The Electroacoustic Music Store

Travaux mécaniques Nicolas Bernier

  • Total duration: 48:13
  • UCC 771028211494
  • Musicaction • SODEC

DVD-Audio — Advanced Resolution: Surround 3.1 / 5.1 (MLP 4424) + Stereo (MLP 4424) •• DVD-Video [NTSC, multi-region]: Surround 3.1 / 5.1 (DTS, Dolby Digital) + Stereo (4824) •• DVD-ROM: MP3 (320 kbps), AAC (320 kbps) files

Nicolas Bernier is certainly one of the most prolific of the younger generation of electroacoustic composers. Mostly known for his performances, installations, and atmospheric music, he signs here a first album of musique concrète / acousmatics. We will again find his clever amalgam of aesthetic influences to which he has accustomed us, but in his most daring bill. A unique blend of musique concrète made of exalted ruptures (Liaisons mécaniques), felted drones (Les chambres de l’atelier), electrifying sound bursts (Antithèse électronique, Writing Machine), and with a bit of vehemence (Dans le ventre de la machine). A must.

Travaux mécaniques

Nicolas Bernier

IMED 12114 / 2012

Some Recommended Items

In the Press

  • Roberto Mandolini, Ondarock, Monday, December 24, 2012
    Nelle sue mani il suono acquista qualità microscopiche, calibrando le orecchie su dettagli apparentemente impercettibili.
  • François Couture, CFLX 95.5 FM, Tuesday, December 11, 2012
    … crème de la crème in demanding music…
  • multipara, De:Bug, no. 164, Monday, July 2, 2012
    … dräuende Passagen zwischen dramatische Zuspitzungen und Überraschungsmomente, aber Bernier bietet hier so viele Klangentdeckungen auf, so viel spielerische Neugier, dass Düsternis nie Oberhand gewinnt.
  • Bad Alchemy, no. 74, Sunday, July 1, 2012
  • Enrico Bettinello, Blow Up, no. 170-171, Sunday, July 1, 2012
  • RNE3: Atmósfera, Friday, June 1, 2012
    … es una mezcla única de música concreta hecha a base de rupturas exacerbadas, drones y sonidos electrizantes.
  • Sasha Van der Speeten, 22tracks, Monday, May 7, 2012
  • Frans De Waard, Vital, no. 830, Monday, May 7, 2012
    Sounds tumble about…
  • Greg Barbrick, Blogcritics Music, Thursday, May 3, 2012
    It shows just how effective this music can be when a composer of Bernier’s obvious talent treats sound as an all-encompassing ecosystem.
  • François Couture, Monsieur Délire, Tuesday, April 24, 2012
    Possibly Bernier’s most dynamic record to date.

Recensione

Roberto Mandolini, Ondarock, Monday, December 24, 2012

Dopo il meraviglioso strings.lines, il canadese Nicolas Bernier ha pubblicato un altrettanto suggestivo album per la tedesca Hronir (usure.paysage) e un doppio cd per l’etichetta specializzata in ambient music, Home Normal (Music for a Piano; Music for a Book). Sempre del 2012 è Travaux mécaniques, presentato dalla Empreintes Digitales nella solita elegante veste di DVD-Audio custodito in un bel box di cartone. Al suo interno cinque nuove tracce di Bernier presentate in surround 3.1/5.1, stereo, mp3 e aac (320kbps).

Dans le ventre de la machine è la personale “battaglia” del compositore canadese contro la “macchina”. Nel senso letterario del termine: Nicolas entra nel corpo di un dispositivo meccanico costruito da un amico carpentiere e ne descrive la natura con l’aiuto di un sensore piezoelettrico e un microfono a contatto. Sul finale si sentono le parole del celebre discorso di Mario Savio tenuto nel 1964 davanti agli attivisti di Berkeley.

Cresciuto in pieno evo digitale, Bernier sente nostalgia per quei dispositivi che gli ricordano l’infanzia: cineprese, videoregistratori o semplicemente vecchi giocattoli. Liaisons mécaniques è una descrizione acustica di tali oggetti, un racconto per suoni di superfici ricche di particolari.

