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Review

Kevin Press, Badd Press, 15 octobre 2018
lundi 15 octobre 2018 Presse

Montréal-based composer Monique Jean’s take on electroacoustic music has been described as “engaging a present that happens now.” Credit François Couture with that sharply written phrase. Indeed, there is an abrasiveness to her work that feels urgent and forceful. Her new release Troubles features two vivid examples.

The first is T.A.G. The title is an acronym for trottoir, asphalte, goudron, which translate as sidewalk, asphalt, tar. The 2013 composition is a study of demonstrators and the dynamics of crowds.

Unlike Amethyst Seer’s excellent 2017 work Protest, this doesn’t feature an actual recording of a demo. Instead, Jean interprets the subject matter. In doing so, she delivers a more accessible piece of music.

All the tension and fluidity of motion you’d expect from a protest-themed work is there. But its relatively vague reference points encourage appreciation of the work on a more emotional level. This is a consequential, timely effort — one that resonates even more deeply four years after its composition.

The second half of the album features Jean’s 2009/2011 piece Out of Joint. In the album’s notes, she describes it as “an essay in sound hybridization on Shakespeare’s Macbeth and the various silver screen adaptations, stagings and rewrites it inspired through time.”

Again, her decision to avoid a literal interpretation serves to broaden the work’s appeal. Yes it is about Macbeth. But it also works as a piece about iterations or interpretations.

Big themes. But they’re all within Jean’s reach. Her work has an outsized quality that — with a bit of promotion — could have influence beyond the confines of electroacoustic fandom.

Her work has an outsized quality…

Review

Frans de Waard, Vital, no 1153, 15 octobre 2018
lundi 15 octobre 2018 Presse

[…] Of course eRikm, as he loves to spell his name, is someone who is no stranger to these pages, ever since he first surfaced as a turntablist in the mid 90s. He works as an improviser, expanded to using vinyl, CD, mini discs and finds his own narrative, which is not unlike that of say Luc Ferrari. A particular highlight was his LP L’Art de la fuite (Vital Weekly 1000), even when that was an earlier work. The three pieces here deal with the past, his own past, in Switzerland, which he calls ’his other homeland’, but also using a traditional Icelandic text in the first piece Draugalimur, meaning ’phantom limb’. In that piece eRikm combines field recordings with text and with some instrumental sounds, while in Poudre he uses many recordings of new year’s fireworks in Berlin, with it’s many reflections of the buildings and perhaps also from history. In the third piece, L’aire de la Moure 2 there is also a text, by Paul Eluard and I must admit reading the description didn’t make things clearer for me. Here there are quite a few field recordings, mainly birds I believe, along with insects and wind, with what seems to me a minimum of processing here and there, but not a lot, or at least: not throughout the entirety of the piece. eRikm doesn’t follow Ferrari’s more linear approach to the use of field recordings but it seems to me it is all bit more of an anarchist approach; see where sounds fit and then use them accordingly, which I would think is the best approach. This too is not really the sort of things one expected from Empreintes Digitales, and for instance more at home on Gruenrekorder, but here too I thought the label does a smart move and venture into something new. In the past I may have been a bit (too) sceptical, but with these two the label is back on track. For eRikm I would say this is another highlight.

… I would say this is another highlight.

Akousma: Quinzième sommet de l’exploration électroacoustique

Alain Brunet, La Presse, 15 octobre 2018
lundi 15 octobre 2018 Presse

Présenté dans des conditions acoustiques on ne peut plus optimales, le festival Akousma XV démarre aujourd’hui et se conclut samedi: six programmes des plus nourrissants pour les amateurs les plus pointus des approches électroniques et électroacoustiques.

