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Review

Jeremy Keens, Ampersand Etcetera, no 2002_7, 20 mai 2002

Following the No Type compilation, three new disks from the real world collaboration between David Turgeon and DIFFUSION i MéDIA arrived at Ampersand Etc.

Magali Babin improvises her sounds on “metallic instruments and objects, which [she has] made, recycled or reinvented,” which go beyond the tin things pictured on the cover, as the notes also mention “a rather small electrical object… guitar pick up,” the mike placement has also had an important impact, as has “the studio work.” However, created originally for a radio show, the pieces here demonstrate the range of her constructions.

It opens with a more tentative, less structured piece that like many improv albums, tests the listener straight off. Triturations is an amalgam of shimmers pops scrapes twangs voicey-noises shakes subtleties and crackles that twists and changes adding thuds and winds in a complex electroacoustic weave of sounds of unusual colour and timbre. Petit jardin is more straightforward, alternating periods of a strumming with the sound of pebbles dropped in a bowl, with an overall chime, adding a scooping sound near the end. With my french, La corde is appropriately named – scraping and some plucking of a stretched wire accompanied by a percussive thud that sometimes sounds like a ruler being twanged. Monsieur et madame Watt has two components: an electronic buzz with becomes a wave and then a pulse over which there is a light percussive rumbling and scrabble. A tapping rolling scrape in E sounds like the microphone was inside a pipe being played, gradually speeding up, and into the big rolling percussion of L’entonnoir that forms a full-on assault over droning base and light playful tappings over. Jogging dans la maison hantée – was composed with Alain Chenier and Mario Gauthier (from the radio station): sighs and clicks run through as little noises explode over – scrapey rumble, high wail, rubbing noises – that ebb and flow returning wit stretched decay for a little big finale.

Dramatic flourishes of tapping and a fast rubbing increase in volume and speed in Ma tribu, eventually pulsating. And then the finale, Pluie de homards (which has been mixed with an Ian Nagoski piece apparently) a fabulous conclusion, verging on electro-noise as big hollow resonances whoosh over a light crackling clatter. And nicely completes the trajectory the album has created from its more finely grained opening.

An unusual and engrossing album. As you read the reviews of the others that make up this first batch from IMNT, it will be obvious that David Turgeon has maintained the unique eclecticism that made/makes the on-line label so fascinating. I hope that there is enough interest in the real world to allow the label to continue this musical exploration. For those in the know, the IMNT releases are packaged in the same card sleeves that are a little like upmarket cigarette packets. This allows for some interesting artwork and extensive liner notes, and maintains the tradition.

An unusual and engrossing album.

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