The Electroacoustic Music Store

Geisteswissenschaften A_dontigny

  • Total duration: 60:29
  • UCC 771028071524
  • Canada Council for the Arts • SODEC

“Today, when we can eat Tex-Mex with chopsticks while listening to reggae and watching a YouTube rebroadcast of the Berlin Wall’s fall – i.e., when damn near everything presents itself as familiar — it’s not a surprise that some of today’s most ambitious art is going about trying to make the familiar strange. [...] Whatever charge of tastelessness or trademark violation may be attached to the artistic appropriation of the media environment in which we swim, the alternative — to flinch, or tiptoe away into some ivory tower of irrelevance — is far worse.” (Foster Wallace, as “plagiarized” by Jonathan Lethem in The Ecstasy of Influence, Harper’s Magazine, February 2007)

This first solo CD by composer A_dontigny (morceaux_de_machines, Napalm Jazz, Ensemble Camp…) has been deliberately conceived to be in the margins of electroacoustic music, electronica and audio art.

Thought up as a series of short sarcastic vignettes, Geisteswissenschaften skilfully manipulates common aesthetic postures in order to create a sound mosaic where one can find hints at modern art history and philosophy. To an arsenal of cut-and-paste and cut-ups, to which we may include encoding glitches and all matter of samples and quotes, A_dontigny adds the sonic interventions of three of his usual collaborators: Paul Dolden (electric cello, guitar and bass), Diane Labrosse (sampler) et Jon Vaughn (remix).

An ode to freedom? A manifest against all dogmas? That’ll depend on the mood of the listener. In the end, Geisteswissenschaften wishes to be a celebration of independance of spirit and human intelligence, one of those rare works that continue to be nourished by great hopes.

Geisteswissenschaften

A_dontigny

IMNT 0715 / 2007

Some Recommended Items

In the Press

  • Aurelio Cianciotta, Neural, Tuesday, September 16, 2008
    It is a collage of sound involving different genres and different listening dimensions.
  • Laurent Catala, Octopus, Thursday, May 1, 2008
    … ce premier opus solo […] ne déroge en rien à l’approche toujours caustique, presque ubuesque, des modulations sonores du compositeur québécois.
  • Fabien, Liability Webzine, Tuesday, April 1, 2008
    Geisteswissenschaften laisse son auditeur toujours en éveil. Jamais il ne sera en situation de confort et devra être attentif à cette révolution permanente, aux changements de couleurs, de rythmes et, finalement, de direction.
  • Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes, Saturday, March 1, 2008
    Those momentary presences and interferences will mesh with life’s soundtrack without a problem.
  • Alfredo Rastelli, Sands Zine, Saturday, March 1, 2008
    … una raccolta non differenziata di materiali vari, in un immenso lavoro di "taglia e cuci" tra gli innumerevoli samples, i bit elettronici e le parti suonate […] Grande.
  • ASB, De:Bug, no. 118, Monday, January 14, 2008
  • Hans Kulisch, Skug, no. 73, Tuesday, January 1, 2008
    Mature achievement and a genuinly mad hearing experience.
  • Henryk Palczewski, Informator “Ars” 2, no. 47, Saturday, December 1, 2007
  • Thomas Blum, Jungle World, Thursday, November 29, 2007
  • Andrea Ferraris, Chain DLK, Sunday, November 4, 2007
    … is filled with songs made with heart and brain…
  • Chris Sharp, The Wire, no. 285, Thursday, November 1, 2007
    Somehow Dontigny manages to conjure a strange, splenetic grace from his unruly source material…
  • Stefano Isidoro Bianchi, Blow Up, no. 114, Thursday, November 1, 2007
  • Jean-François Micard, D-Side, no. 43, Thursday, November 1, 2007
    … le résultat est souvent amusant, parfois même très réussi…
  • Michele Casella, Rockerilla, Thursday, November 1, 2007
  • Kai Ginkel, Spex, Wednesday, October 24, 2007
    … allemal imposant.
  • Solénoïde, no. 112, Friday, September 7, 2007
    … séduit par son habileté singulière à concilier créativité et envoûtement.
  • Rigobert Dittmann, Bad Alchemy, no. 56, Saturday, September 1, 2007
    Sein Solodebut fällt unter die Kategorie Plunderphonie und das nicht nur im musikalischen Sinn.
  • Eric Hill, Exclaim!, Saturday, September 1, 2007
    … is the rapid surveying of a micro-managed patchwork landscape where many styles and ideas compete for space.
  • DaveX, Startling Moniker, Tuesday, August 21, 2007
    … acknowledging that no answer may appear, but that the question is worth asking.
  • Frans de Waard, Vital, no. 585, Tuesday, July 17, 2007
    A_dontigny crosses the world with crazy sounds, and an interesting mixture of techniques to approach the world: musique concrète like, noise based and improvised in playing. It all can be done.