Francis Dhomont

Ce soir, 20h, Au Gesù

Cet incontournable de l’électroacroustique cultive encore aujourd’hui un intérêt fervent pour une écriture dite «morphologique» et aussi pour ses observations créatrices des «ambiguïtés» entre le son et l’image. Entre le Québec et la France, Francis Dhomont a cumulé les honneurs sa vie durant: Grand Prix Mega-Hertz 2013-Allemagne; docteur honoris causa de l’Université de Montréal; prix SACEM 2007 de la meilleure création contemporaine électroacoustique; prix Lynch-Staunton du Conseil des arts du Canada; 1er prix (1981) et prix «Magisterium» (1988) au Concours international de musique électroacoustique de Bourges (France); prix Ars Electronica 1992 (Autriche). De 1978 a 2004, il a partagé ses activités entre la France et le Québec, où il a enseigné à l’Université de Montréal de 1980 à 1996. Le nonagénaire vit aujourd’hui à Avignon, compose toujours et étoffe sa réflexion théorique. En feriez-vous autant à 92 ans? Au programme de demain, plusieurs œuvres en création nord-américaine.

La lucarne des rêves

Demain, 20h, Au Conservatoire de musique de Montréal

Voilà un film immersif conçu par la Française Cendrine Robelin, avec [la participation] de Martin Gracineau (son) et de Claude Mercier (montage). Voilà une œuvre cinématographique autour de la musique concrète, au sein de laquelle l’approche des compositeurs Bernard Parmegiani et Lionel Marchetti est respectueusement évoquée. «Je rêve d’un film avec le pouvoir de transformer notre perception des bruits du monde et de nous inviter à en faire de la musique. Ces bruits du monde nous entourent et nous façonnent sans que l’on y prête attention. C’est la rumeur de la ville, l’éveil des oiseaux, un moteur en action, des voix, des bruits de machines, des instruments», indique Cendrine Robelin, question de piquer notre curiosité et de nous convier à cette soirée où elle présente également Bain de gong, d’une durée de sept minutes.

Dôme + Sinus + Fiction

Mercredi, 20h, À la Satosphère de la SAT

Dans le contexte d’Akousma, la Satosphère de la Société des arts technologiques (SAT) accueille mercredi trois œuvres immersives sous la bannière Dome + Sinus + Fiction. Un «ensemble d’oscillateurs» réunit d’abord un florilège d’électroacousticiens québécois, suivi de Out of Joint, «essai d’hybridation sonore autour du Macbeth de Shakespeare», imaginé par la compositrice québécoise Monique Jean. Le programme se conclut par le travail du compositeur français Franck Vigroux, intégration singulière de musique contemporaine et de bruitisme, mais aussi de théâtre, de danse et de vidéo. Alternativement guitariste, platiniste, électroacousticien, producteur électro, improvisateur, compositeur, il a travaillé notamment avec des musiciens iconoclastes de réputation internationale tels Mika Vainio (Pan Sonic), Reinhold Friedl, Elliott Sharp, Joey Baron, Zeena Parkins, Ars Nova ensemble instrumental.

Complexe + Nature

Jeudi, 20h, À l’Usine C

Andrea Gozzi et Francesco Casciaro présentent Dot Plot, dialogue improvisé via le PrintStrument, sorte de synthétiseur polyphonique électromécanique conçu à partir d’une imprimante matricielle. De la compositrice d’origine mexicaine Nashim Gargari, on aura droit à Ensifera Ventum et Glaciar and Blue Whale, quête d’unité avec la science, les arts visuels et l’environnement. La compositrice canadienne Rose Bolton présentera ensuite The Blinding, évocation sonore du fonctionnement de la mémoire. S’ensuit Live Somewhere du Québécois Philippe Vandal, qui travaille ici sur nos problèmes de perception induits par la saturation d’informations. Le numéro suivant s’intitule Spiel; la performeuse Nien Tzu Weng exploitera le concept «pour bouche préparée» de Michael Montanaro et de Tatev Yesayan. Après quoi le compositeur québécois Georges Forget offrira Eurosignal, inspiré d’un ancien système de radiomessagerie (téléavertisseur, pager). La soirée se conclut par Les Hexacordes bien synthétisés, micro-pièces explorant les 35 hexacordes de la «pitch class set theory» d’Allen Forte.