Le suggestioni spaziali di Les chambres de l’atelier sono più evidenti ascoltate nella versione surround 5.1, ma anche nel più canonico formato stereo rendono bene la capacità di Bernier di descrivere spazi utilizzando solo gli “effetti”, creando forti dinamiche e giocando sulle profondità. Nelle sue mani il suono acquista qualità microscopiche, calibrando le orecchie su dettagli apparentemente impercettibili.

Nelle sue mani il suono acquista qualità microscopiche, calibrando le orecchie su dettagli apparentemente impercettibili.

Délire actuel’s 2012 Demanding Music Top 30

François Couture, CFLX 95.5 FM, Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The demanding music radio show Délire actuel (CFLX-FM 95.5, Sherbrooke, Quebec) unveiled today its top 30 experimental music albums you shouldn’t have missed in 2012. This list culls 30 titles, the 2012 crème de la crème in demanding music, i.e. the avant-gardist or experimental fringe in every music genre (contemporary, avant-garde jazz, free improvisation, avant-rock, electronica, etc.). […]

… crème de la crème in demanding music…

Kritik

multipara, De:Bug, no. 164, Monday, July 2, 2012

Letztes Jahr, auf seiner LP für Hrönir, zog Bernier aus seiner Faszination für die Geräusche und Artikulationen kleiner und großer Mechaniken einen beklemmenden Fabrikhorrorfilm. Auch auf Travaux mécaniques (DVD-Audio) reihen sich dräuende Passagen zwischen dramatische Zuspitzungen und Überraschungsmomente, aber Bernier bietet hier so viele Klangentdeckungen auf, so viel spielerische Neugier, dass Düsternis nie Oberhand gewinnt. Und er wirft immer wieder Schlaglichter auf weitere musikalische Interessen: eine kurze Raster-Noton-artige Verarbeitung einer Math-Rock-Beatstruktur zur Einleitung, durchweg immer wieder Einsprengsel melodischer Instrumentalklänge sowie die Verwendung von Sprachmaterial, ganz zentral im letzten Stück, das William S Burroughs’ Methodik auf ihn selbst anwendet, um im Zusammenspiel mit der eigenen Herangehensweise in einen wunderbaren Strudel der Selbstreferenz zu tauchen: Der Maschine wie der Collage ist in der Akusmatik natürlich nicht zu entkommen, sie sind ihr eingeschrieben.

… dräuende Passagen zwischen dramatische Zuspitzungen und Überraschungsmomente, aber Bernier bietet hier so viele Klangentdeckungen auf, so viel spielerische Neugier, dass Düsternis nie Oberhand gewinnt.

Elettroacustica

Enrico Bettinello, Blow Up, no. 170-171, Sunday, July 1, 2012

Crítica

RNE3: Atmósfera, Friday, June 1, 2012

Nicolas Bernier es sin duda uno de los más prolíficos artistas de la joven generación de compositores electroacústicos. Principalmente conocido por sus performances, instalaciones, y su música atmosférica, nos llega su primer álbum de música concreta y Acusmática. El background de Bernier se centra en los microsonidos, el ambient y el Glitch. Utiliza los sonidos de las máquinas de escribir, las grabaciones de campo, las máquinas viejas y algunas veces instrumentos. En este trabajo nuevo trabajo de Nicolas Bernier: Travaux mécaniques, volvemos a encontrar su inteligente amalgama de influencias estéticas a las que nos tiene acostumbrados, pero de forma más audaz. Travaux mécaniques es una mezcla única de música concreta hecha a base de rupturas exacerbadas, drones y sonidos electrizantes.

… es una mezcla única de música concreta hecha a base de rupturas exacerbadas, drones y sonidos electrizantes.

Review

Sasha Van der Speeten, 22tracks, Monday, May 7, 2012

Review

Frans De Waard, Vital, no. 830, Monday, May 7, 2012

Why Empreintes Digitales sometimes releases CDs and sometimes DVDs I am not sure of. The DVDs are not related to films, but contain 24-bit audio (as opposed to 16-bit on a normal CD) and surround versions. Maybe there are no surround sound versions available of the works they put on CD?

