Martin Bédard

La musique de Martin Bédard mérite qu’on y tende l’oreille. CHYZ Radio, Québec

Martin Bédard travaille la texture des sons pour en dégager une beauté singulière. SOCAN, Paroles & Musique, Canada

Le titre de ce très attendu disque de Martin Bédard parle par lui même: Topographies. La musique de Bédard en est une de relief, exploitant à son paroxysme la force de la dynamique. L’auditeur ne saurait s’ennuyer une seconde à l’écoute de ses musiques d’une vigueur rarement rencontrée. L’écriture compacte l’emmènera aux confins d’univers denses et opaques où il devra retenir son souffle, laissant même un sentiment de vide après une écoute complète. Un disque techniquement éblouissant et esthétiquement accaparant.


CD (IMED 13121)

  • Étiquette: empreintes DIGITALes
  • IMED 13121
  • 2013
  • UCC 771028212156
  • Durée totale: 53:22
  • OGpak
  • 125 mm × 125 mm × 10 mm
  • 50 g

Sur le web

Téléchargement (IMED 13121_NUM)

Notes de programme

Merci à…

Merci à…

Dominique Dubois

Gisèle Ricard, François Morel

Mathieu Lachance, Jean-François Tremblay

André «The Analog Kid» Fecteau, Pierre Genest, Denis Dion, Guy Carmichael, Armando Santiago, Annie Morrier, Inti Manzi, Isabelle Harvey

Yves Daoust, Stéphane Roy, Jean Landry

Jacques Drouin, Lorraine Vaillancourt

Jean-François Dessureault, Georges Forget, Robert Normandeau, la gang de Point d’écoute…

Christian Bouchard, Dominique «Napalm Death» Bassal, Marie-Hélène Breault et E27, Nicolas Bernier, Jimmie «The White» LeBlanc, Louis Dufort, Jean-François Denis

Denise Lachance, Pauline Thibault, Valérie Jean, Vincent Breton, Andréa Oeffling, Caroline Rousseau, Diane Jobin

Chantale Jean (xx)


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La presse en parle

Liste de Noël Poulet Neige: Le top 10 de CHYZ

Émilie Rioux, CHYZ Radio, 2 décembre 2014

Parmi la très vaste sélection d’albums de qualité disponible cette année sur la Liste de Noël de l’étiquette montréalaise Poulet Neige, il peut être difficile de faire ses choix. Heureusement, CHYZ 94,3 est là pour vous proposer 10 disques qui ont faire battre son cœur radiophonique au cours de la dernière année.

10. TopographiesMartin Bédard: «Chapeau à Poulet Neige d’aller chercher une aussi grande palette de musique. La musique de Martin Bédard mérite qu’on y tende l’oreille.» – Jean-Michel

9. […]

La musique de Martin Bédard mérite qu’on y tende l’oreille.

Four Discs from empreintes DIGITALes

Wende Bartley, The WholeNote, no 19:8, 1 mai 2014

It’s been close to 25 years since the founding of the unique Montréal-based label empreintes DIGITALes (empreintesDIGITALes.com) in 1989 by Jean-François Denis and Claude Schryer. Solo-directed since 1991 by Denis, the label has produced 130 discs representing 107 composers and specializes in contemporary electroacoustic music, acousmatic and musique concrète. Although these genres of music are not the common fare for most of the concert events listed by The WholeNote, it is important to realize that the technical innovations and ways of thinking that have been pioneered by the practitioners of this music have had a wide influence on a vast array of musical forms and styles as well as media-based art forms.

One of the most distinguishing features of electroacoustic music in general is that it is composed primarily within a studio environment and is designed to be listened to through loud speakers. And although the ingredients of melody, rhythm and harmony can be an aspect of electroacoustic music, its primary focus is on the sound itself, which can originate from recordings made in a particular acoustic environment, or generated and processed through purely electronic or digital technologies. Sometimes the original sound source is recognizable – such as recordings of ocean waves or the inside of a piano, and in other situations, the sounds have been studio processed beyond recognition of their original context.

Back in 1990, empreintes DIGITALes offered its own vision of the wide array of possibilities within the electroacoustic genre. It published the groundbreaking Électro clips CD which featured three-minute miniatures by 25 different composers, each one representing a unique approach to working in a studio environment.

More recently, the label has released four new albums by four unique composers: Martin Bédard (Montréal), Pierre Alexandre Tremblay (Montréal/UK), Andrew Lewis (UK) and David Berezan (Calgary/UK). Although the pieces are of longer duration than the three-minute clips, each disc presents four unique approaches and aesthetic visions.

