Review

François Couture, AllMusic, January 11, 2007

With petits Big Bangs, the empreintes DIGITALes label rights a painful wrong. This fully-packed album offers a stunning retrospective of Marcelle Deschênes’ electroacoustic works, from 1976 to 2002. If Deschênes is less known among musique concrete aficionados than Francis Dhomont, Jonty Harrison or even Robert Normandeau, it is mostly because she has devoted a considerable amount of energy to pioneering multimedia and pluridisciplinary works that cannot be documented on LP or CD. The six tape pieces presented here reveal a sensitive and whimsical composer possessing the plastic flair of Dhomont, the unsettling poetic sense of a Michel Chion, and a personal touch that empowers her music with a level of immediacy rarely attained in that most abstract field of music. The post-apocalyptic Big Bang II from 1987 opens the album with a commanding ballet of dynamic extremes. Indigo and Le bruit des ailes, both more recent, are elegant compositions with sombre undercurrents that keep dragging the listener along in search of their ever-deeper meanings. The two longer tracks of the set are also the oldest ones; if Lux (1985) fails to captivate through its whole duration, Moll, opéra lilliput pour six roches molles provides the album’s highlight. Written for clarinets, trombones, percussion, toys and tape, this “Lilliputian opera for six soft pebbles” is a fascinating piece of cinema for the ear, with a childlike lightness counterbalanced by disquieting water imagery. empreintes DIGITALes has released a handful of albums in 2006, some by household names and others by young up-and-coming composers, but the one that stands out is Deschênes’ petits Big Bangs, for its unique poetic qualities. This album has been released as a DVD. The disc contains the same six pieces in 96kHz/24bit MLP stereo (DVD-Audio), 48kHz/24bit standard stereo (DVD-Video), and MP3 files (DVD-ROM).

… a personal touch that empowers her music with a level of immediacy rarely attained in that most abstract field of music.

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