- Total duration: 67:07
- UCC 771028942121
- Canada Council for the Arts • Ministère des affaires culturelles du Québec
Décidément, le Québec […] regorge de compositeurs créatifs qui ne cessent de repousser les limites de leur discipline et d’être reconnus internationalement.
— Émilie Payeur, La Scena Musicale, no. 20:3, Saturday, November 1, 2014
Québécois electroacoustic music has earned a place in the hearts of avant-garde music lovers everywhere…
— François Couture, electrocd.com, Monday, March 22, 2004
1stereo fixed medium
2ondes Martenot and stereo fixed mediumSuzanne Binet-Audet, ondes Martenot
3electric guitar and stereo fixed mediumRené Lussier, electric guitar
4stereo fixed medium
5stereo fixed medium
6stereo fixed medium
7ondes Martenot, interactive system and stereo fixed mediumSuzanne Binet-Audet, ondes Martenot
8stereo fixed medium
La mécanique des ruptures
IMED 9421 / 1994
- Label: empreintes DIGITALes
CDIMED 942125,00 CAD
Some Recommended Items
empreintes DIGITALes / 1995
Medieval stone-cutters would strike rock, making it ‘ring’ in order to judge its worth for construction. The illustration on the cover refers to stained glass found in the Bourges cathedral (France).
I’ve discovered that my work as a composer has much in common with this branch of civil engineering — exploring and evaluating the behaviour of material on the verge of splitting apart. The composer searches out well-defined forms, strong and clearly cut, alternating movements and interaction marked by tension and release.
The material which I use is subjected to restraint, to enormous pressure, until it finally sunders, shatters, transforms. Brought to its breaking point.
Gilles Gobeil, Montréal [vi-94]
In the Press
Émilie Payeur, La Scena Musicale, no. 20:3, Saturday, November 1, 2014Décidément, le Québec […] regorge de compositeurs créatifs qui ne cessent de repousser les limites de leur discipline et d’être reconnus internationalement.
François Couture, electrocd.com, Monday, March 22, 2004Québécois electroacoustic music has earned a place in the hearts of avant-garde music lovers everywhere…
François Couture, electrocd.com, Wednesday, October 15, 2003
Raimundas Eimontas, Tango, no. 9, Sunday, September 1, 2002
Andrei, microsound, Saturday, April 20, 2002Some of the most satisfying electronic music I’ve heard in a while.
François Couture, All-Music Guide, Saturday, September 1, 2001… very powerful in its violent plasticity.
Joseph Harchanko, SEAMUS Journal, no. 16:2, Saturday, September 1, 2001… a masterpiece of electroacoustic music due to its explosively dynamic and expressive structural direction.
Geert De Decker, Sztuka Fabryka, Thursday, December 7, 2000[A] brillant CD.
Richard di Santo, Incursion Music Review, no. 015, Thursday, October 5, 2000Essential electroacoustic music that is sure to keep you from sitting still for even a moment while listening.
Mark Vail, Keyboard, Friday, August 1, 1997… frightening sonic events…
Daniel Plunkett, N D - Magazine, no. 20, Sunday, June 1, 1997Impressive and recommended.
Rick Bidlack, Computer Music Journal, no. 20:4, Sunday, December 1, 1996He is a sculptor whose medium is sound…
Stephan Dunkelman, Les Cahiers de l’ACME, no. 170, Thursday, February 1, 1996
Dominique Olivier, Voir, Thursday, December 7, 1995Gobeil compose, s’exprime, et nous rejoint.
Laurie Radford, Contact!, no. 9:1, Friday, September 1, 1995… the disc takes us from concision and refinement back to a time of searching and discovery. Try reprogramming your CD player and follow the composer’s original journey!
Steven & Alan Freeman, Audion, no. 33, Friday, September 1, 1995… music that is really vivid, dynamic and almost 3-D…
Rick MacMillan, SOCAN, Paroles & Musique, no. 1:10, Tuesday, November 1, 1994Une musique puissante qui mérite de se répandre.
Stockholm Electronic Arts Award, Thursday, September 22, 1994… le contrôle parfait du temps musical et l’efficacité des éléments sonores narratifs et anecdotiques …
Albert Durand, Revue & Corrigée, no. 20, Wednesday, June 1, 1994Le propos, souvent musclé, est parfaitement maitrisé…
Décidément, le Québec n’a rien à envier aux autres pays en matière de musique électroacoustique. En effet, la province regorge de compositeurs créatifs qui ne cessent de repousser les limites de leur discipline et d’être reconnus internationalement. Même si dans la majorité des cas, la musique de ces compositeurs se rapproche du style acousmatique que l’on peut entendre en Europe, il y a bel et bien quelque chose qui les distingue: ils ont un son et une esthétique bien à eux.
Je vous propose donc une liste de dix œuvres incontournables par des compositeurs et compositrices d’ici afin de découvrir le panorama de notre production électroacoustique.
Crystal Music (1994) de Stéphane Roy
Dans Crystal Music, le compositeur Stéphane Roy traite sa matière sonore comme s’il s’agissait de verre en la dilatant, la moulant, la faisant se transmuter. D’ailleurs, la nature même des sons employés vient rappeler le verre, le cristal. Il y a quelque chose de nerveux, d’instable dans cette pièce. L’œuvre se caractérise par de grandes variations de la dynamique ainsi que par des explosions d’énergie qui émergent soudainement du silence pour ensuite s’éteindre aussi rapidement. À l’écoute, l’auditeur peut trouver des ressemblances avec certaines pièces les plus abstraites de Francis Dhomont. Ce n’est pas un hasard puisque Stéphane Roy a été son élève.
Stéphane Roy est l’auteur d’un ouvrage sur l’analyse de la musique électroacoustique, L’analyse des musiques électroacoustiques: Modèles et propositions. Au cours de sa carrière, il a également enseigné à l’Université de Montréal ainsi qu’au Conservatoire de musique de Montréal. Sa pièce Crystal Music a notamment obtenu le premier prix au 3e Prix international Noroit-Léonce Petitot (Arras, France, 1994)
Kaleidos, empreintes DIGITALes, 1996
StrinGDberg (2001, 02, 03) de Robert Normandeau
Véritable tour de force musical, StrinGDberg est une œuvre minimaliste 16 pistes entièrement basée sur deux sources sonores: une prise de son d’une vielle à roue d’une durée d’une minute et une autre tirée du jeu d’un violoncelle. Le caractère tramé de la pièce, voir méditatif, invite l’auditeur à pénétrer au cœur du son et à être témoin des microvariations qui surviennent, à s’en émouvoir même. Une partie plus rythmique, caractéristique de l’œuvre de Normandeau, s’insère vers la moitié de la pièce. Comme pour une bonne partie de son catalogue, StrinGDberg a été composée pour accompagner une pièce de théâtre, Mademoiselle Julie d’August Strindberg, dont la mise en scène était assurée par Brigitte Haentjens et présentée à l’Espace GO (Montréal) en mai 2001.