Each of Bédard’s five acousmatic compositions on his Topographies CD (IMED 13121) creates a sonic picture of specific acoustic environments, ranging from recordings made in restored jail cells to the soundworld of trains. He also weaves in tributes to what he calls “phonoculture” – lyrics from a Rush song or the audio heritage of a specific community. He is captivated by specific behaviours, whether those be of a night watchman or of metal under stress, and his compositions are expressions of his curiosity.

The five compositions on Tremblay’s 2-disc set entitled La marée (IMED 13123/124) are excellent examples of the interaction between live performers and a form of live processing of the solo instrumentalist. I found his piece Le tombeau des fondeurs particularly engaging with its rhythmic and timbral pulsations that create a seductive sonorous quality suggestive of the casting of a metal or bronze bell or gong. All his pieces are meditations on life, a balancing of contradictions.

The music of Lewis on his CD Au-delà (IMED 13125) is a great example of pure acousmatic music in which the original sound sources are heavily processed and the original context is predominantly unrecognizable. However, Lewis’ skill at weaving sounds together creates strong impressionistic and imaginary soundscapes. His track Cân, the Welsh word for song, takes the Welsh musical heritage beyond the traditional sounds of harps and male choirs. Short interjections of these traditional sounds are juxtaposed with more abstract sonic textures.

And finally, the music on Berezan’s Allusions sonores (IMED 13122) offers the listener a window into the places he has visited. Seeing himself as a composer who collects and “uncovers” sounds as part of his creative process, each of the five pieces reflects places he has personally visited or interacted with. Ranging from the sounds of a Balinese thumb piano to recordings made in Alberta’s badlands to the chirping sounds of temple and palace floors in Japan, listening to Berezan’s music is similar to listening to the ocean. Each piece has a very distinctive wave-like motion with the constant ebb and flow of the sound textures rising up and then falling away.

These four discs are a testament to the ongoing commitment this independent label has for a very unique and distinct genre of music. It is known and respected internationally and considered the go-to place for the keen listener and connoisseur of electroacoustic music in all its varied forms.

… known and respected internationally and considered the go-to place for the keen listener and connoisseur of electroacoustic music…


Tony Young, blackaudio, 14 janvier 2014

When the press release stated that this was five acoustic works, I expected something quite different from the rather noisy affair that erupted the moment it started playing. Grand dehors comes across as a psychopathic mash-up of folding ambience that steers just shy of falling apart at the seams, where an undercurrent of drama holds a cinematic space that is peculiar and strangely alluring.

Track two Topographie de la noirceur however, is something of a let down, concentrating on Tibetan chimes and clatters that I haven’t heard since the soul numbing ridiculous compositions of Z’ev; luckily the true horror that is Push & Pull, makes up for this by reverting to the form of the opening number.

The remainder of Topographies follows suit and concentrates of varying degrees of Dark Ambient, infused with noise; and whilst nothing quite matches Grand dehors for outright depth and furious rage, it does hold steady to the end; completing a solid release with a few minor hiccups along the way.


… and whilst nothing quite matches Grand dehors for outright depth and furious rage, it does hold steady to the end.


Anthony P Frangos, MusicPaper, 2 décembre 2013

Ο πρώτος προσωπικός δίσκος του Καναδού συνθέτη Martin Bédard, με τίτλο Topographies, περιέχει πέντε κομμάτια δίκην φανταστικού σάουντρακ αντίστοιχων περιοχών της πόλης του Κεμπέκ. Με την αισθητική των electroacoustics αλλά και των acousmatics ένθα το βάρος δίνεται όχι τόσο στη μελωδία, το ρυθμό ή το μέτρο όσο στη χροιά και στην ηχητική γκάμα. Συμβατικά όργανα, ηχητικά εφέ και field recordings συνιστούν ένα αξεδιάλυτο μουσικό κράμα πέρα από κάθε έννοια μουσικής ετικέτας. Απρόβλεπτη στην εξέλιξη και με πυκνές στην διαστρωμάτωσή τους δυναμικές.

Imprévisible dans l’évolution et avec une dynamique de stratification dense.

