Elainie Lillios is a brilliant composer whose solo electroacoustic debut Entre espaces has just been released on the Empreintes DIGITALes label. For those who may be unfamiliar with the term “electroacoustic,” it refers to a wide variety of electronic music. The genre is somewhat broad, as it covers a wide range of sound experimentation. Some of the forms include musique concrete, computer music, tape music — basically electronic music of all sorts. It is no surprise that she is recording for Empreintes DIGITALes, who are one of the most innovative labels around.
The seven works that make up Entre espaces (“between spaces”) were realized between 1998-2007. Most musicians would probably agree that the biggest hindrances to their creativity are time and freedom. On these two fronts, Elainie has been afforded remarkable autonomy, and the results speak for themselves. With a total running time of 72:53, we certainly get our money’s worth with this disc. More importantly though is the fact that Elainie utilizes all of the tools at her command, and has created an all-encompassing sonic landscape.
The disc opens with Dreams in the Desert (10:45), an evocative title for a piece whose overriding theme is that of water. She introduces a number of intriguing changes to propel us along, all to great effect. One of the greatest aspects of purely instrumental music like this is the opportunity it affords the listener to hear whatever they want to in the tones. Dreams in the Desert is a perfect example. I initially listened to Entre espaces without looking at the song titles or brief explanatory pieces included in the package. For me, the music conjured up images of a journey upriver, with stops at various places along the way. I think it is a great credit to Elainie Lillios’ talent that her music works so well in conveying whatever the audience wishes it to.
The longest piece of the set is also the most dissonant. Stumbling Dance (14:45) begins with some very abstract sounds, which continue throughout. The track was composed in 1998-99, making it one of the earliest of the set. It is also one of the most demanding, and shows just how adventurous a writer Elainie has always been.
There is something to be said for every one of the seven compositions on Entre espaces, but the one I found myself most entranced with is Arturo (13:35). The mysterious nature of the composition is what first attracted me, and as Elainie’s notes explain, this impression was well-founded. “Arturo is a tarot card reader who requests his visitors to ‘please let me answer your questions before you ask them,’ “ she writes. Her musical impression of him is fascinating on a number of levels.
The disc closes with the appropriately titled Listening Beyond (8:20). The otherworldly nature of Elainie Lillios’ music is perfectly encapsulated here. In her own words, the composition “Explores the relationship between sound and silence and their intersection in space.” What is between the spaces? On Entre espaces Elainie Lillios attempts to show us some of the infinite possibilities, and one gets the feeling that she has barely scratched the surface.
This is a remarkable disc.