Robert Normandeau enseigne à l’Université de Montréal. Ses œuvres ont été maintes fois primées lors de concours internationaux. Il est à noter qu’il est le cofondateur de Réseaux, une société de concerts dédiée à la diffusion des arts médiatiques qui a présenté les séries de concerts Rien à voir et Akousma.
Puzzles, empreintes DIGITALes, 2005
Les corps éblouis (1992-93, 94) de Christian Calon
Les corps éblouis tire ses matériaux sonores d’une seule source: la guitare électrique. Véritable travail sur la métamorphose, non seulement des sons de base mais également dans sa durée, la pièce a été pensée afin d’engendrer un effet de spirale où tout s’imbrique dans une perpétuelle mouvance. Ici on reconnaît le savoir-faire exemplaire de Calon, et une technique d’écriture comparable à celles des Parmegiani et Dhomont de ce monde. Les corps éblouis a obtenu le 2e prix du jury au 22e Concours international de musique électroacoustique de Bourges (France, 1994) ainsi que des distinctions au Prix Ars Electronica (Linz, Autriche, 1995, 97).
Christian Calon est un artiste indépendant œuvrant également en photographie et dont les œuvres ont maintes fois été récompensées aussi bien à l’international que chez nous.
Les corps éblouis, empreintes DIGITALes, 1998
Le vertige inconnu (1993-94) de Gilles Gobeil
Le vertige inconnu est probablement la pièce la plus forte non seulement de l’album La mécanique des ruptures, mais aussi du répertoire entier de Gilles Gobeil. Construite à partir de sons concrets, dont on peut reconnaître la provenance, le compositeur crée un univers cinématographique quasi surréaliste à l’intérieur duquel coexistent grillons et machines à air comprimé. Toutes les habiletés de Gobeil qui en font un compositeur si unique sont brillamment illustrées dans cette pièce: articulations vives, rupture du silence par des explosions sonores soudaines… Le vertige inconnu a remporté le Prix des arts électroniques de Stockholm, un concours international de musique électroacoustique (Suède, 1994) et a obtenu le 2e prix au Prix Ars Electronica (Linz, Autriche, 1995).
Gilles Gobeil est professeur en technologies musicales au Cégep de Drummondville (depuis 1992) et a été professeur invité de composition électroacoustique à l’Université de Montréal (2005-06) et au Conservatoire de musique de Montréal (2007). Il est également lauréat de plus d’une vingtaine de prix sur la scène nationale et internationale.
La mécanique des ruptures, empreintes DIGITALes, 1994
Sous le regard d’un soleil noir (1979-81) de Francis Dhomont
Cette œuvre tourmentée, faisant partie du Cycle des profondeurs, explore et illustre l’univers de la schizophrénie en huit parties. Une des particularités de l’œuvre est l’emploi de la narration. Afin d’entrer dans le sujet, Dhomont utilise des textes du psychiatre et psychanalyste Ronald D Laing. Mais cette narration ne sert pas seulement à informer. Elle guide carrément le développement de la pièce, devenant même matériau sonore à certains moments. Selon Dhomont, cette œuvre propose la rencontre de l’imagination et de l’imagerie mentale produite par le traitement des sons. Sous le regard d’un soleil noir a obtenu le 1er prix de la catégorie Musique à programme au 9e Concours international de musique électroacoustique de Bourges (France, 1981).
Originaire de Paris, Francis Dhomont a passé une bonne partie de sa vie à Montréal pendant laquelle il enseigna à l’Université de Montréal (de 1980 à 1996). C’est d’ailleurs lors de cette période qu’il composa Sous le regard d’un soleil noir. Il est une des figures les plus marquantes dans le domaine de la musique électroacoustique et son travail a été largement reconnu et encensé.
Sous le regard d’un soleil noir, empreintes DIGITALes, 1996
Water Music (1991) de Yves Daoust
C’est par un beau jour de printemps que le compositeur eut l’idée de Water Music. Les gouttelettes tombant des glaçons fondants lui semblèrent mélodiques. La beauté de cette pièce vient du fait qu’elle met en vedette un matériau qui nous est assez familier, l’eau, permettant à l’auditeur de vraiment lui porter attention pour une fois. Le passage entre les différentes sections est particulièrement bien réussi.
Parallèlement à son enseignement au Conservatoire de musique de Montréal (qu’il a quitté en 2011), Yves Daoust a contribué au développement de la scène électroacoustique au Québec, notamment en participant très activement en 1978 à la fondation et au développement du premier organisme au pays voué à la promotion et à la diffusion de la musique électroacoustique, l’ACREQ. En 2009, il a reçu le Prix Serge-Garant (Fondation Émile-Nelligan) pour l’ensemble de son œuvre.
Musiques naïves, empreintes DIGITALes, 1998
eXpress (2001-02) de Jean Piché
Jean Piché est décidément un innovateur. Au départ compositeur (pensons à la pièce Taxis to Burning Sky), il s’est rapidement tourné vers l’image pour ensuite développer une toute nouvelle discipline à laquelle il donnera le nom de «vidéomusique». Ce que le compositeur tente de traduire, c’est une perception symétrique entre l’image et le son, une synergie. Pour eXpress, une œuvre pour trois écrans, Piché a filmé les images dans le train reliant Bourges et Paris. On peut y reconnaître des paysages. L’allure très cinétique d’Express est obtenue en réglant la caméra à une vitesse d’obturation très rapide avec une grande ouverture de l’objectif. La musique minimaliste et répétitive contribue à l’effet de transe de l’œuvre.
L’enseignement et la recherche en composition électroacoustique à l’Université de Montréal occupent une part importante de la vie professionnelle de Jean Piché. Il est également impliqué dans le développement de logiciels. On lui doit notamment Cecilia, un logiciel de traitement sonore.
Big Bang II (1987, 95) de Marcelle Deschênes
Dans Big Bang II, on se retrouve dans un univers postnucléaire. L’œuvre avait d’abord été conçue comme trame sonore servant d’accompagnement à une installation multimédia du sculpteur holographe et artiste de la lumière, Georges Dyens, intégrant sculptures holographiques, éclairages, fibre optique, musique électroacoustique, le tout en mouvement chorégraphié par un système de synchronisation programmée. De nature tramée et minimaliste, la pièce est brillamment écrite et a inspiré bon nombre de compositeurs.
