Blog // Archive // By Date // 2010 // September

30 September 2010
By Russell Cuzner in Musique Machine (UK), September 30, 2010


“… a highly stimulating and engaging piece of electroacoustic theatre that will leave its audiences chilled and inspired.”

Exploring the possibilities of sound on tape has preoccupied Francis Dhomont since the 40s. His compositions tend to exclusively focus on the manipulation and morphological interplay of natural sounds that are ‘performed’ acousmatically, diffused across a range of loudspeakers. Approaching eighty years’ of age, Dhomont has chosen Kafka as his latest existential theme, following work that centred on the writings on mental illness by controversial psychiatrist RD Laing and the Freudian interpretations of fairy tales by Bruno Bettelheim. The sleevenotes of Études pour Kafka make it clear that these are preliminary studies for a longer, unreleased work, called Le cri du Choucas.

Premières traces du Choucas, the first study of three presented here, is the most sinister. Its suspenseful shifting drones, seemingly sourced from neither glass nor metal but closest perhaps to taught strings, immediately place the listener in an alert, suspicious state describing the walls of a pitch dark tunnel in which unseen automatons scurry and mechanical insects swarm. Dhomont’s spectral filters ensure that the majority of layers have a digitised sheen that obscures their origins, expanding and contracting to create stealthy movements not unlike creeping around Nurse With Wound’s extended soundpools. Occasionally a short moan or syllable is detectable, but distortion and stuttering make the struggle to communicate frighteningly futile.

Human voice is used most extensively on the second piece, Brief an den Vater, which focuses on a narrator reading a letter from Kafka to his father (itself, a failed attempt at articulating why he was so scared of him, which remained unsent), but is also accompanied by a rich bed of tones seemingly created from treated vocal syllables that writhe and fluctuate as they intrude on the reading in an ominous and unstable manner. Both the discernible words and their corruptions are occasionally introduced by the turning of paper and the strong, hurried scribbling of the writer’s pen, presenting the album’s most lucid of sonic meditations on Kafka’s behaviour, while moody, atonal utterances both flood softly and chatter violently with a steely finish potentially describing the inner trauma accompanying the writer’s outward attempts to articulate.

Digitally twisted vocal fragments continue to dominate the last ‘study’, À propos de K, joined again by metallic and glassy tones slicing wraith-like through air, but also interspersed with footsteps on land and in shallow water. This combination fills the irregular aborted attempts to speak with panic, and describes the hopelessness of escape and confusion that Kafka’s protagonists often endured.

Having said that, the title and sleevenotes prime the listener to consider what they know about Kafka’s life and literature before the sounds start to form any allusions. Had the title been Études pour Ballard, or pour Orwell, it would have perhaps been just as easy to connect the sinister, nightmarish sounds to their work. In view of this, Kafka can be considered more a compositional tool, a starting point from which these studies were determined and, as such, the work stands in its own right as a highly stimulating and engaging piece of electroacoustic theatre that will leave its audiences chilled and inspired.


blogue@press-4257 press@4257
29 September 2010

We suggest you check out Revue & corrigée #85 by Various artists, the latest addition to our shop.

23 September 2010
By Réjean Beaucage in Voir (Québec), September 23, 2010


“À découvrir également: 24 Frames, une nouvelle collaboration entre Brady (à la guitare électrique) et le vidéaste Martin Messier.”

Tim Brady compose une œuvre sur des paroles de Michel Rivard pour le 25e anniversaire de l’Orchestre symphonique de Laval. Wow!

Le directeur musical de l’Orchestre symphonique de Laval (OSL), Alain Trudel, a préparé un programme si alléchant pour l’ouverture de la saison qu’on a dû prévoir un spectacle supplémentaire! Il y aura l’ouverture-fantaisie Roméo et Juliette, de Tchaïkovski, mais surtout, il y aura Alain Lefèvre et le Concerto no 4 d’André Mathieu (faut-il rappeler que les concerts de l’OSL se donnent à la salle André-Mathieu?). Mais ce n’est pas tout! L’OSL a aussi commandé une œuvre à son compositeur en résidence, Tim Brady, et ce dernier a obtenu la collaboration de l’auteur Michel Rivard, qui a écrit un texte que chantera le baryton Michael Donovan.

Le tandem Rivard/Brady est relativement surprenant, l’auteur-compositeur-interprète et le guitariste éclectique n’évoluant guère dans le même registre. Brady explique: «En avril 2007, je participais à un projet du CBC Orchestra, le Canadian Songbook [et rappelons que c’est Alain Trudel qui le dirigeait jusqu’à son démantèlement en 2008]. J’avais été engagé pour faire des arrangements de pièces des Guess Who. C’est là que j’ai rencontré Michel Rivard et que nous avons découvert que nous avions beaucoup de choses en commun; nous avons parlé aussi bien de Varèse et Messiaen que de Zappa! C’était juste avant que je commence mon poste à l’OSL. J’avais déjà le projet d’une grande œuvre vocale, mais je n’avais pas de texte…»

Cherchant un texte original en français, Brady s’est rapidement rendu compte qu’il venait de se faire un ami possédant une certaine expérience dans le domaine! «Quand je lui ai proposé de le faire, explique Brady, il a immédiatement accepté, en me disant qu’il cherchait précisément un projet pouvant le sortir de sa zone de confort.» Il ne pouvait pas vraiment en sortir davantage qu’en collaborant à la création d’une œuvre symphonique contemporaine! «Dès que j’ai lu sa première page de texte, poursuit Brady, la musique était déjà dans ma tête.» En amour, en hiver, de Tim Brady et Michel Rivard: à découvrir!

À découvrir également: 24 Frames, une nouvelle collaboration entre Brady (à la guitare électrique) et le vidéaste Martin Messier. Ils ont présenté l’œuvre au festival Bang on a Can à New York, avec beaucoup de succès, et le referont le 4 octobre à la Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur.

blogue@press-4248 press@4248
21 September 2010

Natasha Barrett, Alessandro Massobrio, and Fabio Orsi will participate in the workshop on Movement of acoustic images on October 29 and 30, 2010 as part of the Live!iXem festival in Milan (Italy).

  • Visit the Live!iXem 2010 event web site — 7: International festival of music, mixed media and experimental electronic art: October 29-30, 2010, Milan, Italy
blogue@nouv-9724 nouv@9724
15 September 2010

The Foundation Destellos has announced the results of the 3rd edition of its International competition of electroacoustic composition: Adam Stanović has received the first prize for his work Escapade, the Motus Prize has been awarded to El espejo de Alicia by Federico Schumacher Ratti, and the Phonos Prize has been awarded to Métal en bouche by Georges Forget. Mentions were also awarded to works by Franco Alberto Pellini, Éric Broitmann, Ambrose Seddon, Luciano Giambastiani, and Elainie Lillios.

blogue@nouv-9725 nouv@9725
9 September 2010

Paul Dolden will premiere his work The Un-Tempered Orchestra on the opening night concert of the SinusTon festival in Magdeburger (Germany), October 14 to 18, 2010.

  • Visit the SinusTon 2010 event web site — 2: Magdeburger Tage zur elektroakustischen Musik: October 14-16, 2010, Magdeburg, Germany
blogue@nouv-9723 nouv@9723