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Review

Richard di Santo, Incursion Music Review, 29 avril 2002

For the recordings of Chemin de fer, Montréal based sound explorer Magali Babin found inspiration in metallic objects of all shapes and sizes. Through improvisation, she brings out their sonorous qualities and created a series of dynamic sound sculptures; “sculpture” is a good term for this music (or, at least it’s a convenient term) because of its concrete qualities and strong textures. From deep gongs to light rustling, strange scrapings and various clamourous sounds, Babin keeps things dynamic and interesting, pursuing new ideas and sounds from different objects in each track. Very little, if any, digital processing was used in the making of these recordings. An intriguing buzzing drone pulses through the piece Monsieur et madame Watt. A beautifully rich scraping texture can be found on L’entonnoir, a relatively short piece with such an intense character. This is followed by short “chirps” dominating the following track. The diversity of sounds and intriguing arrangements notwithstanding, the listener is able to understand from the first couple of tracks the general tone and approach to the work as a whole. This is not to say that the music is predictable; but one picks up its “language” quickly. As a result, I found myself more interested in the first twenty or so minutes of listening, finding my curiosity and attention gradually waning after a while. Still, it’s an intriguing release, full of unusual tones, resonances and strikes; in short, a compelling introduction to Babin’s unique world of sound.

From deep gongs to light rustling, strange scrapings and various clamourous sounds, Babin keeps things dynamic and interesting…

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