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Train de nuit (Noord 3-683) Lionel Marchetti

Couverture: Alfred Fauvarque-Omez, Le passage à niveau (1928)
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… a bracing and unsettling composition…

— Chris Kennedy, Musicworks, no 90, vendredi 1 octobre 2004

… wonderful Metamkine label continues to release works by artists mining a territory of seemingly limitless aural vistas.

— Darren Bergstein, e|i magazine, no 2, lundi 1 septembre 2003

Train de nuit (Noord 3-683)

Lionel Marchetti

MKCD 029 / 2002

  • CD 3"
    MKCD 029

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Concrète Homage to Schaeffer

Chris Kennedy, Musicworks, no 90, vendredi 1 octobre 2004

Lionel Marchetti’s work is primarily devoted to building on the legacy of musique concrète, bringing its techniques with him into the new century. Train de nuit (Noord 3-683) continues this pursuit. Dedicated to concrète pioneer Pierre Schaeffer, it even incorporates the train whistle from Schaeffer’s 1948 piece, Étude aux chemins de fer, as a recurring theme. However, Train de nuit (Noord 3-683) is no easy look into the past. Instead, it is a bracing and unsettling composition - a true cinema for the ear that brings the listener through a disruptive nocturnal slumber.

Although the sounds of train travel fade in and out of the music, the main propulsion of the piece comes out of an interlocking structure of tape collage: shortwave radio snippets, dramatic readings, white noise, and other transitive listening events. Marchetti creates a drama of expectation as barely audible whispers and sound samples are interrupted by thunderous tape splices, resonating piano keys or ominous metallic noises. Marchetti hones the piece into sharp focus by mastering the music in uncompressed mono, isolating it in the left-hand speaker, and allowing ample play between extremes of volume. As a consequence, the cumulative soundtrack pulls you into the quiet moments between jarring explosions of activity.

As a whole, the twenty-minute composition develops into a disturbing portrait of nighttime train travel. The passing snippets of sound create the illusion of a train barrelling through sleepy countrytowns on its way to its final destination. Like a fitful sleep, the listener is lulled into a calm slumber before being jolted awake by the foreign sounds of machinery, as the rough journey constantly surges forward towards the dawn.

… a bracing and unsettling composition…


Darren Bergstein, e|i magazine, no 2, lundi 1 septembre 2003

Besides being home to the IRCAM thinktank and pioneers Luc Ferrari and Pierre Schaeffer, France’s place in the history of electroacoustic music and musique concrète is long-deserved. The country’s wonderful Metamkine label continues to release works by artists mining a territory of seemingly limitless aural vistas. Tracking the diversity of their artists, four recent recordings in the label’s series of 20-minute, 3" CDs (tucked away in sharply designed, signature minisleeves) all appear as fragile little artworks inside and out. Michele Bokanowski’s L’étoile absinthe telegraphs sounds mock-symphonic and synthetic, a chamber orchestra lost in a perilous forest of preening strings and stoic electronic hushes, while underfoot the scent of something vaguely sinister beckons. Quite episodic despite it’s length, it effectively broaches an impressive personal dialogue with the listener. Over the course of Dix-sept minutes, Michel Chion deleteriously excavates the musique right out of its concrete, isolating the ear in a toybox of half-heard chorales, defective thermostats, and wristwatch dementia. Sounds are deliberately placed in a stereoheld that makes full use of their color spectrum, yet Chion misplaces his narrative in the execution, yielding phantasmagoric ‘sound-art’ that suffers from incidentalism. No such problem with Zbigniew Karkowski, noisenik and agent provocateur. Consciously Unconscious. Unconsciously Conscious prefers you bask in the pulse of transformer electricity, a series of galvanic hums whose amperage is further rubbed, tweaked and massaged into drones of glorious wow and flutter. Invasive, and in a masterful way. Illustrated amply enough on Train de nuit, collagist Lionel Marchetti moves effortlessly between parallel worlds of experimentation and ephemera. At first, it appears he has stumbled upon a long-lost soundtrack to a François Truffaut film, the scampering of petite footsteps on cobblestones echoing the bleak vision of 400 Blows. Such a fertile beginning unfortunately gives way to abstract constructivism that, while superficially interesting, fails to gel into an engaging whole. On both geographic and musical fronts, history has demonstrated that reunification is often a good thing.

… wonderful Metamkine label continues to release works by artists mining a territory of seemingly limitless aural vistas.

Le son des objets musicaux

Ruta 66, mardi 1 juillet 2003

Espaces de sons: les sons environnementaux dans l’électroacoustique

David Turgeon,, dimanche 1 juin 2003

Les sons environnementaux (field recordings) ont toujours fasciné les compositeurs électroacoustiques, ceci depuis les Cinq études de bruits (1948) de Pierre Schaeffer et ses enregistrements de trains modifiés. Avec le Vancouver Soundscape 1973 (1972-73) de R Murray Schafer, ces sons du quotidien s’articulent autour d’un discours qu’on nommera «écologie sonore», où les sons gardent leur signification originale, et ne servent plus comme contenu anecdotique à la merci du compositeur. Le lecteur curieux notera que Jonty Harrison fait une intéressante synthèse de ces deux approches dans son texte {cnotice:imed_0052-0001/À propos d'Évidence matérielle/cnotice}.

