Review

Alison Melville, The WholeNote, no 9:7, 1 avril 2004

Another in empreintes DIGITALes’s series of excellent electroacoustic CDs, this disc features three “essential” works by France’s Bernard Fort. The composer’s self-described modus operandi is “to fix time on media, then to penetrate it through slow motion, to experiment with duration, [and] to explore the depth of acoustic images.” The results of his work recorded here, written between 1992 and 2002, are striking and provocative.

The program opens with L’impatience des limites, an electroacoustic reflection on the nature of time. It’s rather like a sonic answer to some Zen koan which asks, “what is the sound of life passing by?” - in fact all three pieces are Fort’s responses to this question - and its breadth and spaciousness is mesmerizing. La paix de l’entendre, for which the composer manipulated a recording made in a small boat as it sat for hours in the middle of an enormous lake, provides a different sort of aural meditation. Given the many ornithological contributions throughout the piece, it is perhaps worth mentioning that its premiere, most appropriately, took place in the Salle Olivier Messiaen in Paris. For the third work, Silence radieux, Fort’s original material was recorded on a winter’s walk and on the same route taken- in summer. Perhaps the most ethereal work on the disc, it explores an abstract sound world just underneath the surface of a “real” one; and again the results are philosophically provocative.

While some readers might not consider this to be “music” as it is more strictly defined, Fort’s works are his own unique explorations of the “music of life”, and provide many terraced moments of wonderment.

… the results are philosophically provocative.

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