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Atlantic Waves 18may10: Pascal Comelade

Each new album by Pascal Comelade is in itself a bit of an event. The man makes himself rare in France and is much more prolific in Catalonia, where he is considered to be an “essential” musician. In France, he is seldom mentioned in the media, and, in record shops, his music is often to be found in the “film score” section, with “experimental music” or even with “world music”. The last time he really got the attention of the critics was for his musical show “Psicotic Music-Hall” in 2002, a tribute to La Bodega Bohemia, a historical cabaret in Barcelona. Fortunately, “Monofonicorama 2005-1992”, his recent Best-Of album, put into perspective the importance of his works and demonstrated his many-sided musical vision, his multi-layered pocket symphonies, his bazaar of toy instruments and his playful ramblings, sometimes shared with big names in the world of the bizarre: P.J. Harvey (Love Too Soon) and Robert Wyatt (September Song) among others. A great way to brush-up on your Comelade culture and to prepare your ears for what is coming next is the Métode de Rocanrol, the new musical piece by the genius of the Pyrenees.

This new record, portraying a naked lady hiding behind a Minnie Mouse mask on its cover (photo by Les Krims), is a collection of images of great instrumental verve with no lyrics. An enchanted musical box. A fantastic voyage to the sources of primitive music that contains all that has nourished rock’n’roll. A record with many different sides – you will find traces of genres, either as direct references or as elaborately composed images, or simply have to treat it as a musical Tower of Babel.

Mètode de Rocanrol evokes the rebel streak of the bolero-torero served in a Catalan cobla (“The Hallucinogenic Espontex Sinfonia”), the mischief of the loud-talking Jamaïcan riddims (“Il Luna Park Galactico”, “Le Barman de Satan”), Kurt Weill’s carousels, majestic rumbas (“Jopo de Pojo Not Dead”), feverish New Orleans brass bands (“L’U”), the ghost of François de Roubaix, Eric Satie’s great open spaces (“Com un Rossinyol Amb Mal de Queixal”), the rhythmic soul of tango (“Smog on the Vermut”), the best of the 70’s Catalan rock of Pau Riba (“Noia de Porcellena”), the original sorrow of blues (“Stranger in Paradigm”), and a direct reference to 60’s rock (the messy riff of “You Really Got Me” by the Kinks on “Elvis Loved Dogs”, a musical interpretation of Kata Billups’ paintings).

Everything here has been reshaped, decoded, transformed, investigated to its very core and brought to a new light with psychotropic instrumentation: distorted or bottlenecked guitars, and even plastic ones, unruly banjos, clarinets, xylophones, accordions, saxophones, musical saws, muted and un-muted trumpets, toy pianos and real ones, mini-organs, almost drums, trombone, tubas and strings.

Comelade arranged this organized chaos into an eclectic work in the winter temperatures of 2006/2007. On his own, most of the time. He only opened his door to three companions in this spiritual escape: Didier Banon (drummer for the punk band OTH) on drums and percussion, the trombone player Enzo Tozoni, and his old partner Pep Pascual, master of the brass and wind section of Comelade’s work since the beginning.

Comelade is a great guy. His feet deeply anchored in the red earth of his birthplace, his antennae turned towards the invisible and the universal. He is a tightrope-walker, dancing on the spiritual lines among the folk music of the world, and rekindles their ancestral modernity. He penetrates the genres to tickle their spines, telescopes them into sober and figurative repetitive structures. Mètode de Rocanrol is on the same level as his greatest albums, his records with Dadaist names such as: “La Dialectique Peut-Elle Casser des Briques?”, “Petit Précis de Décomposition Bruitiste”, “L’Argot du Bruit”, “Filosophia des Plat Combinat”, “Patafisiskal Polska”, “Logicofobisme des Piano en Minuscul”… This man has reintroduced the idea of circus into serious music and the idea of seriousness into light music. Comelade forever.

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Atlantic Waves 27oct09: LIFEM 09

The very first London International Festival of Exploratory Music (LIFEM) unites the myspace generation of musical explorers from the four corners of the globe.

Produced by Red Orange and presented in the perfect acoustics of Kings Place, LIFEM has truly exploited the incredible potential of the world-wide-web to seek the most exciting finds from the far East, the middle East, the Arctic Circle, south America and East and West Europe. LIFEM shows just what the internet can do for world music.

LIFEM has curated evenings which bring together a selection of artists from shared continents to reveal the commonality and differences between them.

