Here’s someone who was born in the USA, now official inhabitant of France, but who refers to himself as a nomad. Although he dropped out of the conservatory, he taught at IRCAM and now in Mons, Belgium. He creates music for loudspeakers and has a duo with Jean-François Laporte, called Rust and as Les Frères Bobine with Stefano Bassanese and with cellist Benjamin Carat as Fluid Identities. “He thinks that music is not a language but a lived visceral experience, and that is not the art of sound but the art of the transcendence of sound”.
On his CD we find seven pieces, four of Still (2007-2009) and three that make up Pulse (2010-2015). In the first one “all the sound are recordings of common objects, used without transformation; the only processes applied are equalization, compression and reverberation”. It is not easy to say what these common objects are. In the three of the four parts it sounds like wind blowing down pipes, along with some amplified string object, set up in a hollow, reverb setting and in the other the amplified sound of rubbing objects over carpet; a very subdued, low, bass like sound.
I thought these were great pieces, especially because they didn’t sound for a change like something on Empreintes Digitales; no endless amount granular synthesis here. On Pulse he uses the sounds of Buchla 200 Modular analogue synthesizer and it’s all about small fragments forever changing. This too is quite the different kind of music than we know from the label; it is much more an analogue feeling that we get from this piece of music, with the second part being a particular harsh one, even when more feedback like sounds are part of all three. Maybe this is Empreintes Digitales entering the domain of modular synthesizers? The third part of Pulse is a particular beautiful, shimmering piece of delicacy but also with that much needed edge that makes you sit up and listen closely. This was altogether an excellent release.