Overall, Chaos contrôlé is a decidedly experimental album that expands the classical electronic music canon in a very interesting way. This is an exciting and imaginative project that I am sure I will return to many times in the future. — Avant Music News
Chaos contrôlé combines my two greatest passions: order and disorder.
Cheerfully created, the album only incorporates sounds that come from circuit-bending made on some second-hand toys electronic circuits. Those hackings and playful manipulations offered a lot of unique sound textures, motions and behaviors that are composed within the pieces in a way that doesn’t alienate their glitchy nature.
The idea behind the realization of this work carries on the path started by a performance developed in 2018 and that is in constant evolution: «this performance is no longer available due to […]». It includes circuit-bending and live sound processing. Both projects evolve around hardware reuse with an anticonsumerism/DIY ideology.
- 1Amies imaginaires (et autres incomprises) (2019-20), 4:58fixed medium
- 2How to navigate through social anxiety in 3 easy steps (2019-20), 6:57fixed medium
- 3Chaos contrôlé (ou toutes les choses qui se passent dans ma tête quand je fixe le vide) (2019-20), 10:05fixed medium
- Label: Mikroclimat
- MKR 118 / 2020
- UCC 771028301881
- Total duration: 22:00
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In the press
Parmi les dernières réalisations du label Mikroclimat, celles de Léa Boudreau et du duo Sarah Albu / Vergil Sharkya’ présente quelques similitudes: une sorte de zapping, de pot-pourri de sons divers qui se télescopent, parfois de manière fugace. Un bric-à-brac sonore souvent joyeux (même lorsque les sons pourraient être anxiogènes par leur nature), rehaussé dans le second cas par la voix de Sarah Albu. Un travail étonnant de Léa Boudreau, qui jusqu’à maintenant a plutôt œuvré dans la chanson rock au sein d’une formation, The Bright Road (cf. l’album Océan). Sarah Albu, elle, est vocaliste et voyage entre les polyphonies des XVe et XXe siècles (Stimmung de Stockhausen) et l’approche expérimentale et bruitiste: on note un travail avec Architek Percussion (cf R&C No. 112) et le compositeur acousmatique James O’Callaghan. Son partenaire Vergil Sharkya’, originaire d’Autriche, a travaillé avec Philip Jeck et explore plus particulièrement synthétiseurs, logiciels, effets électroniques et analogiques; on a pu le croiser au sein de l’Ensemble SuperMusique.
Léa Boudreau’s new album Chaos contrôlé includes sounds created solely through the ‘bending’ of circuits in electronic toys. The music in Chaos contrôlé is glitchy and paroxysmal in an extremely attention-grabbing way. While the compositional process used in this project would seem to pose significant limitations, this does not impede Boudreau in any way: she manages to create unbelievably imaginative sonic objects and to retain great control in manipulating these sounds.
The sounds in the album are at once playful, colorful, and abrasive—somewhat like a musical embodiment of Trenton Doyle Hancock’s artwork. Aggressive percussive forces, paired with children’s songs, create a dark and sardonic tone. While this comical element is present throughout the album, Boudreau does more than simply express a type of creepy humor. The album addresses themes of childhood, blending the perspectives of child and parent by including titles that imply a parent’s advice to his or her child, and other titles and musical elements that express a child’s wonder. Some of the themes are historically specific, while others are universal — Boudreau addresses anxieties and naiveté.
While the incorporation of toys and distorted children’s songs is novel and interesting in this album, many other evocative textures emerge throughout the work. Retro synthesizers and video game sounds interact and are layered upon one another, creating visual and cultural associations. Computerized, swarm-like textures in Amies imaginaires (et autres incomprises) seem reminiscent of the impulsions from Stockhausen’s Gesang Der Jünglinge. This album is a ‘song of the youth’ in a different way however, in its incorporation of toys and children’s songs, and more generally in Boudreau’s fresh and relevant perspective. Amid the digital chaos of the album, there are beautiful waning moments, like in How to navigate through social anxiety in 3 easy steps. In this piece, contemplative harmonies are meditated on, and there are even some impressionistic sonorities that quell the musical landscape.
Overall, Chaos contrôlé is a decidedly experimental album that expands the classical electronic music canon in a very interesting way. This is an exciting and imaginative project that I am sure I will return to many times in the future.
All of the sounds on Chaos contrôlé come from circuit-bent toys, which is fabulous for numerous reasons. For one, it provides a renewed purpose to these bundles of wiring and colourful plastic, rebelling against the consumerist cycle of cheap manufacture, short product lifespan and regular replacement. It also means that the album is teeming with whacky samples forced through lo-fidelity sound processors, which will be familiar to any parent whose house is strewn with singing light-up elephants and wheeled walkers: yelps of “it’s learning time!” lisping through bad bitrate, eerie imitations of child laughter, gleeful ear-worm themes played on MIDI instruments. Not only does Boudreau retain the fuzz of those cheap speakers, but she also captures the creep volatility of those sing-a-long toys, which have a knack of falling inexplicably silent and then bursting back into life without any buttons being pressed in the interim.
Most crucially, it obliterates the synonymity between exquisite sound design and clinical abstraction. Boudreau’s precise handling of frequency occurs within the unlikely domain of child’s play and parenting, where the priority is more often to simply get from A to B — by whatever means and however haphazardly — rather than to execute each task perfectly. The record often moves in jerks and stumbles, with drones sent somersaulting by bass plosives and half-bars of “itsy bitsy spider” slurped through pitch bends. Yet just how the best slapstick comedy is a combination of spontaneity and choreography, Boudreau’s work falls ambiguously between painstaking acousmatic sculpture and improvised noise. The boundary between the two is always blurred. In fact, the more chaotic passages — such as the quickfire flicker of noisy transitions “How to navigate through social anxiety in 3 easy steps” — seem likely to be the most carefully arranged. Even at its most exact, Chaos contrôlé retains the silliness and jubilance of its source context.
C’est dans une démarche de recyclage des objets du quotidien, que s’inscrit le travail de la compositrice Léa Boudreau.
Pour Chaos contrôlé, elle s’est penchée sur le circuit-bending de jouets d’occasion, confectionnant une matière première corrosive, qu’elle a sculpté pour donner naissance à des titres aux variations constantes et ludiques.
Naviguant sur des terres inquiétantes traversées de spasmes humoristiques, Chaos contrôlé déverse dans l’espace des volutes tourbillonnantes entrainant l’auditeur dans des contes étranges aux échos palpitants, traversés de modulations glitchées aux grésillements nerveux et de noise cardiaque. Un album cartoonesque pour adultes consentants!!!