Blog // Archive // By Date // 2004 // April

30 April 2004

Mutek_rec, a label with close ties with Montréal’s popular electronic music festival, present its new release, Flüux :/ Terminal from duo Skoltz_Kolgen. This album is a stereophonic adaptation of their renowned performance for 2 hybrid computers and 2 video screens.

blogue@nouv-7390 nouv@7390
25 April 2004
By Ingvar Loco Nordin in Sonoloco Record Reviews (Sweden), April 25, 2004

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“… formidable; delicate and intense, transparent and edgy, elastic and firm; spiritually uplifting.”

Bernard Fort is quite a familiar name to me, even from before the glory days of the Internet, when information about electroacoustics was harder to come by, and the acquisition of such illusive products even harder… I recall that I used to write letters and send real live money to the GRM (Groupe de recherches musicales), Luc Ferrari’s studio, Jean Schwarz’s studio Celia and the GMVL; Groupe de musiques vivantes de Lyon, which is where I got CDs by Xavier Garcia, Jacques Lejeune, Marc Favre, and… Bernard Fort. For example, I acquired his famous 12 haïku; L’impatience des limites on the GMVL label. Later I also got a stack of GMVL CDs for reviewing, sent from somewhere in Sweden. It turned out that Fort has relatives here in Swedenland, and that he had brought some CDs with him here, to send me from within the country.

My first experience of Bernard Fort’s art arrived with Cultures électroniques volume 7, from the 1993 Bourges competition, where Fort participates with two prize winners; 12 haïku pour la paix céleste and one of the pieces present on this empreintes DIGITALes CD; L’impatience des limites.

These were my thoughts on L’impatience des limites — which is the first piece presented on this CD — when I first dipped into it: “Somebody sighs in the seclusion of his situation, or maybe yawns. Sounds of wind or of breath surround him. It becomes more and more apparent that the almost imperceptible sounds of yawns, sighs, breaths, hawking and other non-sounds or involuntary sounds build up the scene for this piece on time and the properties of time, and the loneliness of someone spending time alone, in the raging absence of someone who shouldn’t be absent but present. Thin layers of time are stratified in this sound world, stratified and archived. Sometimes this music is a gravel pit of frictional time layers, sand and pebbles gliding down the sides, layers of different age mixing with each other, in fact resulting in the production of the essence of time, which may be nothing more than… sifting sand, dust in the wind, ashes to ashes, dust to dust… and a gray mist rising above the desert floor, like a distant memory receding into gentle regions of amnesia… but later in the work the sense of sand and dust is transformed, through the eerie anguish of too much loneliness and a rumbling, deafening upsurge of feelings, into the sense of ocean, of water, of roaring water and of rippling water, and of water through the air in cleansing rainstorms across thirsty landscapes…”

Now I might add a feeling of a very gentle touch, the gesture of a hand lifting a portrait off of a shelf, dusting it off carefully, while holding it up to the face, the eyes focused in a stillness of remembrance — while the seconds of the moment fall away like scared jackdaws ’round a bicyclist across a misty field. There is an intense privacy contained in this work, a predicament too personal even to be told, except in art, in these electroacoustic coming-to-terms…

Aside from these feelings that this work might invoke, another statement would be that Fort’s skill at sound art is formidable; delicate and intense, transparent and edgy, elastic and firm; spiritually uplifting.

The second work on Lumière dans la nuit is La paix de l’entendre, which is dedicated “to Philippe Leroux for his ardor in battle, to François Bayle for Transparence du purgatoire”.