De 1980 à 97, Marcelle Deschênes enseigne à la Faculté de musique de l’Université de Montréal la composition électroacoustique et multimédia, la perception auditive et les techniques d’écriture électroacoustique. Elle met sur pied, développe et dirige un programme inédit en composition électroacoustique aux trois cycles (baccalauréat, maîtrise et doctorat).
petits Big Bangs, empreintes DIGITALes, 2006
Arksalalartôq (1970-71) de Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux
Cette pièce joue autour de l’abstraction de la parole, de la voix et même des instruments de musique. Arksalalartôq, d’après des textes des poètes québécois Noël Audet et Gilles Marsolais, exprime le vertige des mots, des sons, par analogie avec le jeu inuit où les participants (le plus souvent des femmes) mettent à l’épreuve leur capacité d’invention à créer et de résistance à émettre des sons, des mots pour la plupart sans signification. Entrecoupée par des sons percussifs ou dans d’autres cas tirés de synthétiseurs analogiques, Arksalalartôq rappelle certaines pièces de Stockhausen ainsi que Pierrot lunaire de Schönberg.
En 1968, Iannis Xenakis recommande vivement à Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux d’aller à Paris pour y étudier la musique électroacoustique avec le désormais célèbre Groupe de recherches musicales (GRM), ce qu’elle fit. À son retour à Montréal, elle enseignera au Conservatoire de musique de Montréal jusqu’à son décès en 1985.
Impulsion, empreintes DIGITALes, 2001
Mantra (1997) de Jean-François Laporte
Dans l’ère moderne où nous vivons, nous sommes envahis, submergés par des sons de toutes sortes qui accompagnent notre existence. Jean-François Laporte les nomme «mantras», d’où le titre de la pièce. À l’image des mantras orientaux, ceux du compositeur doivent par exemple être d’une bonne longueur et se répéter de façon cyclique dans le temps. Pour cette pièce, Laporte a utilisé exclusivement les sons générés par un compresseur de refroidissement des patinoires lors d’une prise de son unique. Toutes les modifications timbrales ont été effectuées lors de la prise de son, sans aucune manipulation en studio.
Jean-François Laporte est surtout connu pour ses instruments inventés. Il est fondateur et directeur artistique et général des Productions Totem contemporain (PTC), et ses œuvres sont éditées aux Éditions Babel Scores.
Mantra, Cinéma pour l’oreille, 2000
Je ne pourrais passer sous silence les œuvres de ces compositeurs qui deviendront sans doute des incontournables de la musique électroacoustique du Québec dans quelques années: Champs de fouilles (2008) de Martin Bédard, Transit (1998) de Louis Dufort, frequencies (a) (2011-12) de Nicolas Bernier, L’appel (2008) de Georges Forget… et la liste pourrait continuer.
[Article édité en collaboration avec la rédaction du site Cette ville étrange. Chronique de la création musicale (www.cettevilleetrange.org).]
The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, right? Wrong — at least when it comes to electroacoustics, the beautiful province of Quebec compares very well to any other region of the world. Call me chauvinistic, I don’t care: Quebec is home to several composers of tremendous talent and influential professors.
My goal is not to turn this article in an analytical essay, but, as a music reviewer and unstoppable listener, I am convinced that there is such a thing as Québécois electroacoustics. Despite the stylistic variety among our composers, I detect a Québécois “sound,” something that sounds to me neither British nor French or German; something that calls to me and speaks to me in a language more immediate and easier to understand.
This “unity in diversity” is probably, at least in part, due to the lasting influence of a small number of key composers whose academic teachings have shaped our younger generations. I am thinking first and foremost of Francis Dhomont and Yves Daoust. So let’s begin this sound path with a Frenchman so Québécois at heart that he was awarded a prestigious Career Grant from the Conseil des arts et lettres du Québec. I can sincerely recommend all of Dhomont’s albums: his graceful writing, his narrative flair and his intelligence turn any of his works into fascinating gems. I have often publicly expressed my admiration for Forêt profonde (including in my first Sound Path, so I will skip it this time), but Sous le regard d’un soleil noir, his first large-scale work, remains an international classic of electroacoustic music, and his more recent Cycle du son shows how close to perfection his art has grown — the piece AvatArsSon in particular, my first pick for this Sound Path.
If Dhomont’s music is often constructed following large theoretical, literary and sociological themes, Yves Daoust’s works lean more toward poetry and the anecdote. Most of his pieces betray his respect for the abstractionist ideals of the French school, but his seemingly naive themes (water, crowds, a Chopin Fantasia or a childhood memory) empower his music with an unusual force of evocation. His latest album, Bruits, also displays a willingness to grow and learn. One is tempted to hear the influence of his more electronica-savvy students in the startling title triptych.
To those two pillars of Quebec electroacoustics, I must add the names of Robert Normandeau and Gilles Gobeil. Normandeau is a very good example of what I consider to be the “typical” Québécois sound: a certain conservatism in the plasticity of sounds (the result of the combined influence of the British and French schools); great originality in their use; and an uncanny intelligence in the discourse which, even though it soars into academic thought, doesn’t rob the listener of his or her pleasure. My favorite album remains Figures, in part because of the beautiful piece Le Renard et la Rose, inspired by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s novel Le Petit Prince – and also because of Venture, a tribute to the Golden Age of progressive rock (a pet peeve I share with the composer, might I add). As for Gobeil’s music, it is the wildness of wilderness, the turmoil of human passions, the sudden gestures, the copious splashes of sonic matter thrown all around. If La mécanique des ruptures remains an essential listen, his most recent album Le contrat, a collaboration with guitarist René Lussier, stands as his most accomplished (and thrilling!) work to date.
These four composers may represent the crème de la crème of academic circles, but empreintes DIGITALes’ catalog counts numerous young composers and artists whose work deeply renew the vocabulary of their older colleagues.
I would like to mention Fractures, the just released debut album by Christian Bouchard. His fragmented approach seems to draw as much from academic electroacoustics as from experimental electronica. Thanks to some feverish editing and dizzying fragmentation, Parcelles 1 and Parcelles 2 evoke avant-garde digital video art. I also heartily recommend Louis Dufort’s album Connexions, which blends academic and noise approaches. His stunning piece Zénith features treatments of samples of Luc Lemay’s voice (singer with the death-metal group Gorguts). I am also quite fond of Marc Tremblay’s rather coarse sense of humor. On his CD Bruit-graffiti he often relies on pop culture (from The Beatles to children’s TV shows). His piece Cowboy Fiction, a “western for the ear” attempting to reshape the American dream, brings this Sound Path to a quirky end.
