La boutique électroacoustique

Front Max Haiven, Jon Vaughn

  • Conseil des arts du Canada

Œuvre commune de 73 minutes séparée en 33 plages CD de longueur arbitraire, Front ne se résume pas facilement. À la frontière du conceptuel et de la musique d’écoute, de la musique pop la plus éhontée et de l’expérimentalisme le plus extrême, Front présente une approche de la composition électroacoustique qu’on pourrait qualifier, d’après les compositeurs, de «domestique». Le déroulement de la pièce comprend divers événements formant une trame où les relations conceptuelles entre les sons et les idées créent, paradoxalement, le contenu musical. Les compositeurs ont intégré dans cette œuvre leurs sentiments et expériences face au narratif culturel ambiant et la musique pop en particulier.

Contrairement à beaucoup d’œuvres d’envergure similaire qui assument une attention linéaire, presque méditative de la part de l’auditeur, Front suggère plutôt l’idée que l’attention de l’auditeur est une donnée avec laquelle on peut jouer, au même titre que le timbre ou le rythme. Enfin, Front veut explorer les dangers de l’identité musicale, et le concept de structure en tant que victime de l’interrogation. Ne cherchant pas à critiquer une esthétique en particulier, l’œuvre se veut néanmoins sévère (presque antagoniste) face aux attitudes présidant à un choix esthétique ou à un autre. Dire que Front est une œuvre intellectuelle ne ferait que cacher le réel plaisir d’écoute qu’elle provoque. Je n’hésiterais pas à qualifier Front de carrément unique dans l’univers électroacoustique et électronique international, de par sa forme et son intégration totale de toutes les composantes du médium disque dans l’œuvre.

  • Durée totale: 73:30
  • UCC 771028031221
  • IMNT 0312 / 2003
  • Étiquette: No Type

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Front

Max Haiven, Jon Vaughn

Quelques articles recommandés

La presse en parle

Territorial Imperatives: Canada’s boldest and brightest labels…

Tobias C van Veen, e|i magazine, no 4, 1 juin 2005

[…] Nothing can be farther from the canon of academic experimentation than No Type’s unique, often grassroots and utterly leftfield roster. While the label is well known for its online releases (including brilliant early work by Tomas Jirku), a slew of output as the label went to CD circa 2002 established its tenacity in the field of improvisation and composition. The admixture is found in Max Haiven and Jon Vaughn’s Front (2003), which is one of few forays in non-academic music to establish parameters of interpretation for the listener. This eruptive, somewhat spontaneous, rough, at times chaotic, other times meditabve disc is a disjointed narrative of the history of electronie music; or, the history of electronic music from the front of its cabal - its avant-garde. In live performance at Rien à voir in Montréal in 2003, Vaughn rolled down the stairs in a blanket and flashlight, then fied up an antique turntable with rope after playing slo-motion air guitar; meanwhile, Haiven scribbled on a script before the two did mixer-battle with noise and collage cut-ups, ending with an embarrassingly bad songwriter duet. It was, at once, both incredibly naïve and yet absolutely self-reflexively so. […]

Nothing can be farther from the canon of academic experimentation than No Type’s unique, often grassroots and utterly leftfield roster.

Recensione

Massimo Ricci, Deep Listenings, 1 mai 2004

Decibel ascoltàti

Marco Altavilla, Exibart, 31 mars 2004

L’etichetta canadese No Type conferma ancora la sua determinazione e lucida consapevolezza estetica pubblicando nei primi mesi del nuovo anno Front di Max Haiven/Jon Vaughn. 73 minuti durante i quali i due musicisti assemblano materiali sonori e che, in perfetta tradizione elettroacustica e concreta, mirano a risvegliare la dimensione dell’ascolto. L’interesse dei due compositori si rivolge ad una dimensione concettuale che, allo stesso tempo, non esime il suono dal trascurare la possibilità di narrare attraverso un sottile approccio pop. Più socialmente impegnato Rumors of War del progetto Metaxu (Maurizio Martusciello e Filippo Paolini). I due italiani percorrono le strade della sperimentazione elettroacustica ed elettronica evitando la retorica, pur rasentandola (per questioni di materia), grazie ad un rigoroso approccio compositivo. Con il suo quinto album Bleak 1999 il canadese Tomas Jirku spinge gli esiti della minimal techno oltre i cliché che sembrano contraddistinguere la maggior parte delle produzioni laptop oriented. Intercettazioni radio, beat vivisezionati ed evanescenti linee melodiche si incastrano alla perfezione dando vita a scuri paesaggi sonori.[…]

Critique

Julien Jaffré, Revue & Corrigée, no 59, 1 mars 2004

Ce jeune duo, cette naissante collaboration trouve comme point de concordance le territoire de Saskatoon, lieu isolé de la province du Saskatchewan, îlot d’humanité perdu au milieu d’un océan de prairie, d’une mer de steppe à l’Ouest de Montréal, géo-référencé au centre du Canada.