The night of Gypsy, Klezmer and Ceilidh is bound to be extremely rich and diverse as the music of Les Yeux Noirs (France); Cukunft (Poland) and Monster Ceilidh Band (UK) represent three old traditions of social dance and party music culture. Kings Place’s Hall 2 presents dancefloor fillers from Brazil, where the well-loved rhythms of samba have mutated via musical technology to create exotic electronica. Daniel Peixoto brings it bang up to date with dirty, DIY electro pop with more than his slashed neon t-shirts in common with German electro-trash.

Alongside this whirlwind tour of global music, LIFEM also presents a free programme of award-winning short films making their UK debut.

www.lifem.org.uk

88 Atlantic Waves 27oct09

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 89: Laurent Jeanneau

soundscape-chinaLaurent Jeanneau, Frenchman currently living in China, is a specialist in field recordings who spent a lot of time in Asia and a bit in Africa to develop his concept. This album was made of materials recorded on VCD, CD, field recordings [In the Yunnan province, China] then electronically treated. The result is a mix of traditional music, field recordings, electronic atmospheres, free form experimentations.

A crazy quilt of sounds from mainland China. A mix of original field recordings, ethnic minorities in Yannun, TV, scratched Chineses CDs, often long, unbroken chunks, processed in 2001 and 2002 by Laurent Jeanneau, also known as Kink Gong.

Laurent Jeanneau is a long time practitioner of ethnic field recordings. He made this album with materials of VCD, CD, field recording (Yunnan, China) which were setting into electronic/ambient noise textures. Simple and beautiful soundscapes, it makes people fall into visionary reality.

01 Laurent Jeanneau: “Soundscape China” (01:01:39) from “Soundscape China” (2007)

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Sleepings Dogs Lie 66: Eliane Radigue

The grand dame of drone appears on the promising new Schoolmap label, presenting a piece of music that originally surfaced in 1971, performed in three different variations at the New York Cultural Center. This release features a two-part rendering of Chry-ptus from 1971, plus a 2001 reinterpretation assisted by Stefano Bassanese at the CCMIX studio in Paris. There’s even a remix of sorts in the form of a Giuseppe Ielasi realisation of the piece, undertaken as recently as 2006. In all four recordings the themes remain essentially the same, taking the most discerning of Buchla synthesizer tones, loaded with rich overtones and encoded rhythmic sequences. The original recordings of Chry-ptus were committed to two tapes, which are then played back with or without synchronisation, and the key differences between these various versions are down to discrepancies in playback timing, plus slight differences in modulation and amplitude. One for the connoisseurs this, and a beautiful study in analogue electronic sound engineering.

01 Eliane Radigue: “Chry-Ptus I (1971)” (23:40) from “Chry-Ptus” (2007)
02 Eliane Radigue: “Chry-Ptus (Version 2001)” (24:47) from “Chry-Ptus” (2007)
03 Eliane Radigue: “Chry-Ptus (Version 2006)” (23:40) from “Chry-Ptus” (2007)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 51: Eliane Radigue

Eliane Radigue was born in Paris, France. She studied electroacoustic music techniques at the Studio d’essai at the RTF, under the direction of Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry (1957-58). She was married to the artist, Arman, and devoted ten years to the education of three children, deepening classical music studies and instrumental practice on the harp and piano at the same time. In 1967-68 she worked again with Pierre Henry, as his assistant at the Studio Apsome.

Radigue worked for a year at the New York University School of the Arts in 1970-71. Her music, its source an Arp synthesizer and medium recording tape, attracted considerable attention for its sensitive, dappled purity. She was in residence at the electronic music studios of the University of Iowa and California Institute of the Arts in 1973.

Becoming a Tibetan Buddhist in 1975, Radigue went into retreat, and stopped composing for a time. When she took up her career again in 1979, she continued to work with the Arp synthesizer which has become her signature. She composed Triptych for the Ballet Théâtre de Nancy (choreography by Douglas Dunn), Adnos II & Adnos III, and began the large-scale cycle of works based on the life of the Tibetan master, Milarepa.

In 1984 Radigue received a “bourse à la creation” from the French Government to compose Songs of Milarepa, and a “commande de l’état” in 1986 for the continuation of the Milarepa cycle with Jetsun Mila.

Notoriously slow and painstaking in her work, Radigue has produced in the last decade or so on average one major work every three years. Very recently, in response to the demands of musicians worldwide, she has begun creating works for specific performers and instruments together with electronics. The first of these was for bass player Kaspar Toeplitz, and more recently the American cellist Charles Curtis.