Serious or facetious, abstract or evocative, Québécois electroacoustic music has earned a place in the hearts of avant-garde music lovers everywhere. Now it is your turn to explore its many paths.
Electroacoustic music is an acquired taste. Like it or not, radio and television have conditioned us from an early age into accepting some musical (tonal and rhythmical) molds as being “normal.” Therefore, electroacoustics, along with other sound-based (in opposition to note-based) forms of musical expression like free improvisation, is perceived as being “abnormal.” That’s why a first exposure to this kind of music often turns into a memorable experience — for better or worse. Many factors come into play, but choosing an album that offers an adequate (i.e. friendly and gentle) introduction to the genre will greatly help in letting the initial esthetic shock turn into an experience of Beauty and mark the beginning of a new adventure in sound.
My goal with this sound path is simply to point out a few titles that I think have the potential to encourage instead of discourage, titles opening a door to a new musical dimension. Of course, this selection can only be subjective. But it might be helpful to new enthusiasts and to aficionados looking for gift ideas that would spread good music around. After all, Christmas is only a few weeks away!
We usually develop new interests from existing interests. What I mean is: we explore music genres that are new to us because a related interest brought us there. That’s why when it comes to electroacoustic music, mixed works (for tape and instrument) or works related to specific topics are often the best place to find a bridge that will gently lead the listener into the new territory. For example, people who enjoy reading travel literature will find in Kristoff K.Roll’s Corazón Road the sublimated narrative of a journey through Central America. Those still young enough to enjoy fairy tales (I’m one of them) will find in Francis Dhomont’s Forêt profonde an in-depth reflection on this literary genre as inspired by the works of psychoanalyst Bruno Bettelheim, in the form of a captivating work with multiple narratives (in many languages) and electroacoustic music of a great evocative strength. Lighter and more fanciful, Libellune by Roxanne Turcotte finds its source in childlike imagination and is in part aimed at children without over-simplifying its artistic process.
Guitar fans can turn to Parr(A)cousmatique, a wonderful project for which classical guitarist Arturo Parra co-wrote pieces with some of Quebec’s best electroacoustic composers: Stéphane Roy, Francis Dhomont (Quebecer at heart, at the very least), Robert Normandeau, and Gilles Gobeil. The latter has just released an album-long piece, Le contrat, written with and featuring avant-garde guitarist René Lussier. Lussier’s followers and people interested in Goethe’s play Faust (and its rich heritage) will find here an essential point of convergence, another bridge.
Those who want to explore further will probably want to venture into more abstract electroacoustic art. I recommend starting with the Quebec composers. Chauvinism? No way. It’s just that the music of composers like Dhomont, Normandeau, Gobeil, Yves Daoust, or Yves Beaupré seems to me to be more accessible than the music of British or French composers. It is more immediate, has a stronger impact (Gobeil, usually hitting hard), a more pleasant form of lyricism (Daoust, Beaupré), more welcoming architectures and themes (Dhomont, Normandeau). If you need places to start, try Normandeau’s Figures, Gobeil’s La mécanique des ruptures, Dhomont’s Cycle du son, and Beaupré’s Humeur de facteur.
That being said, there are hours upon hours of beauty and fascination to be found in the works of Michel Chion (his powerful Requiem), Bernard Parmegiani (La création du monde), Jonty Harrsison (Articles indéfinis), Denis Smalley (Sources/Scènes), and Natasha Barrett (Isostasie), but they may seem more difficult or thankless on first listen. And for those interested in where these music come from, the EMF label offers L’œuvre musicale, the complete works of Pierre Schaeffer, the father of musique concrète and grandfather of electroacoustics.
A compilation album has the advantage of offering a large selection of artists and esthetics in a small, affordable format. Available at a budget price, eXcitations proposes a strong sampler of the productions on the label empreintes DIGITALes. The albums Electro clips and Miniatures concrètes, along with the brand new volume of the DISContact! series, cull short pieces (often under three minutes) to trigger interrogations and discoveries in those with a short attention span.
And finally, for those of you who want to take their time and explore in short steps, the Cinéma pour l’oreille collection produced by the French label Métamkine contains many wonderful 3" CDs, 20 minutes in duration each, for a reduced price. The catalog includes titles by renown composers such as Michel Chion, Lionel Marchetti, Michèle Bokanowski, Bernhard Günter, and Éliane Radigue. These tiny albums are perfect for gift exchanges.
Of course, all of the above are only recommendations. The best sound path to discovery is the one you follow by yourself, little by little.
Date: Sat, 20 Apr 2002 02:58:28 -0400
To: microsound <email@example.com>
From: Andrei <andrei@w…>
Subject: Gilles Gobeil
I picked up the two Gilles Gobeil CDs on empreintes DIGITALes last week and I have to say they are excellent. Some of the most satisfying electronic music I’ve heard in a while. Really seamless blend of subtle processing and all sorts of field recordings (lots of klangy sounds and factory/machinery type sounds). Very tastefully done, never falls into that contemporary electroacoustic trap where it’s like “great, here’s lots of granular synthesis.” His music seems to be guided a lot more by his vision rather than by technology. There are actually lots of moments in his music which remind me more of things like David Jackman’s Organum rather than “academic” electronic music. There’s a very “isolationist” vibe to his music.
His more recent pieces, which are featured on … dans le silence de la nuit…, seem to revolve a lot more around a quiet stillness which is upset by bursts of activity. I was kind of surprised by Traces a piece from ’85 on the older CD is a great sort of old school concrete type piece with lots of jarring juxtapositions.
I’m very happy to find that empreintes DIGITALes is proving wrong my long held, but kind of uninformed opinion that there hasn’t really been any good academic electronic music since the 70’s. And the electrocd.com site is really great. So many audio samples to check out. I probably wouldn’t have picked up the Gobeil discs if I hadn’t been able to check out the samples on their site.
La mécanique des ruptures (The Mechanics of Cleavage) is Gilles Gobeil’s first CD. The eight electroacoustic works culled here were created between 1985 and 1993 and vary from short clips Nous sommes heureux de…, one minute) to ambitious tape dramas (La ville machine, 15 minutes). In general, the longest pieces include an instrument or narration part. Suzanne Binet-Audet is featured on two such pieces playing ondes Martenot, one of the earliest synthesizers. Montréal electric guitarist René Lussier provided examples of his playing for Associations libres (Free Associations). But whatever the length or medium, Gobeil’s style remains pretty much the same throughout and could be (over)simplified to one single gesture: a door slamming shut. He throws buckets of sounds at the listener’s ears, multiplying contrasts between peaceful ambiances and sudden “bangs!,” often articulated by a short crescendo. This in-your-face approach to electroacoustics will please listeners who want “action” (i.e. loud ample movements of sound). Nonetheless, Le vertige inconnu remains Gobeil’s strongest piece, very powerful in its violent plasticity. La ville machine, almost taking the form of a hörspiel, is another highlight. Its story follows three confusing but interesting parallel narratives (in French in the piece, but provided in an English translation in the booklet). Recommended.