De ce «handicap» géographique, les 2 protagonistes en auront tiré une force et une philosophie qui alimentent l’ensemble de leur œuvre. L’activisme forcené de ces musiciens, leur constance à construire et créer, malgré les problèmes d’éloignements semblent un effort pour abolir les distances et l’isolement.

En un sens, ils nous rappellent qu’il n’y a plus d’ailleurs, ni de nulle part, que la géographie, l’éloignement ne sont plus des couperets sociaux, mais qu’il existe, dans des coins reculés des centres d’actions multiples, de productions culturelles, sorte de TAZ à la sauce Achim Bay.

Dans le cas présent, 2 électroacousticiens, qui n’ont pas pris le parti unique d’une musique ambiante, à l’esthétique isolationniste mais d’un agrégat, malstrom de fébriles triturations urbaines, de plages acoustiques, de musiques savantes, d’ambiance introspective pour la majorité façon Kranky voire d’un morceau énergique et dansant façon Donna Summer sur l’intro. Un no man’s land musical où les vibrations ont des échos sonores de terres dénudés de leur enfance. Une symbiose avec leur environnement direct, qui paradoxalement, a énormément à dire et donne envie de partager en leur compagnie leur appétit d’isolement et de solitude, de vie, aussi.

Une démarche qui invoque la communication, le contact et l’échange. Un désir de combler l’espace par une pleine activité humaine… l’équilibre.

… malstrom de fébriles triturations urbaines, de plages acoustiques, de musiques savantes, d’ambiance introspective…

Critique

Jean-François Micard, D-Side, 1 mars 2004

Kritik

T™, Black, 1 mars 2004

Kritiek

SVS, Rif Raf, 1 mars 2004

Review

Dolf Mulder, Vital, no 411, 18 février 2004

These two are new sound manipulators to me. Jon Vaughn is an audio-visual artist, DJ, writer, and events programmer. Max Haiven is an audio/video artist. These two canadian students worked for a period of 3 years on Front. They presented their work at the Rien à voir festival in october 2003 in Montréal. And now No Type released this ‘tour de force’ on CD. If I’m rightly informed this is for both of them their first release of a greater work. Front is a radical and challenging work, a complex composition that consists of 33 pieces. These pieces differ a lot in sound and sound material used. Also they are very differently structured. So they put a lot of original ideas in this one. “The composers have integrated in the work their own feelings & experiences towards the ambient cultural narrative and pop music in particular.” No doubt about their love for experiment. In the end not all 73 minutes of it are worthwhile, but these guys surely deliver with Front an interesting visiting card.

No doubt about their love for experiment […] these guys surely deliver…

Review

Walt Miller, Splendid E-Zine, 2 février 2004

Back in the day, I saw a group called Disc play live. Their members — including a young unknown going by the handle Kid606 — took a pocket knife to their CD pile and incorporated their scratched-up play into a mix of power electronics. Using methods that are almost passé by today’s standards, Disc floored me with blasts of The Spice Girls skipping at random over low frequency white noise and digital fuckery. It was dumb, goofy fun, surrounded by loose, highbrow concepts and gifted with enchanting results — pop culture, damaged and regurgitated into something new, exciting and, dare I say it, entertaining.

Max Haiven and Jon Vaughn, two student activist/artists, attempt to do something in the same ballpark — as humorless as it is — with Front, their first documented full-fledged release. Within the album’s 73 minutes and 33 nameless tracks, the duo explores the points at which attitudes intersect with aesthetic choices. Their distrust of the latter begs the question, “What is art? What is pop music?”; they seem to believe that there’s not as much separation as you might think. To demonstrate, Haiven and Vaughn throw all sorts of folky instrumentation and skipping/looping pop recordings into a stark experimental stew of Difficult listening. And that’s Difficult with a capital “D”. Granulated drones and austere digital atmospherics provide a foundation for the occasional wisps of familiarity — an acoustic guitar, a snippet extracted untidily from the radio, a stray vocal — that snap us back into the real world. It’s a hard road for an ear to travel, and it shows that, however profound Haiven and Vaughn’s mission, it’s much easier to get a handle on their concept than on the music itself.

The duo’s actual approach is unknown, but a record like Front, without any discernible structure, would almost have to have some extemporaneous elements dropped in on the fly. In fact, the two are seasoned in the art of electroacoustic improv, having performed live together and with others at various musical events in Canada. Their sounds unfold organically, sometimes beautifully; the interruptions and incoherence of this long piece are its structure. There is a chunk in the middle of the album that is nothing more than an oscillating organ note, held down over the course of four tracks. Why these tracks were broken into lengths of 1’14", 2’11", 0’17" and 4’02" is unimportant. The arbitrary methods adopted by Haiven and Vaughn are about rejecting convention, and, while that’s hardly a costly stance in the context of experimental music, Front gets its point across in joyless fashion. Thing is, it’s an impossible thing to pull off, entirely — their glitchy loopage is not exactly a novelty — but the boys know this. Their talents as sound sculptors speak for themselves (check out track 24, an impressive percussive montage) and, in the end, the pair make an interesting racket that succeeds on its own merits, concepts aside. That said, gimme The Spice Girls enhanced by a pocket knife any day.

