Review

Frans de Waard, Vital, no. 719, February 22, 2010

[…] On the CD we find Brief An Den Vater, which was also on the ZKM’s trans_canada compilation (see Vital Weekly #717), so just two new pieces. All deal with the texts of Kafka, although they are not always easily understood. The troubled life however of Kafka is represented well in the music. The pieces are well versed in the tradition of acousmatic music. Sounds are processed through all sorts of computer techniques, which we find en masse on albums by Empreintes Digitales — the rumble and tumbling of sounds, that somehow always seem to remain distant. It’s never music that really grabs you, despite all the quality this music no doubt has. Very academic and that always seems to be a bit in the way of pure appreciation.

The music of Dominique Bassal is alike, yet also, at the same time, a bit different. Apparently he has worked in the field of pop music, as an arranger, producer, studio manager “where he applied avant-garde techniques to the world of pop music” (names please!), and later on returned to electroacoustic music. His four pieces are between ten and twenty minutes — which seems to be the average length in this field of music. It seems to me that his music is a bit more electronic, and that he uses longer sustaining sounds at various time, and not the rumble/tumble that is common in this music, except perhaps in Mont des borgnes. That makes this into a release that I actually seemed to enjoy more than some (many perhaps?) of the releases of Empreintes Digitales. Still, not entirely grabbing the listener as much as I would love too, but, surely nice enough. Maybe I’m just lacking the right speaker setup to fully enjoy the music, I sometimes wonder.

The pieces are well versed in the tradition of acousmatic music.

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