Chaos + Émergent

Vendredi, 20h, À l’Usine C

La soirée Chaos + Émergent réunira d’abord les Italiens Francesco Canavese et Francesco Giomi, qui exécuteront The SDENG Project, exploration des relations entre le live electronic et l’improvisation. La pièce Thunderdrone, des Espagnols Diego de León et Manu Retamero, témoignera de leur expertise en conception de synthétiseurs et de l’influence qu’ils exercent sur le genre glitch-ambient ou même la techno. Par la suite, la Québécoise Myriam Bleau nous offrira un de ses systèmes audiovisuels dont elle a le secret… quelque part entre l’installation et la performance musicale intégrant l’électroacoustique, la techno, la pop ou le hip-hop. Myriam Bleau sera suivie de l’Allemand Markus Mehr, dont l’œuvre Liquid Empires résulte de subtils traitements d’enregistrements sous-marins… glou glou! Ce programme sera coiffé de Giant Claw, œuvre singulière de l’artiste audiovisuel américain Keith Rankin.

Viva l’Italia!

Samedi, 20h, À l’Usine C

À l’évidence, la présence italienne domine le 15e festival Akousma, le programme de clôture en fera l’éloquente démonstration. D’abord au menu sera diffusée la pièce Valence du Montréalais Ilyaa Ghafouri, un diplômé du Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, sous la tutelle de Louis Dufort, en l’occurrence le directeur artistique d’Akousma. Ensuite, les compositeurs italiens uniront leurs forces: Francesco Casciaro, Francesco Canavese, Francesco Giomi et Andrea Gozzi diffuseront un florilège d’œuvres les ayant marqués; o Down de Gabriele Marangoni pour quatre performeurs; Chants parallèles du brillantissime Luciano Berio; Microclima II de Marco Dibeltulu, imprégnée de musiques traditionnelles de Sardaigne; Scabro de Francesco Giomi, de facture «rugueuse, rustre, rude et impolie»; Otkaz [de] Simonluca Laitempergher, fondée sur le principe d’oktaz, point précis où un mouvement s’arrête et un autre s’amorce.

… dans des conditions acoustiques on ne peut plus optimales…

Review

TJ Norris, Toneshift, 6 octobre 2018
samedi 6 octobre 2018 Presse

Mistpouffers is a selection of three compositions completed between 2014-16, composed by French artist and improviser eRikm. Each piece runs approximately 17-18 minutes in length with two based on 8-channel fixed medium and one in stereo. Opening with Draugalimur where, poof like smoke, the setting is a quiet distant storm, some electronic squiggles and free-floating static. This is eRikm working in an atmosphere where a pin could be heard dropping, that is until a narrator like a public radio host, in French, reads from a text. The wind howls and electro-waves are emitted. While listening I gaze upon the cover image of a cliffside that starts to resemble a human skull. No you are not seeing things, like a mirage — it’s an in-situ illusion, only emphasized by a military jet flying past, from ear to ear as someone gasps for air. This dichotomy between air space and breathlessness is likely key to the narrative. The eerie unexpectedness here is quite palpable.

Sonic boom? By occupying the space with layered field recordings, simple thing like chewing, and rummaging — with a silky drone and changing percussive parameters eRikm has developed a psycho-social space that is as inventive as it is cinematic. The whispers, the hive drone, the bouncing punctuation, all make his acoustic theatrics rife for live presentation, and perfect for visual listeners. Moving on to Poudre, which opens in darkness to creaking of chairs, or perhaps thunderclap or is it fireworks, or gunfire? The question mark here is the tension. With even the slight laughter heard int he mostly engaged crowd scene it would be menacing one way, and exhilarating another. But it seems to walk that fine line. The title translates to powder (and in gun powder) and this work does seem to float on air with the spirit of a nighttime curfew. It’s singular shots are disarming so to speak — “the bombs bursting in air” and so on. In wartime these echoes have a cerebral resonance that is unmistakable.