Gilles Gobeil’s 1992 composition Le vertige inconnu has quickly gained a reputation as a masterpiece of electroacoustic music due to its explosively dynamic and expressive structural direction.
The purpose of this analysis is to explain the perceived integrity of a work that continues to achieve a positive consensus among composers, students, and audiences, or what Smalley refers to as a “consensus about the efficacy or failure of particular musical works, thus indicating an instinctive evaluation of the newer spectro-morphological values.” [Denis Smalley, Spectro-morphology and Structuring Process from The Language of Electroacoustic Music, ed. Simon Emmerson; Hardwood Academic Publishers: New York, 1986: 63.] Its expressive shape denotes an underlying structural cohesiveness transcending the mimetic qualities of its source material. The consensus on this piece points largely to structuring principles wholly independent of the concrete meaning of the subways, crickets, and other noises within this work. Instead, abstracted shapes work to create a sense of direction wholly independent of any associative meaning created by the sounding objects themselves. Spectro-morphology is by no means the only method of analysis for electroacoustic works; however, it is a means of describing the processes of the sounds themselves. In other words, spectro-morphology is the language of non-mimetic material, or at least the non-mimetic aspect of sonic material. Therefore, spectro-morphology requires disassociative listening - divorcing oneself from any external context, social or linguistic, presented by the sounding objects themselves.
This analysis makes use of spectrographs to document the sounding energy of Le vertige inconnu. In these spectrographs, the Y-axis represents frequency bands, the X-axis represents time, and the color intensity represents relative energy within the frequency band. Our perception of sound is inescapably linked to our familiarity with physical gesture. The listener associates high-energy sound with high kinetic energy causation. The morphology of a sound is concerned with the onset of sound, either by physical or electronic means, and its motion towards the termination of the sound. The attack-decay archetype is a common physical model as it suggests a strong kinetic causation and the gradual diminishment of energy towards termination.
Below is a spectrograph of a basic attack-decay gesture:
This image from 58 second into Le vertige inconnu represents the primary structural motive of the work. As the gesture moves towards termination, the high frequencies diminish in energy more quickly, moving the attention towards the sound’s low frequencies, thus creating a descending attack-decay gesture. By contrast, the next image is of a reversed attack-decay gesture. Its onset is less causative in the morphology of the sound and its motion towards termination is through an increase in spectral energy:
The morphologies that exist within a sound are reflected on various structural levels of the composition. The generative role of the onset, the motion towards termination or a new onset, and the presence of sustain portions of the sound, or continuants, occur at the lowest structural level. Likewise, larger structures will move away from the generative onset gestures towards terminating gestures. As textural-carried material is concerned with internal motion and not with external goals, it presents the higher-level corollary of the continuant. At the highest structural level, texture and gesture work as a dynamic dichotomy, reflecting similar motion patterns found at lower structural levels.
The perception of sectional structuring is very common even among first time listeners in beginning electronic music classes. The work has been divided into five sections for this analysis. The dividing marks have been placed at the following times: Section A (0:00 – 1:46), Section B (1:47 – 3:10), Section C (3:13 - 4:27), Section D (4:37 – 6:37), and Section E (6:57 – 8:20).
A reverse attack-decay gesture opens the work, functioning as an anacrusis to the first descending attack-decay gesture. The opening gesture is extended from 2 to 5 seconds by several descending gestures (visible in the spectrograph below) before a second decisive descending attack-decay gesture signals the termination of the first gestural area. While the tessitura of the terminating gesture remains constant, the faster decay of the high frequencies creates a prolongation of the descending gesture, preparing the listener for the first texture-carried subsection.
Gesture-carried Subsection - 0:00 to 0:15
The first texture-carried area is delineated by the primary descending attack-decay motive, acting as an onset to the subsection. The main textural area consists primarily of mechanical iterations. A great deal of motion is visible in the spectrograph, but it is motion without direction. The attack-decay gesture terminating the texture-carried area is weaker than those heard previously. Thus the texture continues beyond the gesture until a second descending attack-decay gesture brings the subsection to a more decisive close. The terminating gesture itself exhibits the same construction as the higher structural levels, as illustrated below:
First Texture-carried Area - 0:16 to 0:34
One of the curiosities of this composition is the collection of disparate sounding sources, particularly the presence of both naturally and mechanically produced sounds. In examining the second textural subsection, however, one discovers the morphological connection between the sounding sources. Textural areas throughout the work are dominated by repeated iterations – short periodic sounds without gestural direction. The second textural subsection consists primarily of insect noises sounding over a rooted pitch-space. However, a need for termination develops as the rooted pitch-space begins to climb in tessitura. It cannot continue indefinitely and therefore tension is created, transforming the texture-carried material into gesture-carried material. The gestural nature is reinforced both by tessitura and with an increase in aggregate spectral energy as the sounding objects increase in amplitude. A third sounding object is introduced between the frequencies previously occupied, complimenting the frequency spectrum to produce maximum effect. At 55 seconds the continuant stops with an interrupting gesture, clearly different than the preceding sounds due to its complimentary pitch-space. However, the terminating function is inconclusive since the gesture lacks the descending morphology of the primary onset/termination motive.
End of Second Texture-carried Area - 0:41 - 0:57
The tension created by the ambiguity of this gesture is increased by the silence that follows. At 58 seconds the interrupting gesture is repeated, followed by a strong descending attack-decay gesture, bringing the subsection to a decided close. Within the first minute of Le vertige inconnu, Gobeil has established a functional spectro-morphological vocabulary so effectively that it can play upon expectations to create deceptive terminating gestures used to prolong the structural areas.
0:51 - 1:03
The third texture-carried area contains a similar structural process to the first texture-carried subsection. An increase in spectral density creates motion away from the texture-carried continuant towards termination. A descending attack-decay gesture at 1:32 anticipates the final build towards termination. However, the gesture at 1:37 lacks the terminating spectral energy to bring the section to a close. It is followed by a return of the mechanical iterations, which function as a textural prolongation. The final terminating gesture is a strong descending attack-decay gesture, prepared sufficiently though the prolongation of the terminating gestures to act as a final decisive termination to Section A.