Review

Aurelio Cianciotta, Neural, Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Aimé Dontigny is based in Québec and is certainly a compositor who can’t be easily categorized. He is the founding member of the free noise collective Napalm Jazz, and the animator for the No Type label, which has released his second album. This is a work that brings together a decade of recordings and well-conceived musical projects in seventeen ‘urticant’ and hyper-vivid tracks. The listener is presented with abstract and twisted sounds, a sum of samples, fragments, inspired lucubrations and a very pondered plunderphonic approach. It is a collage of sound involving different genres and different listening dimensions. The record recaptures some historical avant-garde strategies in a timely mix of emotional issues, for example in the surrealist cut-upping. The 20th century avant-garde used to be primeval forms of modernity that are today ‘inflected’ in fruitful experiments, glitches and oblique literary references (not by chance — rather ‘canonical’ references such as William S Burroughs, Anthony Burgess and Guy Debord; representatives of a poetic and antagonist deconstructionism). Geisteswissenschaften is on the sidelines of electroacoustic, electronica and audio-art, and is a compelling work. It is certainly not for everyone, though at the same time the album does not require too many conceptual superstructures.

It is a collage of sound involving different genres and different listening dimensions.

Oursins chroniques

Laurent Catala, Octopus, Thursday, May 1, 2008

On connaissait surtout le travail d’Aimé Dontigny dans sa veine collaborative — au sein de morceaux_de_machines, de Napalm Jazz et aux côtés de sa complice Diane Labrosse — mais ce premier opus solo, au titre imprononçable pour qui n’a pas fait d’études approfondies d’allemand, ne déroge en rien à l’approche toujours caustique, presque ubuesque, des modulations sonores du compositeur québécois. Alors que Diane Labrosse s’attaquait récemment aux Objets en voie de disparition — elle participe d’ailleurs au disque, au sampler, tout comme le musicien Paul Dolden -, Aimé Dontigny s’attaque aux collages sonores en général, et au cut-up en particulier, transformant cet album en une gigantesque expérience de patchworks sonores, liant breakbeat et jazz sirupeux (Pruitt-igoe), complaintes pathétiques et électronica filasse (Crowding into the behavioural sink), et beaucoup d’autres choses encore. Alors autant goûter par vous-même, vous n’en serez que davantage rassasié.

… ce premier opus solo […] ne déroge en rien à l’approche toujours caustique, presque ubuesque, des modulations sonores du compositeur québécois.

Critique

Fabien, Liability Webzine, Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Depuis qu’on l’avait rencontré au sein de Morceaux_De_Machines, A_Dontigny était resté assez discret. Du moins pour nous. Aujourd’hui c’est son premier album en solitaire qui paraît et force est de constater qu’en deux ans l’homme n’a rien perdu de ses talents de manipulateur sonore. Déjà habitué à travailler avec Paul Dolden, Diane Labrosse (qui était déjà présente sur l’album de Morceaux_De_Machines) et Jon Vaughn c’est tout naturellement qu’on les retrouve ici, maltraitant la matière en ne se donnant aucune limite. Ainsi entre efforts électroacoustiques, sampling, explorations synthétiques et digressions guitaristiques A_Dontigny et ses camarades nous offrent une leçon de déstructuration musicale du plus bel effet. Certes, il n’est pas toujours facile de les suivre mais malgré la difficulté de l’œuvre on reste attiré par ce disque intransigeant et fort bien produit. Dans tout ce magma, où le contre-pied musical est roi, il y a une certaine forme de clarté qui émerge mettant en exergue une volonté tenace de ne respecter aucun code. On n’entendra alors ici aucune cohérence dans l’approche structurelle des morceaux mais c’est aussi ce qui fait sa force et sa capacité à surprendre.