Love on the Bits

Fabrice Vanoverberg, Rif Raf, no 194, 1 octobre 2013

Disciple de Robert Normandeau, et ça veut dire beaucoup au fan d’électroacoustique, Martin Bédard et ses Topographies (empreintes DIGITALes) explorent un sentier certes couru depuis Iannis Xenakis, mais qui a la bonne idée de s’éloigner de l’objectif initial. Hormis un début qui évoque d’un peu trop près le souvenir du compositeur franco-grec, l’artiste québécois rend sur ses cinq pièces honneur au titre de l’album. Oubliant toute forme de monotonie assommante, Bédard multiplie les contrastes et les contre-champs, quitte à donner le vertige au milieu de la tempête. Et si parfois, on ne sait plus trop si l’on préfère la pluie eu beau temps, on y trouve toujours de quoi satisfaire une curiosité sonore de tous les instants.

… on y trouve toujours de quoi satisfaire une curiosité sonore de tous les instants.

Music Review

Alexei Monroe, Trebuchet, 17 septembre 2013

While there’s a booming re-issue business for the work of historical electronic composers such as Xenakis, rarely does contemporary acousmatic and electroacoustic work make it beyond the specialist audiences of specialist labels, or the confines of university music departments.

This is partly because sometimes in this scene there has been a deliberate attempt to deter or confuse outsiders and to keep work purely for the initiates. On this evidence, that’s a great shame, as Topographies is a very important release, deserving of the widest audience possible.

… a vast sonic space mapped out by a thrilling, visceral flow of scurrying sounds…

Martin Bédard is a French-Canadian teacher and composer. This is his first solo release but his work has been used in installations, theatre pieces and he has received several composition prizes. Topographies is actually a collection of 5 acousmatic works dating from 2005 to 2012, but successfully mastered in 2012-13 to give the impression that they could all have been composed at one time as a coherent album.

Grand dehors opens with what may or may not be the sound of creaking door. It’s soon clear that this won’t be an arid, hyper–cerebral release. Angular blocks of sound sweep across a dense soundscape, occasionally reversing on themselves before sudden acclerations that break up slower, more pacific interludes. The sounds approach and recede at pace. One of the snaking sequences sounds like a distorted snatch of music garbled by shortwave interference.

Listening on headphones the effect is equally stimulating and unnerving. After the drama comes a very elegant and precise fade out.

Another dramatic start announces Topographie de la noirceur, but the mood soon shifts to a more uneasy ambience, populated by cold, shimmering tones and rattling sonic debris. At one point a beat kicks in briefly – perhaps a recording of a printing press or some other large machinery – but is never allowed to dominate.

The epicentre of the album is the longest track, the 16-minute epic Push & Pull, a vast sonic space mapped out by a thrilling, visceral flow of scurrying sounds. These are interspersed with quieter passages of processed orchestral ambience but later become more threatening again.

From around 11.24 the track briefly trails its own debris in its wake, later tiny digital shards lend a literally cutting-edge quality to it. Distant bells appear in the final minute but even then there are still further sonic strafings, then a clean, reverbed fade. This immense work alone is a masterpiece, the kind of work you feel privileged to have heard.

Métal fatigue presents snaking, coiling metallic sounds cutting through and alternating with beautiful deep ambience. There are very tense interludes followed by what seem to be fleeting snatches of a horribly brutalised pop song limping by. Later there are quite affirmative distorted chords reminiscent of glitch electronica, followed by yet more various swooping sequences and indefinable bell-like smears.

There’s an abrupt, noisy start to Champs de fouilles, but it’s actually the most atmospheric and delicate piece here, despite being cut through by a series of rapid mechanical sequences that might be the sound of a train, of a flock of geese, or of something else entirely. Icy, shimmering chords eventually prevail and the piece gradually fades to silence.

When confronted by Topographies, listener, reviewer and composer are on shifting ground. These pieces are so rich in detail that their “meaning” is unstable – something heard on second listening can completely displace a previous interpretation and the meaning can shift second by second within a piece.

It’s hard to identify or predict what just happened and what might happen next. Anyone seeking innovative and forward-thinking electronic music need look no further; the energy and imagination displayed in this collection puts many younger producers to shame.

… the energy and imagination displayed in this collection puts many younger producers to shame.


RNE3: Atmósfera, 8 septembre 2013

El título del nuevo disco de Martin Bédard habla por sí mismo: Topographies. Se trata de una música llena de tranquilidad pero al mismo tiempo muy dinámica.

En el disco no encontraremos ni un segundo de inactividad, todo él desprende una energía pocas veces vista que atrae a quien lo escucha a espacios densos y opacos que cortan la respiración y que dejan una sensación de vacío cuando deja de escuchar el disco.