En fait, chaque compositeur semble privilégier une approche différente par rapport aux sons environnementaux. Alors que l’écologie sonore voit fleurir des artistes du microphone tels que Claude Schryer et bien sûr Hildegard Westerkamp et sa fameuse Kits Beach Soundwalk (1989), des préoccupations autrement plus documentaires alimentent un disque tel que Corazón Road (1993), carnet de voyage sonore du duo français Kristoff K Roll. Entretemps, le compositeur new-yorkais Jon Hudak part d’une palette extrêmement minimaliste afin de trouver l’«essence» des sons utilisés, ce qui donne à l’auditeur de doux «soundscapes» planants. Élève du ci-haut mentionné Harrison, Natasha Barrett se rapproche davantage de la tradition acousmatique tout en concevant des paysages sonores de toute beauté à partir de sons environnementaux très discrets.

De jeunes compositeurs s’ajoutent constamment au paysage (sonore…) et il serait malvenu de les confiner au silence tant leur travail nous semble digne d’intérêt. Mentionnons d’abord le californien V. V. (de son vrai nom Ven Voisey), qui intègre ses sons trouvés dans une architecture rappelant la musique concrète «vieille école» — ce faisant, il montre combien Schaeffer n’est peut-être pas si éloigné esthétiquement de Merzbow… Avec Relisten, l’autrichien Bernhard Gal nous fait découvrir ses épisodes, soigneusement choisis, de «musique trouvée» (c’est-à-dire de structures musicales existant déjà dans le matériel environnemmental.) Enfin, de par son foissonnement d’idées et son rythme toujours soutenu, le surprenant flume ridge.halifax.lisbon (2001) du montréalais Cal Crawford réjouira sans doute les auditeurs à l’affût de nouvelle acousmatique.

Deux petites friandises pour terminer. D’abord, le joli mini-CDR Aenviron: one présente cinq instantanés sonores (et ce, sans aucun traitement!). Après tout, s’il existe du cinéma pour l’oreille, alors pourquoi pas un album photo pour l’oreille! Question de boucler la boucle, nous proposons également de s’arrêter au récent mini-CD de Lionel Marchetti au titre évocateur de Train de nuit (Noord 3-683) (1998-99). Cette œuvre pour un seul haut-parleur, dédiée (on s’en douterait!) à Pierre Schaeffer, nous rappelle, une fois de plus, l’importance toujours renouvelée des sources environnementales dans l’océan électroacoustique.


John Gibson, Grooves, no 10, jeudi 1 mai 2003

A self-taught Parisian musique concrète composer, Marchetti pays homage to the pioneering days of that movement with an affectionate piece that honours Pierre Schaeffer. Constructed largely from samples of locomotives and designed specifically to be played in mono, this sparse, 20-minute piece might well be intended to evoke the image of a ghost train, rather than a simple overnight ride. Voices, where they do appear, seem eerily fractured, much of the train sampling is affected with a disorienting echo and reverb, or else sounds distant. There’s even a sample from the late Jim Morrison at around the 12-minute mark.

Probably intended as an acknowledgment that past eras can never be accurately recreated in the present, Train de nuit (Noord 3-683) is unsettling and well worth a listen.

… unsettling and well worth a listen.…


Frans de Waard, Vital, no 344, mardi 22 octobre 2002

It’s good to see that this series has new life, after the two recent ones, here are two more issues, in what is now a 30 some mini CD’s of electroaoustic and musique concrète. Zbigniew Karkowski is of course well-known, at least in these virtual pages. His music is violent, loud and harsh, and is already released on many labels around the world. This piece, on the cover noted as musique concrète, is mostly a long, low range frequency piece. Musique concrète… what’s the concrete part of it? Hard to recognize the original, concrete source here, as it seems to me that Karkowski is working with sine waves that have been treated in the studio. But this aside, it’s a nice piece of low end hum that has a strong presence in the space you’re in. The walls vibrate and seem to collapse under this set of sounds. It’s harshness for sure, but one that is different from the usual harshness. Zen like austerity is what we are dealing with here.

The other new 3" is by Lionel Marchetti, his second one in the series. Recentely Marchetti released a whole bunch of works on various labels, such as ground fault and Erewhon. This work is dedicated to Pierre Schaeffer, the grandfather/inventor of concrete music. His first piece delt with train sounds, so Marchetti by return goes back to train sounds too. It’s a piece for one loudspeaker, thus glorifying the early days of musique concrète. Sounds from trains aswell as sounds from journeys and travelling make up this piece. There is even a short sample of the Étude aux chemin de fer from Schaeffer to be heard. The resultant piece, in two parts, is a fine collage of train sounds, most of the times to be recognized by their flute signals and people talking, music from walkmans etc - all of those daily sounds that are so connected by going on trains. Great, imaginative work.

Great, imaginative work.