Ainsi Geisteswissenschaften laisse son auditeur toujours en éveil. Jamais il ne sera en situation de confort et devra être attentif à cette révolution permanente, aux changements de couleurs, de rythmes et, finalement, de direction. A_Dontigny (Aimé pour les intimes), aurait pu jouer l’outrance et le grand n’importe quoi pourvu que le trouble soit jeté. Au contraire on sent dans Geisteswissenschaften, malgré l’absence de règles, une tentative de ne pas sombrer dans un chaos total. Dans son apparente anarchie ce disque est bien plus subtil qu’il n’y paraît et dénote une liberté totale dans la manière d’aborder la musique, de la modeler et de lui donner un sens. Écouter ce disque n’est pas aussi surhumain que cela. Il suffit juste de porter sa curiosité un peu au-delà de ses habitudes et de l’ouvrir gracieusement à cette vision musicale hors normes.

Geisteswissenschaften laisse son auditeur toujours en éveil. Jamais il ne sera en situation de confort et devra être attentif à cette révolution permanente, aux changements de couleurs, de rythmes et, finalement, de direction.

Review

Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes, Saturday, March 1, 2008

Aimé Dontigny (1975) is a Canadian composer, also a contributor to projects such as Napalm Jazz and Ensemble Camp. This is his first solo release, and despite not presenting anything really unexpected it sounds interesting for its large part, with a quantity of selected emotional moments as a bonus. The author figures that this work would achieve maximum potential “in the margins of electroacoustic music, electronica and audio art.” It must be said that nowadays the no man’s land comprised by these definitions can accept loads of elemental artistries that aren’t always worthy of consideration, often just made of pre-existing snippets. Dontigny avoids the typical annoyances of the “overly intellectual,” in premise by keeping things short and concise (all tracks last a few minutes or less), then enclosing parameters from distinct worlds and styles, sometimes in full-mix mode, somewhere else deepening a single concept. Thus, some parts of this record might recall a “more accessible” John Oswald, while other sections — perhaps we should call them the most lyrical ones — could be associated to a kind of nostalgic turntablism in the vein of Philip Jeck. Still, Geisteswissenschaften remains a pretty personal statement sounding like a hundred different snapshots — lo-fi and hi-fi, convulse yet linear, physically tolling and coldly digital at once. An apparent gathering of contradictions whose balance is exactly the necessary key to penetrate the creator’s vision. For sure one listen is not enough, and I’d also suggest beginning with an attentive scrutiny, then trying this blend as a stimulating alternative ambient. Those momentary presences and interferences will mesh with life’s soundtrack without a problem.

Those momentary presences and interferences will mesh with life’s soundtrack without a problem.

Recensione

Alfredo Rastelli, Sands Zine, Saturday, March 1, 2008

Esce allo scoperto Aimé Dontigny, personaggio sempre troppo (volutamente) ai margini della scena canadese e internazionale, e lo fa con un disco solista (dovrebbe essere il secondo), sebbene sia coadiuvato da un manipolo di collaboratori storici come Paul Dolden, Diane Labrosse e Jon Vaughn. Diciamo la verità, nonostante i numeri li abbia tutti, il nostro non si pubblicizza nemmeno poi molto, preferendo rimanere ancorato a posizioni, forse un po’ idealistiche, di indipendenza e libertà; eppure ci sarebbero di cose da dire sul suo contro, basterebbe ricordare che intorno a lui gira Actuellecd nonché l’etichetta No Type, ed alcuni dei progetti musicali più belli in ordine a manipolazione elettronica selvaggia e libera (morceaux_de_machines, Napalm Jazz, etc.). L’esperienza decennale di A_Dontigny viene qui condensata, tramite una raccolta non differenziata di materiali vari, in un immenso lavoro di “taglia e cuci” tra gli innumerevoli samples, i bit elettronici e le parti suonate (la chitarra elettrica, il basso e il violoncello) che fanno da contrappunto alle forme iconoclaste dell’elettronica a largo uso. Le origini dei samples sono varie e difformi, la loro natura è fatta salva, ma la forma si manifesta mutevole: è la disintegrazione dello spettacolo (musicale), a sua volta strumento di unificazione, ed unica, vera e necessaria rappresentazione del mondo. Non servono altre parole. Grande.

… una raccolta non differenziata di materiali vari, in un immenso lavoro di "taglia e cuci" tra gli innumerevoli samples, i bit elettronici e le parti suonate […] Grande.