Their talents as sound sculptors speak for themselves…

Review

François Couture, All-Music Guide, 1 janvier 2004

Front is rich, dense, multi-directional, and very challenging. But is it good? Honestly, this reviewer doesn’t know. Even after a handful of listens, its code remains unbroken, its meaning evasive, its structure oblique, its intentions obscure. A collaboration between Max Haiven (Nova Scotia, Canada) and Jon Vaughn (Saskatchewan, Canada), two conceptual electronica artists, Front is a continuous 73-minute collage work indexed in 33 arbitrary tracks. A sound art buffet, it includes harsh electronics, ambient textures, electroacoustic manipulations, sampling, fragments of guitar tunes, advertisements, pop attempts, and who knows what else. An LP skipping maniacally can lead to a lengthy episode of organ chords or a comical keyboard interlude or a fast-paced collage of harsh fragments. You never know what will come up next — but the problem is, at some point during these 73 minutes, you stop caring or trying to guess what could come up next. The flow of the piece is overwhelming. Its chaotic unfolding obviously hides a deeper structure — it is not gratuitous, you can feel it, it has to be following its own logic — but this structure is very well hidden. You don’t come out of Front with the impression of having wasted over an hour of your time, but you do get the feeling that you missed on something. And this impression only becomes stronger with every listen. This reviewer found himself questioning every shift, every turn, and being unable to find a single convincing answer. So if Front doesn’t provide an enjoyable listen, it sure provides a stimulating one.

… it sure provides a stimulating [listening].

Recensione

Dionisio Capuano, Blow Up, no 68, 1 janvier 2004

La No Type di David Turgeon — ingegno multiforme, grafico, programmatore in Perl, ironico agitatore delle nuove avanguardie scapigliate — è una delle ‘case’ più oltranziste nell’area sperimentale nordamericana. Tra le ultime uscite (nel recente passato vanno ricordati i Book On Tapes e il cd a firma A Dontigny — Diane Labrosse) si annoverano un ponderoso compact canadese ed una produzione di nostri connazionali. I giovanissimi Haiven e Vaughn la danno di cut up-fluxus in trentatré segmenti, scombinando e ricombinando materiali di varia indistinguibile provenienza. Si possono individuare tre approcci alla manipolazione sonora. Un ‘taglia-e-cuci’ veloce ed informale, simile per effetto allo scorrere veloce e ‘brutista’ della sintonia di una radio. Poi un dar di spatola noise in maniera più omogenea e quindi un segmento iperminimalista che ricorda la scuola statunitense anni ’70-’80. Non necessariamente in quest’ordine, né in rigida sequenza. Vi prospettiamo adesso una scelta critico-concettuale variabile che va dall’improperio ontologico e strutturato alia concorde e sorridente accettazione di giudizi già scritti: “Contrariamente a molti lavon contemporanei, Front è una, composizione di 73 minuti che determina niente meno che un confronto tra la vostra percezione del mondo e il mondo stesso! Qual è stata l’ultima volta che avete realmentefatto esperienza di arte?"

… scombinando e ricombinando materiali di varia indistinguibile provenienza.…

Review

Time Off, 1 janvier 2004

Located in Saskatoon, Haiven and Vaughn are electroacoustic composers concerning themselves with a wide range of sound sources. Over the course of this 73-minute piece, the duo explores a range of complex textures, repetitiously shifting rhythm patterns and audio cut-ups. Drifting from sheer walls of intense feedback to quite sparse audio plains, this composition is a detailed and considered work that highlights the two composers’ developed sensibilities.

Musiques émergentes - Non conforme et fier de l’être

David Cantin, Le Devoir, 23 août 2003

De l’électronique au rock expérimental, un portrait des sorties importantes et attendues

Encore cet automne, les musiques émergentes retiennent l’attention. La scène indépendante québécoise se démarque et revendique plus que jamais sa différence face à l’industrie dominante. À quoi peut-on s’attendre au cours des prochains mois? Quels seront les artistes ainsi que les albums à surveiller? De l’électronique au rock expérimental, on dresse un portrait des sorties importantes et attendues.

Chez No Type, on ne peut tout simplement pas passer à côté du Bleak 1999 de Tomas Jirku dans le genre IDM sombre et minimal. On a aussi hâte d’entendre l’électronique délinquante de Books on Tape, de même que les recherches plus pointues du duo Front (Jon Vaughn et Max Haiven).

… on ne peut tout simplement pas passer à côté du Bleak 1999 de Tomas Jirku

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