Topographies propone cinco obras electroacústicas compuestas entre 2004 y 2012 con el típico sonido compacto de Bédard.

… todo él desprende una energía pocas veces vista que atrae a quien lo escucha a espacios densos y opacos que cortan la respiración y que dejan una sensación de vacío cuando deja de escuchar el disco.


RNE3: Atmósfera, 5 septembre 2013

El título del nuevo disco de Martin Bédard habla por sí mismo: Topographies (Topografías). Se trata de una música llena de tranquilidad pero al mismo tiempo muy dinámica. En el disco no encontraremos ni un segundo de inactividad, todo él desprende una energía pocas veces vista que atrae a quien lo escucha a espacios densos y opacos que cortan la respiración y que dejan una sensación de vacío cuando deja de escuchar el disco. Topographies propone cinco obras electroacústicas compuestas entre 2004 y 2012 con el típico sonido compacto de Bédard.

… todo él desprende una energía pocas veces vista…


Pierre Durr, Revue & Corrigée, no 97, 1 septembre 2013
Le résultat est convainquant en ce qui concerne le dynamisme, la capacité à créer des mouvements, du rythme, à capter l’attention de l’auditeur.


Fabien, Liability Webzine, 23 juillet 2013

Martin Bédard est un type normal. Enfin, il ressemble à monsieur tout le monde. Rien ne le différencie des autres à cette nuance près qu’il fait de la musique. Mais pas n’importe quelle musique, celle que n’importe qui peut faire. Martin Bédard est électro-acousmaticien, terme un peu barbare, j’en conviens, qui désigne ces créateurs de musique acousmatique et/ou électroacoustique. Une musique qui, en générale, ne s’adresse pas au plus grand monde mais pour des gens qui possèdent déjà des éléments de compréhension. Ces compositeurs s’apparentent souvent comme des chercheurs ou, du moins, ils ont une démarche qui s’y rapproche. Tout cela n’a rien de rock ’n’ roll mais les personnes comme Martin Bédard n’ont jamais prétendu l’être. Enfin, comme tout «scientifique» ce n’est que tardivement qu’il sort son premier album. Certes, il a déjà composé et publié auparavant mais Topographies constitue, alors qu’il a la quarantaine passée, sa première réalisation solo. Nous venant tout droit de Montréal, Martin Bédard a été un élève de Robert Normandeau et le moins que l’on puisse dire c’est que cela se ressent. Topographies est un recueil de compositions réalisées entre 2005 et 2012. Malgré des contextes biens différents il existe une réelle cohérence entre les morceaux qui sont des exemples frappant de la variété de ce que peut offrir la musique électroacoustique dans sa nature abstraite mais hautement libre. Pour autant, Topographies reste dans une certaine norme, ne dépasse pas un certain académisme même si ce disque possède de réelles qualités créatrices, de rythmes ou de mouvements. C’est sans doute le mal récurent à beaucoup de genres musicaux qui existent depuis trop longtemps. La capacité de renouvellement n’est pas en rapport avec ce qui est produit et c’est ce qui est fort dommage parfois. On en est conscient lorsque l’on écoute Topographies même si on admet aisément que Martin Bédard est manifestement parmi les plus doués du genre. Le Canadien construit ce qu’il appelle des «lieux transfigurés», des endroits où le réel s’évapore pour laisser la place à une autre réalité, forcément abstraite, faisant fonctionner notre imaginaire à plein régime. En cela Topographies ne peut pas être un disque décevant parce qu’il remplit pleinement son office sans qu’on y trouve à y redire.

Martin Bédard est manifestement parmi les plus doués du genre.


Kristoffer Westin, Sound of Music, 11 juillet 2013

Skivetiketten Empreintes DIGITALes specialiserar sig på elektroakustisk musik och har sedan starten, 1990, gett ut mer än hundra CD-skivor. Utifrån sin bas i Montréal har labeln verkat för elektroakustisk musik, EAM, från Kanada i synnerhet, men även många komponister över hela världen finns representerade i deras skivkatalog. Den prestigefyllda etikettens senaste utgåva bär titeln Topographies och innehåller fem verk av kanadensaren Martin Bédard (f. 1970).