Kritik

ASB, De:Bug, no. 118, Monday, January 14, 2008

Der kanadische Cut Up-Komponist sampelt hier ein ganzes Musiklexikon nd frankensteint mithilfe einiger Gastmusiker an Cello, Gitarre, Bass und Sampleram Computer daraus ein wirklich aufregendes Stück Hörkunst. Er fügt all das zusammen, was garantiert nicht zusammen gehört und erzeugt dabei ein unglaubliches, nervöses Panoptikum großartiger Sounds, Zitare und untanzbarer Beats. Großartiger, garantiert nicht nebenbei konsumierbarer, organisierter Lärm!

Kritik

Hans Kulisch, Skug, no. 73, Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Die erste Solo-CD des Komponisten A_dontigny verweist direkt auf elektroakustische Musik, Audio-Kunst und das weite Feld Electronica. Kurza sarkastische Vignetten, nitch ohne Charme mit einem Haufen von Querverweisen zur Kunstgeschichte une Philosophie. Drei Mitstreiter hat A_dontigny hier: Paul Dolden, Diane Labrosse und Jon Vaughn. Reife Leistung und ein echt tolles Hörerlebnis.

Mature achievement and a genuinly mad hearing experience.

Prima Kunstkrach: Platte Buch

Thomas Blum, Jungle World, Thursday, November 29, 2007

Es muss immer weitergehen/Musik als Träger von Ideen. Sample, Zitat, Cut-up, Collage, Verfremdung, Dekonstruktion. Der kanadische Komponist Aimé Dontigny hat einst das Free-Noise-Kollektiv Napalm Jazz mitgegründet. Seither widmet er sich der Improvisation, der Musiktheorie und dem freimütigen Herumfuhrwerken mit elektronischen Tonfetzen. Und so zur Gänze verstrahlt ist auch, was er auf seinem Solodebut produziert: eine Geräuschorgie sondergleichen. In Nordkorea etwa würde dergleichen sofort verboten werden. Geht es Dontigny doch hörbar darum, althergebrachte musikalische Schemata bedingungslos kaputtzuhauen, bis kaum mehr etwas übrig ist. Heraus kommt eine ganz prima und ratzeradikale Totaldekonstruktions-, Kunstkrach- und Hardcore-Kopfmusik, in der nicht nur ziemlich viel aus der Musikgeschichte (Klassik, Jazz, HipHop, Noise, Industrial, moderne E- und U-Musik etc.) zusammengeworfen wird, sondern in die auch Partikel aus Mathematik, Kunst, Literatur und Philosophie (Heidegger, Koons, Nietzsche, Debord usw.) hineingemengt werden. So heißen die Titel etwa Holzwege, Begriffsschrift oder Wirkungsgeschichtesbewusstsein.

Bis zum Gehtnichtmehr wird alles verfremdet, durch einen großen Häcksler gejagt, zerschreddert und neu zusammengesetzt. Ein gewöhnungsbedürftiger Sound, der nach aufgeschlossenen Hörern verlangt. Eine jede Grenze kühn überschreitende und deshalb großartige Seltsamkeitsmusik, von der man bei längerem Hören gewaltige Kopfschmerzen bekommt, und so muss das auch sein. Der Titel des Albums ist Programm.

Review

Andrea Ferraris, Chain DLK, Sunday, November 4, 2007

Is it possible to have personality and character in electronic music these days? Sure, as I’m sure it will be possible (not just in electronic music) to have both these qualities till this planet won’t be frozen by the next glaciation. After this opening remarking of the fact “everything has been said before” make sense, but it’s not a good reason to sit down and think like you’re ten thousand years old, let’s speak about this cd. A_dontigny mixes many electronic styles with a great and unusual skillfulness and also shows he’s really able both in discerning interesting samples but he’s chosen the right collaborations to enrich this or that passage. I’ve just heard a few releases on this label (and Metaxu is still one of my personal faves), but I’ve had the impression they’re into electronic music almost at the edge of being experimental for what regards artists work on the tracks. This Canadian musician sometimes cuts the tracks by skiping and using glitches, sometimes he breaks everything fragmenting and manipulating a sample in order to make it workable with the superimposition of a second or even third layer. He’s a “perverted” propension for putting together melodies with unnatural electronic manipulations closer to a dj tradition than “contemporary classic electronic.” While we’re far from one of those wishy-washy Afx Twin clones, I’m sure dear ol’ Richard D James would start nodding having an hard-on with these post-jungle, post-classical, post-electronics, lost in acid, fragmented tracks. I think the fact a composer / musician like Paul Dolden is among the guests of this release says a lot concerning the fact Geisteswissenschaften is filled with songs made with heart and brain and not trying to be part of this or that subgenre of music. Sometimes you have chaotic tracks, sometimes rhythmical irregular tempo changes, sometimes it all sounds like your cd player is skipping randomly stroke by a digital tornado, but in the most of the songs you’ve a solid construction and above all after having survived the first blasts big part of the release approaching toward the end becomes softer an more quiet… almost “easy.”

