Monday, May 9, 2011

Recommendation: Francis Dhomont - Frankenstein Symphony (1997, Asphodel)

Some 2 or 3 years ago, I'm not sure when, I started to be interested in musique concrete/electro-acoustic/acousmatic music. I received guidance from several people, and one in particular, Michael from Progressive Ears, recommended me particular composers and compositions that have since caught my ears.

He introduced me to the forefathers of this intriguing and weird field: Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry (who together established the Groupe de Recherche de Musique Concrète), Pierre Boulez, Jean Barraqué as well as others who came a little later such as Luc Ferrari, Bernard Parmegiani, François Bayle et al. (I have also gotten a little into the other school of Elektronische Musik as well as into Spectral music). There were of course examples of composers using pre-recorded music and manipulated sounds before them, but that's another point.
I've started accumulating recordings by several composers (Dhomont, Ferarri, Parmegiani, Xenakis, Boulez, Dimuzio, Dumitrescu) as well as a compilation of the INA-GRM with various composers that were part of along the years. 

One does not listen to this because of melody (as there is none, or very little) or for beauty (though that is to be found, it just depends on your tastes), but for the experience, the ambiances conjured and the curiosity and satisfaction of hearing how a person manipulates sounds, whether natural or man-made, and molds them into something entirely different. It can be a rewarding listen as much as it can either piss you off (sometimes some of the sounds/noises chosen can do that) or leave you completely bewildered (and not necessarily in a good way). 

One of the first recommendation Michael gave me was this album, Frankenstein Symphony, by French composer, Francis Dhomont.
Why Frankenstein Symphony? Because, it is made of bits and pieces of various sources, making up a complete new work that stands on its own. It is a creepy adventure, one that can be very odd sounding and weird in one moment to scary and intense the next. It can also be perplexing; some of the sounds may make you uneasy and questioning yourself as to what is going on and why are you listening to this. You will start asking yourself questions as to what constitutes music and where does mindless noise begin. 

This is what the composer says about this recording:
“A hybrid thing in four movements, made of cut-up pieces, pasted, assembled, sowed parts that are alike and contrasted, and that I have named, for obvious reasons, the Frankenstein Symphony: an unusual electroacoustic adventure. Armed with a scalpel and a splicing (operational) block, I sampled several morphological organs from the the works of 22 composers and friends (many of whom were students of mine), and with their imprudent blessings (on a stormy night?), brought to life this little acoustic monster which I hold particularly close to my heart.”

Composer pages in ElectroCD website

Here are the sources for the Symphony:
"Frankenstein Symphony is a large-scale collage by Francis Dhomont made (in complicity) from the following works:
Alchimie by Pascale Trudel
Aram Nal by Emmanuel Madan
Attraction by Ned Bouhalassa
Au delà de la porte by Claudia Tamayo
Chambre interdite by Francis Dhomont
Concept 2018957 by Louis Dufort
Les corps éblouis by Christian Calon
L’Entrevue by Yves Daoust
Fils de chien by Monique Jean
L’intérieur de Gaïa by Luc Fortin
Itinéraire au Crépuscule by Michel Frigon
Lorsque l’obscurité… by Alexandre Burton
Métal by Annette Vande Gorne
Novars by Francis Dhomont
Ondes / Arborescences by Stéphane Roy
Passage secret by Martin M Tétreault
Qu’est-ce concert? by Mario Rodrigue
Signé Dionysos by Francis Dhomont
Spleen by Robert Normandeau
Style de bougalou by Michel A Smith
T’es le fun téléphone by Roxanne Turcotte
Terre by Annette Vande Gorne
Toccata by Yves Daoust
Transport by Claude Schryer
Traverser les grandes eaux by Daniel Leduc
Le vertige inconnu by Gilles Gobeil "

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