Albumet inleds med stycket Grand dehors (2011), där en väsentlig del av ljuden har hämtats från fängelseceller. Det berättande idématerialet består i två kontrasterande element, frihet respektive fångenskap, som gestaltas i ljud genom häftiga, forcerande rörelser mot trankilt kontemplativa fält. De gestiska kvaliteterna kan således tyckas representera frihet, medan de meditativa fälten uttrycker isolation. Detta är dock inte entydigt, eftersom upplevelsen är subjektiv och ljudmaterialet rör sig mellan många olika nivåer av komplexitet och rörelse. I början av verket uppmärksammar jag ett gnisslande och ekobullrande ljud som konnoterar upplevelsen av att dörren till en fängelsecell öppnas eller stängs. Detta utgör vidare centrum för min lyssning i denna, understundom högt tempodrivna, bio-för-örat. Ljuden av fängelseceller återkommer i olika skepnader – bearbetade, uppklippta liksom obehandlade – och accentuerar omsider intrycket av fångenskap. För mig når den frihetsberövande aspekten sin kulmen i de sekvenser av ihärdigt upprepande buller; väggarna kryper sakta inpå mig och upplevelsen av tunnelseende tar vid. Mot slutet planar verket ut, söker sig till lyssnarens inre och en känsla av acceptans gentemot världsalltet infinner sig. Jag leviterar knappast, men den gamla fängelsecellen är inte längre lika påtaglig.

Efterföljande stycke, Topographie de la noirceur (2004), får funktionen av ett litet intermezzo på närmare fyra minuter. Under en lyssning av hela albumet kan stycket passera ganska obemärkt, men fungerar bra som ett avbräck mellan två längre kompositioner. Inspirationen till verket har hämtats från Aleksandr Zinovyevs roman Notes of the Nightwatchman, vilket resulterat i en dynamiskt utmanande ljudpromenad genom ett främmande landskap.

Tågljud är väl förankrat i den konkreta musikens historia, där det mest kända exemplet torde vara Pierre Schaeffers Étude aux chemins de fer från 1948. Det är onekligen ett tacksamt material att arbeta med – friskt fläktande och robust, fullt av rörelse och rytmik – vilket också lockat många komponister, varför man som lyssnare kanske ställer särskilt höga krav. Bédard har emellertid lyckats fånga min uppmärksamhet med verket Push & pull (2010). Här befinner sig tåg i rörelse – fram och tillbaka – mellan stadier av stillastående, det vill säga mellan ”push” och ”pull”. Periodisk rytmik reser sig, permuteras och försvinner ut i olika riktningar. Detta ställs, inte olikt med förfarandet i Grand dehors, mot meditativa, utdragna klanglandskap. I bookleten redogör tonsättaren för inspirationen till stycket och anger, utöver tåg, en låt med hans förmodade ungdomsidoler, den progressiva rockgruppen Rush. Först ryggade jag onekligen tillbaka lite över denna, till synes överflödiga, information. Men faktum är att Bédard faktiskt hittar en entusiasmerande metafor – tågets framåtskridande rörelse, mellan stadier av stillastående, kan härmed liknas med situationer som alla människor går igenom i livet. Det stillastående kan liknas vid en automatiseringsprocess, medan framåtskridandet står för något som bryter upp och potentiellt leder in på nya vägar. Således kan lyssnaren, i bästa fall, inspireras till ett mer uppmärksamt lyssnande och detta verk är särskilt värt ansträngningen.

När jag befinner mig på skivans fjärde spår tenderar ljudupplevelsen att bli jämntjock. Jag tänker mig först att det krävs en paus, men vid återkommande besök känner jag fortfarande en viss mättnad. Métal fatigue (2012) utgår från metall som ljudmaterial och ”fatigue” är en process som förändrar egenskaperna i ett material under tryck, vilket sker i flera steg. Kompositionen öppnar med ett myller av sönderbrutna ljud som befinner sig i ständig förändring. Jag upplever dock vissa problem med den högteknologiska ljudbilden. Det preciösa förfarandet stör sikten och får mig istället att längta efter riktiga, obehandlade metalliska klanger. Verket genomgår flera strukturella förändringar i enlighet med idén, men jag har vissa svårigheter både med klangfärgerna och de glassiga rytmfragment som bryter igenom emellanåt. Det avslutande verket på albumet, Champs de fouilles (2008), tilltalar mig mer än det föregående spåret och särskiljer sig från de övriga styckena genom flera lågmälda partier med vackra harmonier. Stycket har något av promenadformen, men inte lika påtagligt som i Luc Ferraris formidabla Music promenade; snarare synes Bédard anspela mer på drömtillstånd, vilket är särskilt tydligt i den sista sekvensen.

