Music reviews

Doug Dillaman, Space City Rock, no. 4, June 1, 2001

So this is really confusing — two CD’s from Québec, both consisting of short avant-garde pieces, borth in this really strange cardboard packaging (apparently the Opak box — imagine if a jewel box was made of cardboard and opened like a matchbox and you’re getting there), but different labels. But the same street address. Odd. I guess I should have kept the press kit.

Of the two, I think I prefer the Ambiances Magnétiques collection. Focused on composers and performers, it gives you an opportunity to sample the works of nine different Québec composers, working in different idioms (from jazz-ish to classical to turntablism). It doesn’t all make sense to me, but it’s intriguing and varied, kind of like listening to a good avant-garde radio show.

The Miniatures Concrètes, meanwhile, is a collection of short musique concrète pieces. If you have no idea what that means well, basically, it s all assemblage and processing of found sounds, with the results typically sounding like somebody threw 100 source tapes in a blender and spliced them together arbitrarily. For those looking for sounds to expand their ears, this is a good place to find it. For those whose ears have alteady been expanded, there may not be a whole lot of new ground covered here. Which is not so much criticism of the artists as of the genre: for me, musique concrète is kind of a dead-end genre after a while, for reasons that I dont feel like getting into here, since 99% of you wont care and 1% will virulently disagree and never be convinced otherwise.

Regardless, both of these records are interesting pieces of work, and worth taking a listen to if you get the chance.

… interesting pieces of work, and worth taking a listen to…