… is filled with songs made with heart and brain…

Electronica

Chris Sharp, The Wire, no. 285, Thursday, November 1, 2007

As you might guess from the quotation from Guy Debord’s La Sociéte du spectacle which proudly adorns the sleeve of Geisteswissenschaften, Aimé Dontigny revels in a refusenik sensibility. A founder member of free noise collective Napalm Jazz and a dedicated servant of the Canadian New Music Network, his first fully fledged solo CD defies easy assimilation. These constructions take standard tropes such as hiphop drum breaks, saccharine sax solos and swooning romantic film scores, and disfigure them with flurries of disruptive sound. But as the violence is generally held in check, the end results are curiously ambivalent; sometimes it’s hard to work out whether you’re being offered the farthest reaches of sound art or just a particularly cerebral dose of triphop. Somehow Dontigny manages to conjure a strange, splenetic grace from his unruly source material and Geisteswissenschaften remains an intriguing if frequently bemusing listen throughout.

Somehow Dontigny manages to conjure a strange, splenetic grace from his unruly source material…

Recensione

Stefano Isidoro Bianchi, Blow Up, no. 114, Thursday, November 1, 2007

Critique

Jean-François Micard, D-Side, no. 43, Thursday, November 1, 2007

Recensione

Michele Casella, Rockerilla, Thursday, November 1, 2007

Kritik

Kai Ginkel, Spex, Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Geisteswissenschaften, erschienen bei No Type, ist ein wahres Sammelsurium der Querverweise. A_dontigny, der junge Komponist dahinter, hat sich hiermit ein äußerst ambitioniertes Unternehmen aufgebürdet, das vermutlich nur im augenscheinlichen Durcheinander Bestand finden kann, das dem Hörer in der vorliegenden Musik schroff gegenübertritt. Abgedeckt werden wollen schließlich — in Form von Referenzen, kleinen Fetzen und sonstigen Unscheinbarkeiten — ausgewählte Episoden aus (natürlich) Musik, Philosophie und auch aus der modernen Kunstgeschichte. Ob ein solches Projekt gelingen kann, überhaupt gelingen darf? Man begegnet hier einer etwas trockenen Art von Humor, die das heillose Ineinandergreifen zu einem verführerisch ereignisreichen Flickenteppich zwischen Sample-Akrobatik und enervierender Kunstmusik verdichtet. Erstaunlicherweise zieht und quengelt sich jedoch ein recht eigener, charakteristischer Stil durch die 17 versammelten Stücke: Das macht das Zuhören etwas leichter, glücklicherweise jedoch nicht leicht genug, um aus Geisteswissenschaften am Ende tatsächlich schlau zu werden. — Das Hauptkapital dieser Musik liegt schließlich nicht zuletzt in ihren zahllosen Unklarheiten verborgen. Daher: kurzlebig, aber allemal imposant.

… allemal imposant.

Mission

Solénoïde, no. 112, Friday, September 7, 2007

Membre fondateur du collectif free-noise Napalm Jazz et du duo morceaux_de_machines, ce compositeur montréalais semble disposer d’une imagination débordante! Erreurs d’encodage, retraitements hypnotiques ou encore manipulations électroacoustiques sont quelques unes des pratiques artistiques que l’individu peut ainsi décliner. Bonifiée par les contributions de trois collaborateurs chevronnés — Paul Dolden (au violoncelle, à la guitare et basse électriques), Diane Labrosse (à l’échantillonneur) et John Vaughn (au mix) — cette expérience séduit par son habileté singulière à concilier créativité et envoûtement.

… séduit par son habileté singulière à concilier créativité et envoûtement.