De fem verken på Topographies uppvisar ett habilt bio-för-örat som också har sina retoriska förtjänster i en tydlig och klar relation mellan idé och ljudande gestaltning. Bédards mimetiska förfarande innebär en dundrande inledning som pockar på lyssnarens uppmärksamhet, vilket åtföljs av ett dramatiskt förlopp, dominerat av en förkärlek till kontrasterande element. Styckenas avslutande del uppfattar jag sällan som sammanfattande, utan snarare leds lyssnaren in på en ny, potentiell väg, vilken ofta får en renande verkan. Bédard har funnit sitt eget uttryck, även om jag kan tycka att styckenas form och struktur är en konsekvens av den institutionella apparat som präglar samtida EAM och akusmatisk musik i synnerhet. Samtidigt finner vi en lockande omedelbarhet och stringens, fri från spatiala hyperboler och dylikt bjäfs. Martin Bédards styrka som akusmatisk komponist blommar ut och når sin höjdpunkt i verken Grand dehors och Push & pull, där han formligen stansar in intressanta upplevelser liksom funderingar hos lyssnaren.

Styckenas […] leds lyssnaren in på en ny, potentiell väg, vilken ofta får en renande verkan.

Journal d’écoute

François Couture, Monsieur Délire, 3 juillet 2013

Topographies propose cinq œuvres électroacoustiques composées entre 2004 et 2012. Le style de Bédard est compact, bruyant, avec une prédilection pour les contrastes appuyés — en cela, il me rappelle son aîné Gilles Gobeil. Les œuvres tirent leur référence de la littérature (Zinoviev), du rock (Rush), du patrimoine bâti (la prison de Québec), mais cette diversité des sources est ramenée à un style plutôt homogène, au point où, à première écoute, j’ai de la difficulté à distinguer les pièces entre elles.

Le style de Bédard est compact, bruyant, avec une prédilection pour les contrastes appuyés


multipara, De:Bug, no 174, 1 juillet 2013

Wie das Label ist auch Martin Bédard in Montreal zu Hause, wo er studiert und (bei Robert Normandeau) promoviert hat und wo er heute unterrichtet. Thema seiner Kompositionen, hier das erste mal auf Albumlänge versammelt, ist allerdings die Stadt Québec. Das Stadtgefängnis als Ort gefrierender Erinnerungen, brüchiges Metall und der Brückeneinsturz von 1907, ortstypische Klangsignale (lokale “Phonokultur”, so Bédards Ausdruck) und archäologische Ausgrabungen. Förderungsaffine Themen, zu denen sich zwei freiere Arbeiten gesellen, über die literarische Figur eines Nachtwächters die eine, über Züge die andere. Zuweilen hört man ja, in der Akusmatik klinge alles wie auf Albumlänge aufgeblähte Kino-Hitech-Surroundsound-Demonstrations-Jingles. Egal was Bédard hier anpackt: dem spielt er voll in die Karten – und gewinnt am Ende doch. Der Rausch an übereinanderstürzenden metallischen Drones und flatternden Gatings, entfesselten Farb- und Dynamikschlieren ist bei ihm schlicht nochmal ein paar Grade schärfer und zupackender als anderswo. Hyperrealer Fiebertraumtaumel von Anfang bis Ende. Groß, natürlich. Und vor allem.

Hyperrealer Fieberstraumtaumel von Anfang bis Ende. Groß, natürlich. Und vor allem.


Diedrich Diederichsen, Spex, no 346, 1 juillet 2013
Bédard geizt nicht mit fetten elektronischen Massagen und quasi-sinfonischen Massierungen, intensiven Unübersichtlichkeiten…