End of Section A - 1:31 - 1:46
Section A contains four subsections. The opening gesture-carried subsection serves to introduce the primary descending attack-decay motive. The following texture-carried subsection presents three important concepts: periodic iterations as texture-carried material, sectional prolongation by an interrupting motive, and the transformation from texture-carried material to gesture-carried material through the use of increasing spectral energy. The third subsection presents the ambiguity of the relationship between the sounding sources, which is to be addressed later in the composition. The fourth subsection serves to bring the section to a close by repeating the ideas of increasing spectral density and textural prolongation. Section A is summarized below:
Section A - 0:00 to 1:46
Section B provides a contrast to the more gesture dominated section A. The gestures within section B fail to give a sense of direction and therefore function as what Smalley terms “texture-framing.” [Ibid: 84]. An increase of spectral energy from 2:35 to 2:50 provides the first sense of gestural motion in Section B. However, the morphology of the terminating gesture is an upward motion in spectral energy and lacks the decisiveness of the primary motive.
The following subsection appears as a different sounding environment through the use of reverb and resonance. Also significant to this subsection is the strong presence of harmonic frequency spectra, contrasting with the inharmonic spectra that dominate most of the work. This transition to the second subsection of B is shown below. The resolution and color are varied to better highlight the harmonic spectra.
Iterations from another source, perhaps a flute or an air brake, are mixed with the more harmonic iterations. Like previous textural areas, the continuant moves towards termination through increasing spectral density. Underscoring the importance of the principle motive, one can now intuitively hear how the final descending attack-decay gesture fulfils the terminative function that the upward gesture, bisecting this section, could not.
Section B - 1:47 to 3:10
Whereas section B is marked by a lack of gestural direction, section C brings back the mechanical iterations with an increase in gestural direction. This forceful motion is interrupted by the descending attack-decay gesture and is followed by a return of the high-frequency iterations from section B. Another descending attack-decay gesture acts as the onset to a slow textural build, as previously heard in section A. As in previous instances, the strong gestural activity of this section cannot be easily concluded with a single gesture. For this reason, the textural section at 4:14 is heard as an extension of section C. This section is decisively concluded at 4:24 with the descending attack-decay gesture, indicating the onset of Section D.
Section C - 3:13 to 4:27
Like section C, section D serves to further develop both previously heard sounds and structuring principles. The textural iteration motif from section A returns in section D. The spectro-morphological connection between the mechanical sounds and insect sounds was presented in section A when they were introduced in consecutive textural subsections. Now Gobeil’s brings the spectro-morphological connection of these disparate sound sources into high relief. As seen below, the insect iterations and mechanical iteration are neatly aligned, demonstrating to the listener their morphological similarity.
The role of the iterations is no longer textural. As they increase in amplitude they lead towards termination or a new onset. Their alignment serves not only to demonstrate their structural similarity, but also to increase the gestural direction. Their ultimate termination in the descending attack-decay archetype is strengthened by the careful alignment of this motive to the tempo of the iterations.
A second subsection of D is reminiscent of the slow textural build heard in section A. However, this motive is now combined with the sort of interrupting gesture heard in section A (0:55). Instead of being immediately followed by the concluding gesture, the gradual build starts again after the interruption, increasing the tension as the sectional termination is further postponed. Strong gestural activity terminates this build and acts as an onset to the return of the iterations, now in their new gestural role. The iterations move the listener to the climax of the work at 6:45, the strongest descending attack-decay gesture yet heard.
Section D, although containing previously heard material, is unprecedented in gestural activity. The direction towards termination never wavers as interruptions only serve to heighten the tension. Just as the interruption of the middle subsection at 5:30 serves to prolong the tension, the middle subsection itself acts as an interruption of the gestural iteration motive which dominates this section. The material presented in the opening of this work has been transformed into the primary engine of structural motion towards the work’s ultimate goal.
Section D - 4:37 to 6:57
The need for preparation and balance before termination demonstrated in the individual sections and subsections of the work can also be found at the highest structural level of the work as a whole. The sudden conclusion of this piece at 6:45 would be anticlimactic. Therefore, the final section presents a simple structural idea that is consistent throughout the work: decisive termination through prolongation. Section E contains three subsections, each growing towards termination with a slow spectral build. The second subsection termination is less decisive than the first, leaving room for the ultimately decisive termination at the end of the work.
Section E - 6:57 to 8:20
The continuity of this work is based on repeated and varied use of similar material: long increases in spectral energy, repeated iterations of both insect and mechanical origin which are used both texturally and gesturally, sectional interruptions and prolongations, and strong descending attack-decay gestures used to delineate structural sections. Morphological ideas are clearly working at all structural levels: the shape of the sounds, how those sounds are combined to create larger gestures and sections, and the overall structure of the sections through the entire work. The first section acts as a large structural onset, the second as the start of the continuant phase, with sections C and D leading upwards in energy to the climax at the end of section D. Section E works as a prolongation of the terminating gesture used to round off the work. The structural principles of textural continuant transforming into gesture through spectral building with interruptions to heighten the sense of direction, and the use of prolongations to round them out occur simultaneously throughout the structural levels. On the highest level, the relationship between onset, interruption (I), termination (T) and prolongation are summarized below.
As stated previously, spectro-morphology describes but one aspect of a composition. Elements such as space and the meaning and contextualization of sounding sources may provide still deeper and richer insights into this work. However, spectro-morphology is the language of sonic experience. Masterworks of western music have traditionally been considered those works demonstrating skillful mastery of their fundamental materials, be they pitch/rhythm motifs or spectro-morphological motifs. Further, the development of these constructive materials into large-scale formal structures reflected on various structural levels is also a hallmark of craftsmanship. Finally, as Smalley emphasizes, the efficacy of a work is dependant on the listener’s experience. Gobeil’s careful attention to detail provides a dramatically linear work whose meaning deepens on subsequent hearings, a crucial trait for success in the fixed world of tape music. Careful study of the structuring principles of such a work provides a useful compositional model, connecting accousmatic music, “the rightful heir to western music” [Ibid: 61], to its roots.
The English title is “The Mechanics of Cleavage,” and brings you 8 tracks of mysterious music. In a few tracks Gilles Gobeil has some co-operation from Suzanne Binet-Audet (ondes Martenot), René Lussier (electric guitar) and Lyette Limoges with text and scenario.
It is mysterious music that brings you a soundscape of sounds as you think you are walking on a outer space planet where you have go through several places with obstacles. Doors of sounds opens, sounds apears and go away again. It is almost moviemusic or music that can be used in a dark space movie. The first track Le vertige inconnu (1993) really suits in this explenation as it really brings you in this atmosphere.
