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Punt Érick d’Orion, Guillaume Cliche

… breathtaking results, as beautiful as they are electrifying. Don’t even think about headphones for this one: this is an album for speakers, and should be played as loud as you possibly dare. 5:4, UK

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Punt (in American and Canadian football): A kick performed by dropping the ball from the hands and then kicking it before it hits the ground.

Spontaneous electroacoustic music from Cliche and d’Orion (both active members of the label/collective Kohlenstoff): far from all forms of narration, this is radical, noisy, swift stuff. With Punt, the duo has decided to opt for dynamic compositions that blur boundaries between extremes: pop music and noise, new age and death metal, digital and analog. Elastic rhythms rub shoulders with mechanical grooves, flirting at times with saturation. Each track is borne out of a series of improvisations, with the two composers determining/choosing the different items to keep/join together/cut/paste.

  • Mikroclimat
  • MKR 111 / 2019
  • UPC/EAN 771028301188
  • Total duration: 36:31

Stereo

  • 44,1 kHz, 24 bits

• MP3 • OGG • FLAC

Punt

Érick d’Orion, Guillaume Cliche

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In the press

Review

Simon Cummings, 5:4, May 7, 2020

One of the mid-length releases i’ve been revelling in most lately is Punt by Érick d’Orion and Guillaume Cliche. It exhibits something i always treasure in music of all kinds: complexity as the product of relative simplicity (which is usually the most interesting kind of complexity). The nine electronic pieces on Punt, which were improvised and range from around 2 1/2 to 6 minutes’ duration, share a lot of similarities. Perhaps the most obvious, because it features so often, is the superposition of very rapid ticks or pulses with material that either seems contrastingly suspended or manifests in amorphous, nebulous forms.

What’s so exciting about these superpositions is how they’re dramatic in their own right — forming extended periods of mounting and/or maintained tension — and regularly lead to or even precipitate instances of eruption and overload. It’s a simple but highly effective melding of (ostensible) stability and free-wheeling caprice that has the most hypnotic effect (each time i listen i find myself forgetting to breathe). In opening track blitz it forms the basis for what feels like the most prolonged build-up you’ve ever heard, yet this sequence lasts less than 90 seconds. What ensues is pure exhilaration: a deep throbbing drone and thwanging bass notes absolutely caked in the most squelching, squalling detritus. yard behaves similarly, accumulating layers of rapid-fire ticking that continue despite being plunged into a sticky miasma through which muted traces of where we came from can be dimly heard far above. It’s one of a number of instances throughout Punt where the re-emergence into the musical ‘light’ triggers an irrevocable corrosion, its elements quickly falling apart and dissolving before our ears.

mach finds the repetitive layer articulated as pounding beats which find their opposite in swooping glissando tones overhead. d’Orion and Cliche simply move back and forth in their emphasis on these two ideas, and i can’t help feeling the results are all the more effective not only due to their simplicity but also their brevity; mach makes for a pretty breathless three minutes. In Furose the tables are turned somewhat, initially at least, the entry of the beats becoming a climax after a minute and a half of intense piercing and grinding tones. Thereafter these beats set up multiple strata of repetitions, some percussive, some pitched, all flecked wildly with hot electronic splurge.

Elsewhere in Punt the contrasts thrown together are less polarised and more cohesive. pinte is essentially a short study in shape-shifting pitches, some of which speed up and down into temporary pulsations while unchanging sonar-like pings resonate all around. Houston and Razzia inject large amounts of warmth into their respective soundworlds. In the former it comes in a transfixed ambient wave, within which we glimpse, among other things, the possibility of voices; in the latter an expanse of exquisite hovering chords is for a time made to ripple and undulate by pounding beats on its oceanic floor.

All of these ideas find their apex in the concluding pair of tracks, which push them to epic proportions. Rio Grande projects the ambient richness into a vast space, its slowly-shifting hanging chords periodically made to throb due to massive deep pulses. There’s a real sense of the cosmic here, especially as the after-effects of these pulses cause an ever growing mixture of glimmering and juddering to stretch across its sonic universe. Sheer ecstasy. Final track yard (nouvel-âge) returns to the album’s original idea, though now its rapid percussive ticking sounds inextricably interconnected to the gentle pitches floating over them. At the mid-point they begin to meld, the beats transformed into motes of light dancing on and bouncing off its own surface. It leads to a thrilling denouement of full-force radiant clatter, in the midst of which we see thin shards and slivers of light penetrating through, until everything distorts and the music erodes itself out of existence.

I’m embarrassed to admit that Punt passed me by when it was released last year, but I’m delighted finally to have discovered it — and though i’ve subsequently been returning to it many, many times i still can’t get enough of it. It’s a dazzling example of how simple ideas can lead to breathtaking results, as beautiful as they are electrifying. Don’t even think about headphones for this one: this is an album for speakers, and should be played as loud as you possibly dare.

… breathtaking results, as beautiful as they are electrifying. Don’t even think about headphones for this one: this is an album for speakers, and should be played as loud as you possibly dare.

Critique

Louis Paulhus, Mes enceintes font défaut, March 15, 2019

Commençons par la fin… S’il y a une chose que je peux vous garantir lorsque vous écouterez Punt, c’est que vous ne vous ennuierez pas, c’est une promesse! La fusion des idées d’ Érick d’Orion et de Guillaume Cliche (avec qui nous avons eu la chance de discuter l’été dernier à propos du label Musique Maison) a permis l’élaboration d’un album rafraîchissant autant par son originalité que par sa pertinence. Mikroclimat nous a habitué·e·s à des parutions de grande qualité et nous sommes bien servis avec cette expérimentation électroacoustique qui repousse les limites. Pouvions-nous s’attendre à autre chose de la part de deux figures établies des sphères électroniques et expérimentales québécoises? Punt représente beaucoup plus qu’un botté de dégagement, c’est un spectaculaire et brillant touché.

À l’amorce de blitz, entame de cette colossale offrande, vous serez déjà dans l’ambiance désirée. Les deux compositeurs ne prennent aucun détour et débutent en force avec de rapides sonorités noise plutôt angoissantes. Il s’agit de l’atmosphère qui régnera sur l’intégralité des 9 morceaux. Les bruits sont stridents, voire même agressants par moment, mais nous en redemandons. Mon cerveau s’aligne sur le même canal que la musique qui résonne dans mes haut-parleurs et les deux entités forment un tout. Mon esprit s’égare dans ce monde qui bascule sans cesse. C’est un univers où les éléments s’entrechoquent parfois violemment, mais peuvent également se côtoyer avec beaucoup de délicatesse.

Les compositions de Cliche et d’Orion sont plus que du noise ou de l’électroacoustique; les styles varient et s’harmonisent dans cet élan de distorsion et de décibels. Le rythme augmente à quelques reprises sur l’album et le résultat en est terriblement efficace. Prenez mach, par exemple, où les percussions s’ajoutent à la fête pour donner un morceau aux apparences technoise qui donne drôlement envie de bouger. Ce segment n’est pas sans rappeler les créations acharnées du talentueux musicien Container qui manie si bien cette fine ligne entre l’ivresse de la techno et la brutalité du noise. Malgré cette intensité, nous avons également droit à des moments plus ambiants, comme sur Rio Grande où des mélodies atmosphériques et délicates agissent comme lien entre ces assemblages déconstruits et dynamiques.

Maintenant, il ne reste plus qu’à espérer que cette agréable collaboration se poursuive et qui sait, peut-être aurons-nous la chance de les voir sur scène prochainement?

Punt représente beaucoup plus qu’un botté de dégagement, c’est un spectaculaire et brillant touché.

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