Frenesia Post-Industrial

Girolamo Dal Maso, Blow Up, no 182/183, 1 juillet 2013

Martin Bédard è un compositore canadese di musica elettroacustica dall a brillante carriera accademica e con numerosi riconoscimenti (festival, premi, istituzioni accademiche e culturali) da una part e all’altra dell’oceano. Topographies è un lavoro curatissimo a partire dal package Tutto in in cartoncino (no plastica) con una bella e appropriatissima immagine sulla cover e un pieghevole all’interno (che “è” l’interno) ricchissim o di informazioni. La prima impressione all’ascolto è quella di una topografia del caos e del disastro. Basta prestare appena un po’ più di attenzione e il giudizio si capovolge: questo è un lavoro pie no di pensiero. Non solo perché nulla sembra lasciatoal caso, per la strutturazione dei pezzi, lucidamente organizzati con l’alternanza di sonorità fragorose troppo chiaramente elaborate elettronicamente: rumorosità, ritmiche percussive, macchinari sincopati roboantì, come un treno lucidamente impazzito. Più che un grafico dei luoghi — troppo statico e astratto — quella di Bédard è un a scrittura del rumore che li riempie. Anche il libretto — esso pure pieno di segni, di parole — non è una didascalia, ma parte del progetto, come un vettore, una freccia che indica luoghi sfatti industrial-post-industriali in cui (almeno mentalmente) collocarsi. Nel fragore generale si possono intuire rumori diversi (rumori “diversamente” rumori), altri tipi di sonorità. Questa auscultazione rende l’ascolto più interessante e attento, quasi a impedire preventivamente (ma con una certa rigorosa fatica richiesta) di essere frastornato. Basta pensare a come si spegne Topographie de la noirceur o alle pau se oniriche, spazzate da venti gelidi e inquietanti, di Push & Pull o di Champs de fouilles. La violenza e il suo impatto sonoro non è, però, tanto quello di luoghi ma delle reazioni che questi luoghi suscitano. Bédard rifugge nel modo più assoluto da uno sguardo compassionevole: in lui solo nuda, cruda ostensione, ostinata ricollocazione. I luoghi sociali che frequenta sono di per sé carichi di tensioni, in cui complessità, alterità e violenza squassano le sicurezze ordinarie: un carcere (luogo di reclusione), una ronda notturna, la ferrovia (luogo di passaggio per eccellenza nella modernità), un ponte crollato nel 1907, scavi archeologici (che — per un italiano — fa un po’ impressione pensare situati in Canada). In tutto questo la riflessione sull a memoria, su una certa memoria, su ciò che si tende a dimenticare o a lasciare da parte (e quindi bisogno andarci in questa parte, in questa realtà posta ai margini: bisogna andare ai margini, marginalizzarsi). Senza dimenticare l’identità francofona di Bédard, con il suo carico simbolico di lotta identitaria. A Michel Foucault sarebbe piaciuto questo disco, per i luoghi che frequenta, pure ad Artaud che l’avrebbe amato con odio implacabile, e pure Bataille che l’avrebbe trovato pieno di pensiero, non di “pensieri”, ma di suoni e rumori gravidi di pensiero, in atto di pensare, pregni, toccati, scalfiti e scassati dal pensare che hanno fatto scaturire. Un pensiero che “si” rivolta (come lo smascheramento di una trama autoriflessiva, auto-distruggente e insieme auto-costitutiva), energia dischiudentesi, sempre in atto, in eccitazione permanente, di cui esplora con lucidità e rigore il versante patologico più che quello vitalistico. I luoghi (topoi) di Bédard sono spazi pieni di suono da cui è risucchiata come una ventosa la vita, tragica, violenta, impetuosa, eppure sospesa, fragile, esposta. Un esercizio di pensiero. Filosofia militante. Musica.

… suono da cui è risucchiata come una ventosa la vita, tragica, violenta, impetuosa, eppure sospesa, fragile, esposta. Un esercizio di pensiero. Filosofia militante. Musica.


Roberto Mandolini, Ondarock, 29 juin 2013

Martin Bédard è un compositore elettroacustico con una brillante carriera accademica alle spalle. Oggi insegna sia al Conservatorio che all’Università di Montréal. Topographies è il suo esordio discografico e raccoglie cinque opere composte tra il 2004 e il 2012.

La prima composizione in scaletta, Grand dehors, mette subito in mostra la spaventosa energia e le considerevoli dinamiche della musica del canadese: particolari microscopici lasciati apparentemente in sottofondo vengono portati all’improvviso in primo piano con accelerazioni fantascientifiche. Dopo la boa dei tre minuti un crescendo devastante riempie lo spettro prima di esplodere in un poderoso ostinato che sembra la simulazione di una battaglia per il controllo del sistema solare.

L’universo di Bédard è uno spazio multidimensionale dove l’attenzione è perennemente sollecitata da una valanga di eventi. Push & Pull si ispira al movimento ipnotico e metallico dei treni sulle rotaie e in qualche modo cita un vecchio amore adolescenziale di Martin, i Rush. Métal fatigue rappresenta bene la carica cinematica della musica del compositore di Québec City con i suoi abbondanti dodici minuti di montagne russe emozionali.

L’universo di Bédard è uno spazio multidimensionale dove l’attenzione è perennemente sollecitata da una valanga di eventi.


