Billet

Review

Aurelio Cianciotta, Neural, 21 octobre 2020
lundi 26 octobre 2020 Presse

Oscillations planétaires is the first solo album by Chantal Dumas, referencing geological phenomena and processes. Dumas seems to suggest that field recording and electroacoustic sound might have a strong correspondence with cosmic activities. The release is from Empreintes Digitales, a Montréal based label, which the German radio show Deutschlandfunk Kultur designated for this production. Dumas’ focus is mostly addressed towards geological and tectonic movements and vibrations happening on different time scales, physical events that are irregular, ethereal and subterranean. The album offers a meticulous analysis of these sounds, and highlights some of the hidden phenomena of such events. Only a limited number of these emissions are actually known, such as earthquakes and geysers. Other audio recordings are more immaterial, not exactly recognizable, and follow a series of associations that are aesthetically meaningful and outside the typical approach of the documentary form. Crackles, liquid modular recordings, heavy movements of physical masses, memories of vintage space-age are all elements of the album. Hisses, beats, minimalist and synthetic melodies: this is the sonic background Dumas plays, and she is very good at integrating the sounds with suggestion, the audio recordings with some bizarre treatments. The sonic landscape here is definitely unconventional, even if not so unusual in this musical scene, but the peculiar element is a highly controlled aesthetic result, a vibrant musicality full of low frequency oscillations, ripples and echoes, beating breaks and airy resonances. The whole ecosystem of the planet in movement is evoked here, the way the tectonic plates get in touch, or move away, the seething of magma and the underlying bubbles, the movement of the sea and the electricity the mountains hold at certain heights. Time, space, earth, listening: these themes are definitely not new for Dumas, but here she greatly broadens her range to something fascinating but difficult to capture.

… here she greatly broadens her range to something fascinating…

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