Here are two DVDs releases, and Nicolas Bernier seems a bit of an odd ball in the more academic serious world of Empreintes Digitales. His background is more in the microsound, ambient, glitch music and has had releases on Cronica, Ahornfelder, Leerraum and Home Normal. He uses the sounds of typewriters, field recordings, tuning forks, old machines and sometimes even real instruments. Yet on Travaux mécaniques his music sounds remarkable alike his peers on this label, save perhaps for the opening Antithèse électronique, which is an odd one minute laptop punk song. In the four other pieces sounds stumble about, with incidents happening all over the place. Writing Machine is an ode to William S Burroughs, cutting up a spoken word performance, along with the heavily processed sounds thereof and the sounds of a typewriter. Quite vibrant music, swiftly moving about with a great sense of drama. Not fully absorbed by the world of serious academic electronic music, this is quite an enjoyable work by someone who hasn’t fully understood — quite rightly as it turns out — the exact rules of composing, but follows his own path and makes his own great music.

Adrian Moore has a more serious background, with various studies and degrees in the UK and France and is a teacher. He operates more within the strict rules of composing this kind of acousmatic music, and even crosses the line towards classical music with his Fields of Darkness and Light for violin and electronics. […] In the other pieces he may use instruments too, but they are less recognizable (such as in 3Pieces [with] piano, horn and violin). Sounds tumble about, with glissandi working on and off and the whole thing has quite learned character. […]

Sounds tumble about…

Music Review

Greg Barbrick, Blogcritics Music, Thursday, May 3, 2012

Discussions of “The soul of the machine” have been going on since at least the time of the Luddites, and probably since the debut of the wheel. This is one of the reasons that I enjoy the new Nicolas Bernier album Travaux mécaniques so much. On this new DVD-Audio, Bernier explores the subject primarily through the use of electronic music, which makes for a nice bit of irony.

The five tracks that make up Travaux mécaniques are concerned with the sounds of industry in many different forms. One description of the album would be to call it musique concrete. That term certainly applies, but there is much more to this recording than that somewhat simplified musical categorization would imply. There is no doubt in my mind that each of the five pieces were deeply thought out, yet the overall effect sounds random. This speaks to the compositional talents of Nicolas Bernier, for it must be a very difficult thing to make music that sounds as if the machines are playing themselves.

For this listener, one of the most compelling tracks is Les chambres de l’atelier (10:48). As Bernier describes it in his liner notes, the piece is “The workshop. A place of sudden agitation, of ideas both clear and unclear that disappear just as quickly as they surge.” During this track, both electric and non-electric sounds converge to create a mysterious and oddly intriguing ambience.

Even more fascinating to me is Writing Machine (15:28). The piece is inspired by the famous “cut-up” writing technique of William S Burroughs, and “By some similarities between his writing, and electroacoustic composition,” as Bernier again states in his notes. The use of disconnected spoken word elements, along with a great deal of various tonal directions certainly adds up to a very interesting listening experience. It shows just how effective this music can be when a composer of Bernier’s obvious talent treats sound as an all-encompassing ecosystem.

Nicolas Bernier’s Travaux mécaniques has been released on the Canadian empreintes DIGITALes label, who specialize in some of the most adventurous electronic music currently available. Check out their website for more information about Travaux mécaniques, and other electroacoustic artists on the label.

It shows just how effective this music can be when a composer of Bernier’s obvious talent treats sound as an all-encompassing ecosystem.

Listening Diary

François Couture, Monsieur Délire, Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Nicolas Bernier seems fascinated with machines — the old mechanical kind that needs some elbow grease to get going. Travaux mécaniques (out on DVD-A with surround and stereo mixes) culls four electroacoustic works about these machines. In Writing Machine, treated typewriter sounds accompany cut-ups of William S Burroughs’ voice. Les chambres de l’atelier and Liaisons mécaniques evoke gears, cogs, assemblages, sequences of actions entailing other actions, fantastic cause-and-effect relationships. Dans le ventre de la machine takes us into the belly of the beast, an immersive journey through a soundscape of gears, with Mario Savio’s famous Bodies upon the gears speech thrown in for good measure. Travaux mécaniques paints a highly complex soundworld where there’s a lot happening on many levels. There’s not a single second of downtime. Possibly Bernier’s most dynamic record to date. Highly recommended.

Possibly Bernier’s most dynamic record to date.