Just after midpoint this layered field recording sounds like either a grande finale or a full-on battle. It’s actually quite disturbing, it’s chaotic imprint, relentless. At one point it’s literally just a wash of savage white noise. But the reverie switches up its candor on L’aire de la Moure 2. There are shadows of a dark kingdom interrupted by a happily chirping winged beast. The intermittent grey drone casts and draws as these treated bird samples are deployed like abstract illusions. eRikm has concocted a blend of granular electronics, a female narrator and low flying planes that zoom from air shot. The tingling microsound invades as though it’s evaporating over the spoken word.

It’s an atonal radio play that seems to be collecting data in a laboratory. Small actions like pulling a topper from a cask, as well as elongated high tones create a focused format for deep listening — all ears on the speaker, and though I do not speak much français my ears can translate this as a scanner of the mind. Static like fire, and a series of slingshot thwapping are a peculiar combination alongside a deep bird caw. With so many constant variables you’d think this recording would be a schizo delusion but it’s not at all, it keeps your minds ear constantly pricked within this composer’s cosmic adventure.

The tingling microsound invades as though it’s evaporating over the spoken word.

Review

Kevin Press, Badd Press, 5 octobre 2018
vendredi 5 octobre 2018 Presse

Sweden’s Åke Parmerud has assembled four acousmatic works dating between 1990 and 1995 on a must-have collection of out-of-print recordings. (Acousmatic is an electroacoustic subgenre composed for presentation with speakers rather than live instruments.)

These powerful, sometimes disturbing recordings all date back to the mid-1990s. Thematically and artistically, each has maintained extraordinary relevance.

Grains of Voices came out of an invitation to produce a piece of music drama for Swedish Radio. “I decided to make a composition concerning the human voice, its symbolic implications and its musical applications,” writes Parmerud in the album’s notes. “The sound of the voice is a striking symbol of the unity of mankind.”

He recorded the voices in-person, inviting speakers and singers to share anything they wished. “This way I did not (with a few exceptions) control what went into the composition, only what came out.” Parmerud describes the 31-minute work as “a multilayered, cross-cultural hybrid piece of sonic art.”

Jeux imaginaires (or Imaginary Games) was inspired by the 1992 World Chess Championship match between Anatoli Karpov and Garry Kasparov. Aside from a middle section that sounds like a frenetic game of park chess, the work is a study of the parallels between the game and composing music.

“Every night after ending my composing session in the studio I played the game (or maybe only a few moves) on my portable chessboard. Apart from it being a nice way to turn my attention away from pure musical problems for a while, I found that playing the game made me more and more aware of the likeness between chess playing and composing. … [P]laying the game as a small ritual every night released new musical ideas and composing energy without necessarily creating detectable parallels between the music and the game itself.”

Les objets obscurs (Hidden Objects) is a musique concrète piece in four parts. Or more precisely, a meta-musique concrète piece.

We’re presented with riddles (in French) having to do with the source of the sounds used. The answers are offered musically. “In the end of the last movement the ‘solution’ of all the riddles is presented. These answers, however, set up a new ‘inner’ riddle, to which no answer is given.”

Finally, Alias explores “the duality of outer and inner existence, here interpreted through the life, music and destiny of the Renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa (1560-1613).”

Gesualdo is a controversial 16th/17th century figure. As a composer, he’s considered to have been hundreds of years ahead of his time. As a human being on the other hand, he’s remembered for the gruesome double murder of his wife and her lover.

Alias is not, however, an attempt to illustrate the shifting identities of Gesualdo,” writes Parmerud, “but is rather, in a wider sense, inspired by thoughts on the relationship between the artist and the work of art.”

That being said, it’s difficult not to let the mind wander over the course of these two dramatic movements. Like the others on this important new compilation, it is a powerful work.

… it is a powerful work.

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