The second track Voix blanche is in collaboration with Suzanne Binet-Audet who plays one of the earliest electronic instruments the ondes Martenot. The atmosphere and style is almost the same as the first track, only apart from some details such as a string sound.
All other tracks has the same atmosphere apart from some details in the tracks who changes the mood of the tracks in an other direction. We encounter hypnotic moods, industrial sounds and…
Different is the track 4 La ville machine (1992), “The Machine City” a better explanation you can’t find to describe the atmosphere in his music. This piece is a collaboration with Lyette Limoges who worked out a text and scenario for this musical play with the subject of sound ecology. A French text (with full English translation in the booklet) accompanies the story. It is just brillant this story and the atmosphere created in the sounds, it makes from it a cult Sience Fiction story.
The last track is his most earlier work, without using sounds that you almost can find anywhere in the world for creating his atmospheres, he uses sounds that comes from synthesizers and electronics. Here you can hear which way he wanted to go to, and we must say that his later work where he plays in a magnificent way with sounds from our civilisation (street, home, industry…) is better for creating his musical worlds. A thick little booklet is added in this brillant CD, with full explanation of the artists and the tracks, in French and English.
Comprised of eight compositions dating from 1985 through to 1993, La mécanique des ruptures (The Mechanics of Cleavage) was released in 1994. Gobeil describes his compositional technique as being similar to that of medieval stone-cutters, “who would strike rock, making it ‘ring’ in order to judge its worth for construction”. He further describes that his sound material “is subjected to restraint, to enormous pressure, until it finally sunders, shatters, transforms — brought to its breaking point.”
Fitting words indeed; each of these compositions carries with it feelings of intensity, tension, and urgency. The sounds are reaching critical mass, and seem like they’re going to break at any moment and explode right in our faces.
The first piece, Le vertige inconnu (The Mysterious Vertigo), takes as its theme “the essense of solitude,” but on the contrary doesn’t feel very solitary. Bursts of concentrated sound alternate with quieter moments of field recordings and incidental noises.
Voix blanche (White Voice), featuring Suzanne Binet-Audet on the ondes Martenot, is an extremely dramatic piece with a stunning sound dynamic. Abstract tones and concrete sounds fill a three-dimensional space that shifts in rapid motions, presenting first one scene, then another, creating a work of immense drama and movement.
The third piece features the dynamic improvisational talents of René Lussier on electric guitar. The piece, explains Gobeil, “consists of a succession of very dense and expressive scenes, a suitable foil for the guitar’s vibrant, playful gestures.” As good a description of this piece as any.
The fourth piece, probably the most ambitious and unique among this grouping, incorporates a text and scenario by Lyette Limoges, an intriguing and complex radio-play, full of mystery and compelling imagery: “The sun was setting. I saw an angel and it took flight, while all around lions tried to hold it back but… and then it became dark.” I was really drawn into this piece, which runs just short of fifteen minutes, and yet still manages to occupy a substantial psychological space in the listener.
Further into the disc we find the tightly arranged piece Rivage (Shore), which utilizes “untouched sounds” from an urban environment. The ondes Martenot makes another appearance in the seventh piece, and Traces closes the disc off with further bursts of intense sounds and sharp movements.
Intense, noisy and complex, La mécanique des ruptures presents a series of very compelling and challenging works. Essential electroacoustic music that is sure to keep you from sitting still for even a moment while listening.
If ever there was an audio equivalent of a horror movie, this one’s it. Cacophonous crashes, jungle noises, water dripping in a cave, slamming boobym traps, tolling-for-thee bells, screaming machines, chattering air hammers, and René Lussier’s shrieking electric guitar: Gobeil pieces together these frightening sonic events, with occasional female narration in French, into a series of climaxes that may leave you hiding under the bed. It’s very highbrow, but much more spirited and listenable than typical academic electroacoustic stuff.
“I’ve discovered that my work as a composer has much in common with this branch of civil engineering (stone cutting) — exploring and evaluating the behavior of material on the verge of splitting apart.” (from liner notes). This CD features work from 1985 to 1993. Much of the work is a roller coaster for the ears: dynamic shifts, sounds bouncing and then quickly turning double-takes in mid-air. There is an intensity here and a shaping of the material to the breaking point which is both inspiring and exhaustive. Impressive and recommended.
Over the past three or four years, I have had the privilege of hearing several of Gilles Gobeil’s pieces performed and diffused live in concert. His work has always impressed me for its exquisite craftsmanship and extraordinary attention to detail, the sheer interest of his raw materials and their juxtapositions and transformations. Nonetheless, I have always had a nagging suspicion that what I was hearing was not music — something interesting and provocative, but not music. In reviewing this CD, I have had to face this suspicion, and I have come to the startling conclusion that Mr. Gobeil is, in fact, not a composer at all, but a sculptor. He is a sculptor whose medium is sound, or rather, the sonic by products of mechanical events, which are the real subject. Indeed, Mr. Gobeil comes close to admitting this himself in the short note that accompanies the present recordings, in which he mentions his fascination with medieval stone work and the behavior of materials under stress, of, for example, a rock “on the verge of splitting apart… brought to its breaking point.” His source materials include all manner of mechanical bangings, screeches, sunderings, throbbings, and whistles, many of which contain a strongly repetitive element. It is this repetition that lies at the center of my assertlon.
Music is a temporal art. Fundamentally, the music of any style, in any historical period, serves to articulate the passage of time. We humans perceive the passage of time through that wonderful invention we call rhythm, which is also a form of cyclic repetition. What distinguishes human rhythm (and our own heartbeats) from mechanical repetition is that rhythm is always a deviation from the mechanical norm. It is the deviation from mechanical perfection that gives rhythm its ability to propel music forward in tirne, and it is the corresponding lack of any deviation that makes the ticking of a clock so static. It is not paradoxical to state that a clock cannot articulate time, it can only measure it.
Sculpture, in contradistinction to music, is about the articulation of space, light, and texture. Translate these domains into the sonic realm and the discussion revolves around space, reverberation, intensity, and timbre. These are the fundamental elements that Mr. Gobeil’s works manipulate. Hence, a piece such as La ville machine contains a strongly cinematic quality that is apprehended more visually than aurally. In fact, there is a very strong sense of place in all of the pieces on this CD, as though one is wandering through a world populated only by factories, garages, and railroad crossings. Fascinating, too, is the sense that the sound components of pieces like Le vertige inconnu and its cousin Nous sommes heureux de… are clearly related to one another, but in what way? We still have no adequate means of coherently describing complex timbral relationships. Perhaps sculptors like Mr. Gobeil can shed light where composers have stumbled.
