Review

Jos Smolders, Earlabs, April 23, 2009

Anniversary release to commemorate the 60th birthday of concrete music. Adkins collated the contributions of 60 artists into 8 segments, not following the categorization of the originator Pierre Schaeffer.

The disc contains music that was contributed by over 60 sound artists. It celebrates the 60th birthday of musique concrète in [2008]. Mathew Adkins, a veteran at Empreintes Digitales was invited to mix the sound contributions together. The result is a beautiful 74 minutes of electroacoustic music. Adkins diligently categorized all the contributions before setting to work with a mix. That way three major sections are created, each divided into two or three different sequences, each with its own sound character. To give you an impression: the first section is based on abstract electronic sounds, the second section uses concrète and ‘anecdotal’ material. The final balances between these two extremes.

The first section is nice but at the same time a little dull; too nice and cozy. The abstract electronics offer many chances for slowly developing scapes. And actually Adkins keeps his foot on the brakes for quite a long time. Only occasionally are we served with harsh sounds, with sudden dynamical rifts. Schaeffer, the founding father of musique concrète, had quite a different approach. His musical structure often refered heavily on classical structures, like the suite, the symphony. Of course, these are different times. Schaeffer created his music from within his own personal context.

Adkins works from a different perspective in a different age. These are more democratic times. Perhaps that’s why so many different artists (Hecker, Chartier, López, Jonty Harrison, Fennesz, Roden, just to name a few) were invited to contribute. The mixes are most times blends of different layers, no juxtapositions, bumps or crashes. Well, not until track 7, that is. But that one lasts only 2’43"…

7.5 / 10

The result is a beautiful 74 minutes of electroacoustic music.

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