Performances of her music have taken place at galleries and museums such as the Salon des Artistes Decorateurs (Paris), Foundation Maeght (St. Paul de Vence), Albany Museum of the Arts (New York), Galerie Rive Droite (Paris), Gallery Sonnabend (New York), Galerie Yvon Lambert (Paris), and Galerie Shandar (Paris); at festivals including the Festival de Como (Italy), the Festival d’Automne a Paris, Festival Estival (Paris), International Festival of Music (Bourges, France); and at the New York Cultural Center, Experimental Intermedia Foundation (New York), The Kitchen (New York), Columbia University (New York), Vanguard Theatre (Los Angeles), LACE (Los Angeles), Mills College (Oakland), University of Iowa, Bennington School of Music, the San Francisco Art Institute, and the NEMO Festival (Chicago 1996). She has appeared on many broadcast programs including France Culture, France Musique, distribution via satellite covering over 50 stations in the U.S. including special programs on KPFK (Los Angeles) and KPFA (San Francisco).

Radigue currently lives in France, where she continues to compose electronic music and study the teachings of the Tibetan lamas. She returns to the United States periodically to present programs of her electronic works.

01 Eliane Radigue: “L’île re-sonante” (2005)
02 Eliane Radigue: “Biogenesis” (1996)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 50: Eliane Radigue

Eliane Radigue was born in Paris, France. She studied electroacoustic music techniques at the Studio d’essai at the RTF, under the direction of Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry (1957-58). She was married to the artist, Arman, and devoted ten years to the education of three children, deepening classical music studies and instrumental practice on the harp and piano at the same time. In 1967-68 she worked again with Pierre Henry, as his assistant at the Studio Apsome.

Radigue worked for a year at the New York University School of the Arts in 1970-71. Her music, its source an Arp synthesizer and medium recording tape, attracted considerable attention for its sensitive, dappled purity. She was in residence at the electronic music studios of the University of Iowa and California Institute of the Arts in 1973.

Becoming a Tibetan Buddhist in 1975, Radigue went into retreat, and stopped composing for a time. When she took up her career again in 1979, she continued to work with the Arp synthesizer which has become her signature. She composed Triptych for the Ballet Théâtre de Nancy (choreography by Douglas Dunn), Adnos II & Adnos III, and began the large-scale cycle of works based on the life of the Tibetan master, Milarepa.

In 1984 Radigue received a “bourse à la creation” from the French Government to compose Songs of Milarepa, and a “commande de l’état” in 1986 for the continuation of the Milarepa cycle with Jetsun Mila.

Notoriously slow and painstaking in her work, Radigue has produced in the last decade or so on average one major work every three years. Very recently, in response to the demands of musicians worldwide, she has begun creating works for specific performers and instruments together with electronics. The first of these was for bass player Kaspar Toeplitz, and more recently the American cellist Charles Curtis.

Performances of her music have taken place at galleries and museums such as the Salon des Artistes Decorateurs (Paris), Foundation Maeght (St. Paul de Vence), Albany Museum of the Arts (New York), Galerie Rive Droite (Paris), Gallery Sonnabend (New York), Galerie Yvon Lambert (Paris), and Galerie Shandar (Paris); at festivals including the Festival de Como (Italy), the Festival d’Automne a Paris, Festival Estival (Paris), International Festival of Music (Bourges, France); and at the New York Cultural Center, Experimental Intermedia Foundation (New York), The Kitchen (New York), Columbia University (New York), Vanguard Theatre (Los Angeles), LACE (Los Angeles), Mills College (Oakland), University of Iowa, Bennington School of Music, the San Francisco Art Institute, and the NEMO Festival (Chicago 1996). She has appeared on many broadcast programs including France Culture, France Musique, distribution via satellite covering over 50 stations in the U.S. including special programs on KPFK (Los Angeles) and KPFA (San Francisco).

Radigue currently lives in France, where she continues to compose electronic music and study the teachings of the Tibetan lamas. She returns to the United States periodically to present programs of her electronic works.

01 Eliane Radigue: “Adnos 3” (2002)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 49: Eliane Radigue

Eliane Radigue was born in Paris, France. She studied electroacoustic music techniques at the Studio d’essai at the RTF, under the direction of Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry (1957-58). She was married to the artist, Arman, and devoted ten years to the education of three children, deepening classical music studies and instrumental practice on the harp and piano at the same time. In 1967-68 she worked again with Pierre Henry, as his assistant at the Studio Apsome.