I was frankly disappointed in the two works for Ondes Martenot, Voix blanche and Là où vont les nuages… not because they are lesser works than any of the others on this CD, but because the sound world of the Ondes Martenot integrates too well with that of the tape. Neither piece provides a contrast between the instrument and the tape, nor a soloistic focus — the Ondes Martenot is simply one more sound component, on a par with the others in the work. This is a pity, as the Ondes Martenot has an intriguing sound, and one would want to hear it in a setting that shows it off to better advantage.
Parmi les parutions québécoises de ces dernières années en musique électroacoustique, le disque de Gilles Gobeil fait figure d’exception. Chacune de ses œuvres est d’une densité expressive résumant, pourrait-on croire, des années de réflexion et de travail minutieux. Peu de créateurs dans le monde de l’électro ont une vision aussi nette de ce qu’ils veulent réaliser, et encore moins réussissent à l’exprimer avec une telle efficacité. Il s’agit ici, permettez-moi d’appuyer, de véritable musique, et non point d’une suite d’anecdotes révélant les instincts ludiques de l’auteur. Gobeil compose, s’exprime, et nous rejoint. À suivre…
AVIS: Le texte reproduit ici est extrait du site de Voir et est protégé par la Loi sur le droit d’auteur du Canada. © Communications Voir Inc, 1995
Winner of this past year’s Stockholm Electronic Arts Award and of numerous other international and national prizes over the past decade, Gilles Gobeil has established his refined and singular approach to electroacoustic composition with a growing series of works. This 1994 CD from empreintes DIGITALes brings together eight of his works from the past decade.
The disc begins with Gobeil’s most successful work to date, Le vertige inconnu (1993), a work that in a sense summarizes the composer’s preoccupations found in varying degrees of evolution in the other works on the disc. He uses visceral sound materials that are drawn from machines, industry and the urban environment; fine attention to structural detail where abrupt, screaming sequences of grinding and whining metal are juxtaposed with the relative repose of whirring gears, hissing steam and rich, throbbing drones; and new spatial environments where these industrial voices are given shape, size, and speed as they collide and combine in ever-new trajectories and textures. Le vertige inconnu is severe, and of a beautiful purity of design and balance of form and material.
Two works on the disc, Voix blanche (1988-89) and Là où vont les nuages… (1990-91), utilize the ondes Martenot in combination with tape and additional sources of sound generation and processing via MIDI (in the case of the Là où vont les nuages…). The ondes is not so much a soloist in these works but rather an equal sonic source contributing to and complementing the materials of the tape part with its crystalline, supple and haunting voice emerging from complex gestural and timbral constructs. It only predominates, like a sole survivor, in the ghostly interludes that hover softly between the main phrases of friction, collision and impending climactic punctuation.
La ville machine (1992), “an electroacoustic drama on the subject of sound ecology”, is the heart of the disc both by its duration and its breadth of expression. There is an unflagging tension between breathless voices sharing images, nightmares, a mission fraught with confusion and apprehension, immersed in an environment constantly shifting from grotesque urban punctuations to collages of human activity, the seashore, the street, the playground… and the hopeful words of children. There is an urgency to the work and its contents, unsettling, yet optimistic in its unabashed confrontation and its embrace of the very source of the destruction it alludes to: the mechanized city.
Rivage (1986) is perhaps the most blatantly visceral of the works presented here. It clearly reveals Gobeil’s early preoccupation with industrial sound materials and formal structures driven forward by the very weight of the sounds they contain. It features a more prominent use of fabricated materials in combination with environmental sources than the later works, but already maintains a darkly pensive character that finds its way into most of the later works.
The earliest work presented on La mécanique des ruptures, Traces (1985) reveals, like Rivage, the seeds of Gobeil’s gestural and structural preoccupations: the contrast between highly charged textures and large, quivering spaces inhabited by delicate shimmers of sound and the chirping of natural environments.
The reverse chronological order of the works on the disc takes us from concision and refinement back to a time of searching and discovery. Try reprogramming your CD player and follow the composer’s original journey!
Not a name I’d heard of before, though like France, the French Canadian sector does tend to proliferate radical new-music composers! Almost as though he’s combining the talents of François Bayle, Bernard Parmegiani and Michel Redolfi, Gobeil makes electroacoustic music that is really vivid, dynamic and almost 3-D, and he’s capable in many different mediums: the purely sonic/electronic, the esoteric using rich synthetic tones (actually an Ondes Martenot on Voix blanche), the dramatic (especially when aided by Rene Lussier’s guitar work on Associations libres) and even the “cinema for your ears” genre with the theatrical 15 minute La Ville Machine. The tracks that follow tend to combine the elements I’ve described above, and it gets all the more avant-garde, especially so on the closing track Traces. A devastatingly radical and fascinating album!
Titulaire de décorations internationales pour ses musiques électroacoustiques de caractère souvent dramatique, Gilles Gobeil nous présente ici huit œuvres dont La ville machine (Prix SOCAN l’an passé), Voix blanche (citations, concours de Bourges et Luigi Russolo), Rivage (2e prix, NEWCOMP, Boston), Traces (2e prix, concours Russolo) et les brèves Associations libres pour guitare électrique et bande. Une musique puissante qui mérite de se répandre.
Le «1994 Stockholm Electronic Arts Award» est d’un très haut niveau artistique et technique.
Le jury a considéré que l’œuvre de Gilles Gobeil, Le vertige inconnu, s’imposait, d’abord par la clarté de sa forme dans la tradition classique de la musique concrète, mais aussi par sa faculté d’innovation à l’intérieur de cette tradition.
Les principales caractéristiques du style de Gilles Gobeil sont le contrôle parfait du temps musical et l’efficacité des éléments sonores narratifs et anecdotiques qu’il emploie.
Le jury tient également à souligner son professionnalisme, tant esthétique que technique, notamment dans les contrepoints sonores et dans sa maîtrise à conférer une unité formelle à la diversité du matériau utilisé.
La mécanique des ruptures de Gilles Gobeil, huit pièces marquées par une quête de la rupture des matériaux, un climat basé en permanence sur la dualité tension/détente. Avec des pièces mixtes, comme Associations libres pour guitare (René Lussier) et bande, où le mariage des deux éléments est parfait. On note également une pièce avec texte, La ville machine, une sorte de fiction politico-futuriste avec une touche écolo.
Le propos, souvent musclé, est parfaitement maitrisé mais hélas un peu trop similaire d’une pièce à l’autre, surtout que l’on retrouve souvent, en plus du procédé, des éléments sonores identiques. C’est un très bon disque mais il faut l’écouter pièce par pièce, jour après jour. À consommer avec modération.