Review

Richard di Santo, Incursion Music Review, no 038, 14 octobre 2001

This new disc by Montréal based electroacoustic composer Gilles Gobeil picks up where his last disc, La mécanique des ruptures (also on empreintes DIGITALes), left off. It presents four compositions from 1995 through 2001. The first piece, Derrière la porte la plus éloignée… (1998) is punctuated by deep, broad and dynamic breaths. The piece undergoes a series of dramatic and earth-shattering changes, revealing an incomprehensible intensity and concentration of sound similar in spirit to what I found on his previous record. The next three pieces take their inspiration from works of fiction. Projet Proust (1995, 2001) incorporates a reading of the first few pages of Proust’s Du côté de chez Swann (Swann’s Way) with a constantly shifting sound field. Point de passage (1997) is an adaptation of HG WellsThe Time Machine, but there is no narration; instead the adaptation is manifested with pure sound, strange machinery and metallic clamouring. The fourth and final piece is based on Jules Verne’s Voyage au centre de la terre (Journey to the Centre of the Earth), having found its inspiration in Verne’s fantastic accounts of the underworld. Gobeil’s vision as seen through these four compositions is characteristically dark and surreal. The dynamic and shifting nature of his sounds is truly remarkable; they occupy a broad trajectory on the stereo spectrum, and seem reach out from their confines into the space around you. This is difficult listening, the kind of music that pulls the carpet from under your feet and sends you headfirst into an unsteady and nightmarish world. So it’s not for everyone, nor is it for everyday listening, but it’s a fascinating trip nonetheless. Nicely done.

… the kind of music that pulls the carpet from under your feet and sends you headfirst into an unsteady and nightmarish world.

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