Radigue worked for a year at the New York University School of the Arts in 1970-71. Her music, its source an Arp synthesizer and medium recording tape, attracted considerable attention for its sensitive, dappled purity. She was in residence at the electronic music studios of the University of Iowa and California Institute of the Arts in 1973.

Becoming a Tibetan Buddhist in 1975, Radigue went into retreat, and stopped composing for a time. When she took up her career again in 1979, she continued to work with the Arp synthesizer which has become her signature. She composed Triptych for the Ballet Théâtre de Nancy (choreography by Douglas Dunn), Adnos II & Adnos III, and began the large-scale cycle of works based on the life of the Tibetan master, Milarepa.

In 1984 Radigue received a “bourse à la creation” from the French Government to compose Songs of Milarepa, and a “commande de l’état” in 1986 for the continuation of the Milarepa cycle with Jetsun Mila.

Notoriously slow and painstaking in her work, Radigue has produced in the last decade or so on average one major work every three years. Very recently, in response to the demands of musicians worldwide, she has begun creating works for specific performers and instruments together with electronics. The first of these was for bass player Kaspar Toeplitz, and more recently the American cellist Charles Curtis.

Performances of her music have taken place at galleries and museums such as the Salon des Artistes Decorateurs (Paris), Foundation Maeght (St. Paul de Vence), Albany Museum of the Arts (New York), Galerie Rive Droite (Paris), Gallery Sonnabend (New York), Galerie Yvon Lambert (Paris), and Galerie Shandar (Paris); at festivals including the Festival de Como (Italy), the Festival d’Automne a Paris, Festival Estival (Paris), International Festival of Music (Bourges, France); and at the New York Cultural Center, Experimental Intermedia Foundation (New York), The Kitchen (New York), Columbia University (New York), Vanguard Theatre (Los Angeles), LACE (Los Angeles), Mills College (Oakland), University of Iowa, Bennington School of Music, the San Francisco Art Institute, and the NEMO Festival (Chicago 1996). She has appeared on many broadcast programs including France Culture, France Musique, distribution via satellite covering over 50 stations in the U.S. including special programs on KPFK (Los Angeles) and KPFA (San Francisco).

Radigue currently lives in France, where she continues to compose electronic music and study the teachings of the Tibetan lamas. She returns to the United States periodically to present programs of her electronic works.

01 Eliane Radigue: “Adnos 2” (2002)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 48: Eliane Radigue

Eliane Radigue was born in Paris, France. She studied electroacoustic music techniques at the Studio d’essai at the RTF, under the direction of Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry (1957-58). She was married to the artist, Arman, and devoted ten years to the education of three children, deepening classical music studies and instrumental practice on the harp and piano at the same time. In 1967-68 she worked again with Pierre Henry, as his assistant at the Studio Apsome.

Radigue worked for a year at the New York University School of the Arts in 1970-71. Her music, its source an Arp synthesizer and medium recording tape, attracted considerable attention for its sensitive, dappled purity. She was in residence at the electronic music studios of the University of Iowa and California Institute of the Arts in 1973.

Becoming a Tibetan Buddhist in 1975, Radigue went into retreat, and stopped composing for a time. When she took up her career again in 1979, she continued to work with the Arp synthesizer which has become her signature. She composed Triptych for the Ballet Théâtre de Nancy (choreography by Douglas Dunn), Adnos II & Adnos III, and began the large-scale cycle of works based on the life of the Tibetan master, Milarepa.

In 1984 Radigue received a “bourse à la creation” from the French Government to compose Songs of Milarepa, and a “commande de l’état” in 1986 for the continuation of the Milarepa cycle with Jetsun Mila.

Notoriously slow and painstaking in her work, Radigue has produced in the last decade or so on average one major work every three years. Very recently, in response to the demands of musicians worldwide, she has begun creating works for specific performers and instruments together with electronics. The first of these was for bass player Kaspar Toeplitz, and more recently the American cellist Charles Curtis.

Performances of her music have taken place at galleries and museums such as the Salon des Artistes Decorateurs (Paris), Foundation Maeght (St. Paul de Vence), Albany Museum of the Arts (New York), Galerie Rive Droite (Paris), Gallery Sonnabend (New York), Galerie Yvon Lambert (Paris), and Galerie Shandar (Paris); at festivals including the Festival de Como (Italy), the Festival d’Automne a Paris, Festival Estival (Paris), International Festival of Music (Bourges, France); and at the New York Cultural Center, Experimental Intermedia Foundation (New York), The Kitchen (New York), Columbia University (New York), Vanguard Theatre (Los Angeles), LACE (Los Angeles), Mills College (Oakland), University of Iowa, Bennington School of Music, the San Francisco Art Institute, and the NEMO Festival (Chicago 1996). She has appeared on many broadcast programs including France Culture, France Musique, distribution via satellite covering over 50 stations in the U.S. including special programs on KPFK (Los Angeles) and KPFA (San Francisco).