Vito Camarretta, Chain DLK, 25 juin 2013

When you peruse resumes like the one of this Montréal-based phenomenal wizard, who just attained a place in the catalogue of empreintes DIGITALes — maybe the most remarkable label in the field of electroacoustics and acousmatics at the moment —, you immediately foresee the consistency of a release with his signature: alumnus of Yves Daoust, André Fecteau and Robert Normandeau. Monsieur Bédard is teaching auditory perception, composition and analysis of electroacoustic music at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal as well as electroacoustic compostion at Université de Montréal . On this collection of sonic marquetries he assembled in different moments, his hyperreality seems to be nourished by a selection of concrete noises whose attrition is a sort of runaround for Martin’s processing, but beside the impressively heady and somehow cinematic pelting and rendering of blasts, liquefactions, combustions and coalescences, which could vividly render fearsome train trips (Push & Pull), scorching meteoric darts (Grand dehors), frightening metallic landslips (Topographie de la noirceur), precipitous tumbles down to the hellish bowels of the ore bodies of the earth the main aspect of the creative / destructive elaboration (Métal fatigue) and dense swarms of drilling noises from excavation sites (Champs de fouilles), the properly dramatic element of each representation seems to be the inoculation of temporary breaks of piercing sounds, which almost mirrors the psychological whirls and craters, which follow such a pelting by emphasizing the inner sense and consciousness of Bédard’s topography.

… Montréal-based phenomenal wizard…


Richard Allen, A Closer Listen, 14 juin 2013

“Not one second of downtime will be met,” declares the press release, and in this case, the statement is true. Martin Bédard’s Topographies fills every sonic nook with crashes, glissandos and draws. This is a work of immediacy, beginning with a crash and continuing with a clash. At certain times, it sounds like the work of an orchestra attempting to tune during a train collision. Even in its subtler moments, it conjures images of a factory collapsing while the machinery is still running. Noiser than Zbeen, but conveying a similar respect for abrasion bordering on noise, Bédard’s work is thick and immersive, a piece of corrugated iron filled with loose nuts and bolts.

While the five pieces were composed over the course of a decade, they were mastered as one and serve as a fine primer to the Canadian composer’s work. Bédard is not only a class teacher of “auditory perception, composition, and analysis of electroacoustic music” in Montréal, he’s also a doctor. Yes, there is a place where one can get a PhD in electroacoustic composition, and the degree reflects a dedication to the cause. Thankfully, this is a release of which he can be proud; any students who read this review should know that their teacher is at the top of his game. In other words, he’s worth the tuition fee.

The earliest work included here, Topographie de la noirceur (“Topography of Darkness”) is also the only track short enough to be a single. In an alternate world, it might have a chance of success, as it contains four minutes of the most interesting music many will hear all year. Imagine starting one’s car and tuning in to a show like this: drums and bells and sharp glass edges. This might cause one to reevaluate one’s relationship to music. Does it have a beat? Can you dance to it? Are there lyrics? No – but a clear tempo emerges from time to time, and the sounds of coins and cannons rise to fill the sonic space.

Fast-forward a few years, and the artist has incorporated pieces of an elegant choir, along with parts of what seems like a solemn organ recital. Whooshes and percussive vibrations dominate Champs de fouilles, which brings to mind the passage of a subway car or clacking train. In the third minute, an approaching horn is followed by the screech of brakes, but instead of disembarking passengers, it dissolves into a murder of crows. Late in the piece, the artist also demonstrates a new restraint, allowing chords to descend into drone instead of preserving their previously agitated levels.

Similar sounds occupy Push & Pull, making one think that Topographies might have been better titled “Transportation.” This time, the brakes are applied early and often, honoring the title: push and pull, stop and go. A sample at 2:50 sounds just like the slamming of a car door, another at 4:24 like a seatbelt warning ping, and another at 6:10 (starting earlier but heard clearly here) like a crossing gate being lowered. By Grand dehors (2011), the glissandos are in full effect, and by Métal fatigue (2012) the artist’s more accessible aspects have fled, leaving in their wake a cool abstraction.

Judging by the inspirations behind these pieces, which range from to a Aleksandr Zinovyev novel to a rehabilitated Québec prison to the 400th anniversary of the province, it’s clear that Bédard has more on his mind than just making music; he uses sound to honor his inspirations. As the artist continues to operate in the field of commissioned work, we look forward to many more creative compositions; this first collection is simply a harbinger.

… the most interesting music many will hear all year. […] … this first collection is simply a harbinger.