Friday, September 19, 2014



 A carton box left for too long on the doorstep by my front neighbour. Each time I popped out I had this damn thing laying by my door wide open, ugly, empty. What's weird is that it had become the center of my thoughts for a day and I gave myself the mission to get rid of it while he would be away. I found myself sneaking outside, take the thing, rush down the building and proudly throw it in the trash can as if I won some war against adversity. 

Trevor Wishart

Creepy feeling, afterwards. Somehow crystallizes my eager for action, some fighting spirit craving to get out. I waited a couple of days, no signs from the man, as if that thing had even never been there. I then realized how ridiculous it was to think that he could bother, seems that I saw potential aggression where there was only negligence.

Beatriz Ferreyra

Well this could describe the atmosphere that reigned in the acousmatic music circle when I started. Some kind of paranoia had settled down in the mind of the composers, the schools fighting to get the attention of both the audience and the cultural institutions. They all hated each other, a strong competition in a so tiny playing field where everyone knows everyone. This climate of suspicion has created two generations of isolationists. 

Jacques Lejeune

The obvious lack of sociability from which many creators of this field suffer and which characterizes that time has built a repertoire of pieces created in the intimacy of the studio, in some kind of devotion that gives it an almost sacred aura. But even though the audience of acousmatic concerts is still composed of a majority of musicians, artists and people of the closed shop, the interest has stayed constant, and the repertoire prolific and very contrasted.  

 Christine Groult

New time, new habits, the situation has changed only recently with the reconciliation of electroacoustic with live electronics which has brought it back to more social manners. The crossing of audience with electronic music coming from the 'street' has also contributed to bring it back to light. Nevertheless, incredible talents got like put aside in the process like ground falling into an earth crack and had stood in the margins or completely unheard for years before coming back to surface with physical reissues mostly in France, Germany, Quebec and the USA. To the new listener, they are the outsiders of the underground - because there's an official underground nowadays - like some gold one would find down a river. Igor Stravinsky says a good composer does not imitate, he steals. I must say we've all stolen each other nicely.

Michel Redolfi

Here are some of my favourite musique concrète composers from the first/second generation who have remained independent despite the love-hate relationship with the institutions, strong characters like Jonty Harrison or Ake Parmerud or more worldwide renowned names such as Francis Dhomont or Bernard Günter. The following were among the ones I instinctively pointed first to Cindy when we met and who have found real positive response on his end : Trevor Wishart, Michel Redolfi, Jacques Lejeune, Beatriz Ferreyra and Christine Groult.

 Trevor Wishart

Trevor Wishart !! the titan of British electronic music according to the blogger Woebot ! 
a very academic background with connections to Universities of York and Durham. The albums that touch me the most have to be "Red Bird", "Journey Into Space" and "Machine". He has links with the Ina-GRM in Paris but his own music has a very English vibe. "Machine" using industrial noises like a power plant in Nottingham, a Schweppes bottling department, a sheet metal factory, the Leeds telephone exchange, real industrial music ! "Journey Into Space" has a primitive shape, maybe a bit dated but still lovely, it has been compared to the Scratch Orchestra, and quite psychedelic in places. "Red Bird" is probably my favourite of the three, a 45-minute piece of musique concrète in four movements, made for the most part of bird singing, body sounds, and mouthed words, what Trevor Wishart calls Computer Sound Transformation : the transformations, all from the voice to other sounds, include 'lis' (from the word 'listen') to birdsong, 'rea' (from the word 'reason') to animal-sounds, 'reasonabl-' to water, and various machine-like events constructed from vocal subunits, and achieved by combining the elementary studio facilities available (tape editing, mixing, mixer eqs) with extended vocal techniques (developed while working as a free improvising vocal performer). This all gels together on the piece named "Red Bird" to make the most wonderful and orgasmic music as for me !

Journey Into Space, Not On Label, 1973                           
Red Bird: A Political Prisoner's Dream, York Electronic Studios, 1978
Machine, Paradigm Discs, 2008

La musique subaquatique - Michel Redolfi literally makes oceanic music .... the pioneer of underwater concerts, where sound is electronically broadcast under the surface of the sea or pools to be enjoyed by floating listeners ... "Immersion / Pacific Tubular Waves", the only album I have, Berangere has more at her studio, but this is such an excellent album. Michel Redolfi is cofounder of the Groupe De Musique Expérimentale de Marseille in the South of France and has been working in the field of tape music since 1969. The endless possibilities of electroacoustic composition have inspired him to imagine his work in terms of what he calls an utopia of the senses : " In april of 1979, I decided to utilize the work "Pacific Tubular Waves", composed the previous winter, so that I could play it and re-record it under the same waves that had been the source of my fantasy during the elaboration of the piece in the studio. Thanks to the water-proof equipment, I was able, hydra-phone in hand, to cover the sonorized depths and listen to the natural remodeling of my sounds by the streams of water and the movement of the stones below."

Immersion / Pacific Tubular Waves, INA-GRM, 1980                                  
Sonic Waters, hat ART, 1984                      
Desert Tracks, INA-GRM, 1988

Well Jacques Lejeune is another great Berangere recommendation. He studied with Pierre Schaeffer himself. I purchased "Parages and other electroacoustic works 1971-1985", the 3-CD boxset which got released a few months ago. What always shocks me with this music, why has this not been written about in the press ? so much of this just goes missing in the UK when more inferior experimental stuff is all over the place ! He takes pianos, harps, random stringed instruments and bells to the chopping block, and then turns them into wavy, dream-like music, more transformations!! amazing stuff and a totally unique style.

Parages And Other Electroacoustic Works 1971-1985 (3xCD), Robot Records, 2013.

In 1963, Beatriz Ferreyra took a position in the research department of the Office de Radio-diffusion Television Française (ORTF), working with the Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM) directed by Pierre Schaeffer. Great craftsmanship, a sort of avant world music, it even brings Can to mind in places. Need to hear more from her ! Here is a description of her work by the British composer Dennis Smalley : "Siesta Blanca" from Argentina's Beatriz Ferreyra, is reminiscent of a contemplative version of "Solitude" by François Bayle, jump-cutting between 'live' musics and electronics. From the folky accordion opening, we slam straight into minimalist drone, creating a mood similar to the anticipatory pause during the opening monologue of the 1960s Star Trek, just before the NBC orchestra takes it into technicolour space. Beatriz Ferreyra's orchestra, however, is caught in an underwater Terry Riley time loop, a flock of flying brass whales, filtered and ringing."

Petit Poucet Magazine, Mnémosyne Musique Média, 1998                          
La Rivière Des Oiseaux, Motus, 2003                                
Beatriz Ferreyra, INA-GRM, 2012

Christine Groult now !! she also works with Beatriz Ferreyra on a regular basis, playing live duos with tape recorders and laptop among other projects. Musicality combining a sort of primitive roughness and refined transformations, imbued with a powerful and personal inspiration. She composes for concert, theater, choreography and film documentaries. She enters her work in the search for expressivity through the poetic potential of sound (recording and transformations) and its dramaturgy - "the thing that concerned me was to undertake projects where music becomes a political research in that it aims to link between creators and the public, between the artistic and the social"… Love the albums I have, impressive use of sound, very cinematic, the title track of her album "La Condition Captive" an absolute stunning piece ! again puts to shame so much current avant electronica !

Lame De Fond, Body & Soul, 1992                       
Etincelles, Motus, 2006                               
La Condition Captive, trAce Label, 2006