Bernard Fort — like myself — is an ornithologist… as can be heard at the beginning of this work, opening in a quite natural and unaltered — but maybe slightly edited? — pastoral bird habitat, with all kinds of water birds and the addition of crows and other feathered friends, including the nightingale. Yes, it’s a formidable birdwatcher’s haven, this piece! The birdies shift position; the heron distancing himself while the nightingale comes closer. I’m waiting for that unavoidable moment when the electroacoustician cuts into this framework and starts treating the birdies like instruments or sounding objects, or as mere sound sources for his lustful manipulations, and at 3:25 Fort kicks in, transforming the winged wanderers into ecstatic carriers of sonic adventures beyond their natural faculty. Growls extend threatening out of primeval environments, and softer calls from less frightening but still prehistoric beings rise in shrill, thin glissandi through the millennia. Some deeper sounds, from pigeons or black grouses, serve as a backdrop, a firm and steady animalistic rumbling, for higher and sharper sounds out of unheard of beaks, and you feel the red stare out of intense bird eyes, the lids coming up from below. Some of these sounds are outright comic, while the soundscape for the most part invokes visions of serene and alien beauty. The soundscape shifts in and out of manipulated conditions, sometimes rising in front of us like English wetlands, while at times receding into Beatleish fantasies; a magical mystery tour through psychedelic frames of mind… and the transition can be elusive, almost indiscernible, until you suddenly realize that you’ve been lured into the wild forests of forlorn Liliputs… Crows dare a vigilant approach, crowing right in your face, just like the Crows of Death in Åke Hodell’s The Djurgården Ferry Across the River Styx.

The concluding piece is Silence radieux, with the added dedication “to my children.” It’s quite a thought-through and well-planned work, as the composer’s notes reveal. It’s an attempt to “stimulate mental images” as well as expressing “a lively, active and serene inner silence”. The sound sources are drawn from a winter walk in the mountains, with crunching snow etcetera, and field recordings from the same area in the summer. Fort says that he wants to “extract abstract material that runs just below the surface of the realistic sound image.”

Thudding, elastic sounds, like whispers or rustling leaves in sweeping motions, open the piece, which indeed portrays a sole situation, the feeling of being by yourself somewhere outdoors, without any negative nuances to the feeling or the perception. Soon the crunching rhythm of the walk appears, while thin, drawn-out gestures of high-pitch transparency keeps an elusive distance, at times approaching closer, in fast by-passes. I feel like this music simply opens a space of the moment around a walking person, also taking into account the soaring and wheezing of brain-waves and random thoughts, flying up and fluttering around like gusts of wind from the lake. There is something holy about the concept of moment, in time, in space — and I feel that Bernard Fort emits some of this holiness in this work.

blogue@press-790 press@790
25 April 2004
By Lawrence English in Time Off (Australia), April 25, 2004

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While Bleak 1999 begins with a rhythmic pattern that’s anything but engaging, this 73-minute composed work does take on a strong sense of direction and form over its course. Pieces like the hauntingly spatial Cefuroxime carry with them a darker edge - the melody of the piece creating an unsettling feeling in the listener.

This feeling is echoed in the gentle chaos of pieces like Input fluid, which is anything but liquid in its form. The use of rhythm in this composition is possibly its weakest point, with the techno-inspired loops feeling a little out of place. Then again, perhaps this only adds to the sonic confusion… 3/5

blogue@press-791 press@791
22 April 2004

Composers Natasha Barrett and Denis Smalley will each premiere a new composition for the Sonorities festival of contemporary music, held in Belfast (Northern Irland) from April 23 to May 1, 2004. Natasha Barrett presents her new work, Abemolpas, April 27. This concert also features works by Christian Calon and Elio Martusciello. The following day, April 28, Denis Smalley will premiere his new composition, entitled Resounding. On, April 29 the concert will feature works by Robert Normandeau and Jonty Harrison. Finally, the May 1 concert will showcase the works of Barry Truax, including the latest “remix” of his classic composition Riverrun

blogue@nouv-7387 nouv@7387
21 April 2004

Composer Michelle Boudreau invites you to the launch of her new CD. Des passages de Charnière et autres pièces, Tuesday May 25, 2004 at the Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur in Montréal, starting at 5pm. The evening, based on the themes of mutness and contradiciton, will feature a selection of silent videos, screened at each half-hour.

blogue@nouv-7384 nouv@7384
21 April 2004

Japanese choreographer Yoshito Ohno used an excerpt from StrinGDberg, a composition by Robert Normandeau, for his new work performed by Lucie Grégoire and presented at Montréal’s Agora de la danse from May 11 to 15, 2004.

blogue@nouv-7386 nouv@7386