed and multiplied. In The Vertigo of Ritualized Frenzy. Resonance #4, the duo labors mostly in unison on a increasingly numbing modal phrase while the entire world swirls ’round. Gravity’s Stillness. Resonance #6 starts with uncharacteristically delicate washes under the violin, but soon erupts into business as usual.

Seuil de silences’ companions are L’ivresse de la vitesse 1 and L’ivresse de la vitesse 2, two wonderfully titled discs with remastered pieces — actually Dolden’s third time through them. Several interconnected series straddle the three discs, some for tape alone, others requiring instruments to duel alongside. Try any.

Today’s tools make his restless works shine and vibrate. His rapid pace would stun a defibrillator.