Kritik

Rigobert Dittmann, Bad Alchemy, no. 56, Saturday, September 1, 2007

Aimé Dontigny hat sich weit über die Montréaler Szene hinaus einen Namen gemacht als Hälfte von morceaux_de_machines und in Partnerschaften mit Paul Dolden oder Diane Labrosse. Sein Solodebut fällt unter die Kategorie Plunderphonie und das nicht nur im musikalischen Sinn. Er zitiert Debords Die Gesellschaft des Spektakels und durchmischt kunstweltliche (‚Koons‘, ‚… informel‘, ‚Color Field‘, ‚All-Over‘, ‚Gutai‘, ‚Turner‘) mit philosophischen Anspielungen. ‚Begriffsschrift‘ stammt von Gottlob Frege, auf dessen Logizismus auch ‚Mathesis‘ hinweist. ‚Pruitt-Igoe‘, Minoru Yamasakis Betonburgen in St. Louis, deren Sprengung am 16.3.1972 (zufällig einem Jahrestag der Demolierung von Würzburg 1945) stehen ikonografisch für den ‚Todestag der Moderne‘. ‚Tatline‘ und sein Turm gehören zum ähnlich obsoleten Projektemachen. ‚Aufbau‘ schillert zwischen der Umkehrung von Heideggers ‚Abbau‘, der mit ‚Holzwege‘ auch noch explizit auftaucht, und Der logische Aufbau der Welt von Rudolf Carnap, auf den sich auch ‚Recollection of Similarity‘ bezieht. So ergibt sich ‚Die Fröhliche Wissenschaft‘ (Nietzsche) eines Auf & Ab, sprich De-Konstruktion. Dazu mixt Dontigny Cut-ups aus allen möglichen Stilen, die er zerhäckselt und zerschreddert, mit dem Ziel to make the familiar strange. Statt auf vermeintliche Originalität zu pochen, setzt Dontigny Jonathan Lethems meta-plagiatorischen Essay The Ecstasy of Influence in die Praxis um. Lethem stülpt Harold Blooms Anxiety of Influence um und plädiert in einem Text, der ausschließlich aus Zitaten besteht (!), für öffentliches Eigentum, die Schönheit des Wiederverwendens und eine „Ökonomie des Schenkens“. Originalität verhält sich zu Sampling, Collage, Variation, Remix, Parodie etc. wie Einbildung zu ‚Wirkungsgeschichtsbewusstsein‘. An Stelle der Angst, im Schatten zu stehen, bestohlen zu werden oder sich zu verunreinigen, tritt die „Ekstase der Kontamination“, der Vergiftung, Kreuzung, Verschmelzung. Dontigny schwelgt in einer Portmanteau-Klangwelt, in ‚Koffermusik‘ aus gekreuzten und überblendeten, gestauchten und beschleunigten Fetzen von Noise, Jazz, HipHop, Der Pate III, Satie, Living Strings etc. Wer sich dabei die Quersumme aus John Oswald, Carl Stone, Christian Marclay, Rick Rue, Stock Hausen & Walkman oder den Otomo Yoshihide von Sampling Virus vorstellt, ist auf der richtigen Spur. Jon Vaughns ‚Rondo Mix‘, der diese Ästhetik überdreht, zeigt die ihr immanente Crux - Übereifer, Datenstau.

Sein Solodebut fällt unter die Kategorie Plunderphonie und das nicht nur im musikalischen Sinn.

Reviews — Improv & Avant-Garde

Eric Hill, Exclaim!, Saturday, September 1, 2007

Aimé Dontigny is a Québec artist with a slippery aesthetic that wriggles free of easy classifications. Having begun with the “free noise” collective Napalm Jazz, his treatment of sound at its root informs his later work, from electroacoustic duos with Diane Labrosse and Chantal Dumas to a recent live performance under the direction of Francisco López at this year’s Victoriaville festival. Dontigny accesses these muscles here but also draws upon his work with Érick d’Orion in morceaux_de_machines, a project that force-feeds noise into the drum & bass paradigm. What Geisteswissenschaften offers is the rapid surveying of a micro-managed patchwork landscape where many styles and ideas compete for space. It opens with the lazy hip-hop pulse of Koons, which is eventually overturned by a chaotic collapse of competing beats, followed by the smooth flow of Pruitt-Igoe, where the electric piano and syrupy strings are just a little too uncomfortably degraded to produce nostalgia. The album begins to describe the worm in the heart of cultural recycling. What many modern electronic albums undertake to preserve through mutation and adaptation, Dontigny slathers with new layers of decay and distance-confusing disorder. The album succeeds by allowing just enough of the “known” to peek through while spinning through its disorienting cycles of hyper-detailed noise.