Radigue currently lives in France, where she continues to compose electronic music and study the teachings of the Tibetan lamas. She returns to the United States periodically to present programs of her electronic works.

01 Eliane Radigue: “Adnos 1” (2002)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 18: Erik Satie

Written by eccentric French composer Erik Satie in 1893, the extraordinary score for Vexations is just three lines long, yet a complete performance (840 repetitions) may last for anything between 14 and 28 hours. First performed under the supervision of John Cage in 1963, this radical yet enigmatic work is now recognized as a significant milestone in avant-garde music. This meditative 70 minute recording features 40 repetitions of the motif, performed by Alan Marks on piano. The recording was produced by Thomas Wilbrant. 2005.

01. Erik Satie: “Vexations” (from “Vexations – Alan Marks, piano”, LTM, 2005)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 13: Michel Redolfi, Max Eastley, Michael Prime

Michel Redolfi makes real atmospheric music, in this case, on his second volume of underwater music — and his first on CD; this is music to be recorded, played, and listened to underwater. Yep. Redolfi hangs microphones underwater, leaving them there for years at a time, records sound, then records other sounds from near-silent or silent auditory environments above the water, processes them — with the help of Pascal Gobin and Michel Pascal — with synthesizers and then plays them back to an audience, who is sometimes underwater! What does it sound like? Like music made in the deep stillness of time. The keyboards add something, like a very subtle trance-inducing effect while the underwater sounds, such as on “Effractions,” which was played to an audience seated outside, suggested a marriage of sea and sky, evoking the notion of a lost civilization, or the lost traces of some passage. They shimmer and sweep, irregularly wash over, and disappear just as suddenly. On “A Sunny Afternoon at Bird Rock,” sounds from the air are melded and even collaged with the sonic pulses. Water and air joining together, held in mid-space by the synthesizers — so minimal they almost aren’t there — and whistle and wave through each other as well as the listener. The effect is heightened tenfold through headphones as gulls cross from one speaker to the next, and formations of water bubble up from the depths and move in the other direction. Finally, the amazing “Full Scale Ocean,” which has been performed dozens of times in tide pools, oceans, ponds, lakes, and rivers, becomes the overwhelming experience that joins technology and the natural world together as one inseparable universe. Over half-an-hour in length, this is music as atmosphere because that’s what it is. The sheer technical manipulation of those natural sounds that most affect the human mind and body are edited together and mixed into a whole that echoes deep within the human psyche. This is what Brian Eno only dreamed of doing, and what those other environments records wish they could pull off. Truly amazing. ~ Thom Jurek, All Music Guide

“when a couple of years ago michael posted a couple of cdrs to listen to couldn’t imagine that i’d ever saw myself issuing a mprime / max eastley CD… or better to return to the story… i listen to the cdrs, the negative entropy one is already history, guess now the enthusiasm (called ‘wet pants’) when michael asked whether i’d love to do the ‘hydrophony for dagon’ as a CD on absurd… how can you say ‘no’ for a release that’s a collaboration between 2 of your all time faves… on one hand max being a legend of england’s 60’s improv scene, already in absurd’s tiny universe, participating in absurd’s beloved records like ‘music for new and rediscovered musical instruments’ on obscure or the epic ‘circadian rhythm’ on incus or the stunning ‘doll creature’ cd with david toop and on the other michael not only for being a cool pal for long but also being a member of my beloved ‘morphogenesis’ combo needless to say ’bout solo works… and for an underwater recording done in 96 in copenhagen crafted with tapes, motors, objects, hydro-arc, fans where slowly a liquid web is woven with sounds coming and going, getting a feeling as if you are not only seeing the spider creating its web but you have the chance not only to listen its creation but also listen it at its slightest detail, of such delicate & adventurous electroacoustics this cd is being made…celebrating the outbreak of absurd’s mark III…”.

01. Michel Redolfi: “Full Scale Ocean” (from “Sonic Waters N. 2 (underwater music) 1983-1989”, Hat Hut, 1990)
02. Max Eastley, Michael Prime: “Hydrophony for Dagon” (from “Hydrophony for Dagon”, Absurd, 2006)

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