… is the rapid surveying of a micro-managed patchwork landscape where many styles and ideas compete for space.

Review

DaveX, Startling Moniker, Tuesday, August 21, 2007

For quite some time now, there has been no shortage of art that has made comment on the increasing speed with which we are collectively bombarded with communication. Really, the issue has been approached from every conceivable angle — from Alvin Toeffler’s predictive Future Shock, to John Cage [and Lejaren Hiller]’s absurdist HPSCHD, to Negativland’s panicked track Quiet Please on Escape from Noise, to Satanicpornocultshop’s revelatory album Anorexia Gas Balloon; which embraced detritus as an aesthetic.

It would also be easy to make the case that nearly the entire noise genre is a composite of reaction to (and acceptance of) this bombardment, at times rendering even Toeffler’s worst scenarios relatively tame.

Unless you’re living under a rock, this isn’t really fresh material. But of course, artists are products of their environment — so the question becomes, “how do I make this new?” A_dontigny, half of morceaux_de_machines and a full fan of the underscore, seems to have found himself in such a position with his first solo album for the No Type label, Geisteswissenschaften. For those who aren’t aware, this mouthful of text is more or less the German translation of “Humanities,” as in the study of, etc…

Much like such studied pursuits, attempting to nail down Geisteswissenschaften is equally futile. A_dontigny flirts at the edge of enough nearly-familiar material and structure to confound any sort of pigeon-holing, meaningful categorization, or understanding. It’s as if he is standing in a secret area of a Venn diagram, particularly in the impressively-crafted tracks featuring composer Paul Dolden. This is intricate music, filled with conflicting patterns which alternate from being ridiculously wrong to being surprisingly right.

I don’t know if it was A_dontigny’s intent to create a document so laced with examples of our futile struggle for understanding in a world fraught with miscommunication, sheer multitudes of perception, and the odd monkeywrench; but nevertheless, that’s what I’m taking away from it. On a more positive note however, I am still heartened to find that where A_dontigny may see the impossibility of ultimate understanding, he is drawn to create regardless.

In the end, this urge may be where the real redemption of Geisteswissenschaften comes about — acknowledging that no answer may appear, but that the question is worth asking.

… acknowledging that no answer may appear, but that the question is worth asking.

Review

Frans de Waard, Vital, no. 585, Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The A in A_dontigny stands for Aimé, and he is a free noise composer from Canada. His name may ring a bell or two for his involvement in Napalm Jazz (not reviewed in Vital Weekly), morceaux_de_machines (see Vital Weekly 338 and 454), or his duet CD with Diane Labrosse (see Vital Weekly 384). Quite a busy man, but he never made a solo recording and Geisteswissenschaften is his first solo excursion. He gets help from various people on guitar, cello and bass, but by and large it’s a solo work indeed. What exactly A_dontigny plays himself then? That is perhaps a bit harder to answer, but perhaps it’s safe to say that it’s a multitude of precorded sources - meaning vinyl, CDs, mini discs, computer files of existing material that he treats through further computer processing, electronic effects and such like. He may add highly fucked up rhythm machines and/or samplers of any kind, but the end result is quite a fascinating journey through the world of today: we zap around, on TV, on the net, and we get a true bombardment of sound and images - here only sound. A world that would drive a lot of people crazy, or in fact it perhaps already did. Much better it would be to sit down and enjoy A_dontigny’s release. Turn off the TV, switch of computers and let yourself sink back in this crazy world that is madness enough for those who really want to listen. A_dontigny crosses the world with crazy sounds, and an interesting mixture of techniques to approach the world: musique concrète like, noise based and improvised in playing. It all can be done. If the previous releases by morceaux_de_machines were something you liked, then this new release by one half will appeal to you too: it’s by no means half as good; it easily matches the duo.

A_dontigny crosses the world with crazy sounds, and an interesting mixture of techniques to approach the world: musique concrète like, noise based and improvised in playing. It all can be done.

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