Archive for the 'electronic' Category

Various – Walrus compilation

Walrus compilation 2xLP front cover
Walrus compilation 2xLP back cover
Walrus compilation 2xLP Oosterlynck side
Walrus compilation 2xLP Eric de Visscher side

Including Walloon- and Flemish-based composers from the Brussels area (Bierges, Archennes, Leuven), this double LP set, the sole compilation to appear on Lawalrée’s Walrus Records, is also the most experimental release on the label. Dominique Lawalrée‘s own contribution, a static, elongated electric organ drone punctuated with pointillistic electronic ornaments, is more radical than other works I posted previously. The only work on this disc to make use of musique concrète sounds, extensive sound processing and studio treatment, Baudouin Oosterlynck‘s disturbing, S&M soundtrack Suite for a Bondage Room was included in the 4-CD box-set retrospective on Metaphon in 2008. The minimalist piano music of With Hidden Noise (after Marcel Duchamp) was recorded by Eric de Visscher when he was only 23-years old and is his first record release. A composer, music theorist and John Cage specialist, de Visscher became director of IRCAM in 1997 until 2003 when he became director of Musée de la Musique in Paris. Born in 1938, Robert Fesler may be the oldest composer on this compilation, yet his music sounds like contemporary electronica. Fesler was an electronic engineer who built his own synthesizer, in this case the “RPF 756”.

01 Dominique Lawalrée Still Life (18:55)
02 Baudouin Oosterlynck Suite for a Bondage Room (21:42)
03 Eric De Visscher With Hidden Noise (19:00)
04 Robert Fesler Tristesse (12:20)
05 Robert Fesler Le Temps des Poissons Touche à sa Fin (9:50)

Total time 1h 21mns
2xLP released by Walrus, ref. WLS 12 & 13, Brussels, Belgium, 1984

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Lucien Bertolina – Aller Simple

Lucien Bertolina - Aller Simple LP front cover
Lucien Bertolina - Aller Simple LP spread
Lucien Bertolina - Aller Simple LP side A

French composer Lucien Bertolina, born 1946, was first an improvisor and trombone player before becoming one of the leading figures in electroacoustic music in the South of France when he co-founded the Marseilles electroacoustic music studio, or Groupe de Musique Expérimentale de Marseille, in 1969 with Jacques Diennet, George Boeuf and Michel Redolfi. Other musicians working at the studio have included Patrick Portella and Raphaël de Vivo. Also a film music composer, radiophonic artist and field recordist, Bertolina created an independent local radio in Marseilles named Radio Grenouille with a special focus on radiophonic art and field recordings.

First composed in 1982 for trombone and tape, Aller Simple was transcribed for cello and tape in 1985. The tape part consists of processed synthesizer, musique concrete sounds and found sounds including some conversation and train recordings. The music is a gorgeous, poetical travelogue retaining its mystery and impenetrability  throughout the piece. In Aller Simple, the acoustic instrument runs parallel to the tape and doesn’t interfere or take the lead, while Vorticosamente is more like a cello+electronics dialogue where tape parts underline the acoustic instrument or function as a counterpoint. Some of the tape music consists in pre-recorded cello parts.

01 Aller Simple (17:45)
02 Vorticosamente (15:40)

Norbert Bordetti, cello
Lucien Bertolina, electronics and tape

Total time 33:25
LP released by GMEM, ref. AL02, France, 1985

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Dominique Lawalrée – Clandestin

Dominique Lawalrée - Clandestin LP front cover
Dominique Lawalrée - Clandestin LP back cover
Dominique Lawalrée - Clandestin LP side A

Collecting tracks recorded between 1979 and 1981, Dominique Lawalrée‘s achingly melancholic Clandestin LP, published in 1982, belongs to his more “experimental” period, before he turned to solo piano and church organ – on Lawalrée, see previous post.

In Clandestin, the composer explores the possibilities of various keyboards to channel his deeply nostalgic melodies, including the Wurlitzer and Hohner electric pianos, or the Yamaha CS80 and Roland String synthesizers. The music combines minimal piano playing with these electronic instruments to conjure images of an urban nostalgia infused with the personal feelings and reminiscences of a sorrowful mind. Yet each track is also complemented with either field recordings (the church carillon at end of tr.#1, the street recording on #5), spoken word (the interview on #3 and the poetry reading on #5), or found sounds (the radio report on the death of John Lennon in 1980 on #6). In tr.#5 Millénaire, it takes 5 mins to Lawalrée to muster the words “Bruxelles a eu 1000 ans cet été” (or, Brussels turned 1,000 years old last summer), as the sentence is broken into multiple parts and constantly interrupted by tentative electric piano chords.

One last thing: if you look at the front and back cover images, you’ll realize the composer is sitting almost at the same place as the little girl in the painting, as if he had paused, surrounded by autumn leaves, to listen to the absent music of some vanished musicians. I can’t think of a better metaphor to describe Lawalrée’s “musique en creux” on this extraordinary disc.

01 Rainy Sunday: Dimanche Pluvieux (6:28)
02 Le Secret Blanc (14:28)
03 La Maison Des 5 Éléments (9:34)
04 Please Do Not Disturb (2:10)
05 Millénaire (5:05)
06 Now Peace For Beatle John (2:04)

Total time 40:00
LP released by Walrus, ref. WLS 011, Brussels, Belgium, 1982

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Dominique Lawalrée – Traces

Dominique Lawalrée - Traces LP front cover
Dominique Lawalrée - Traces LP back cover
Dominique Lawalrée - Traces LP side A

Belgian composer, keyboard player and educator Dominique Lawalrée, born in Brussels in 1954, studied music in Namur and began composing in 1973. With a name inspired by his love of The Beatles (I Am the Walrus, 1967), Lawalrée launched Walrus records in 1976 when he was only 22 years-old. Walrus was the vehicle of choice for the release of his own music, though he also published a great 2xLP compilation with Baudouin Oosterlynck, Eric de Visscher and Robert Fesler in 1984 (W.L.S. 012/13). Lawalrée’s music until the mid-1980s is a delightful mix of synthesizer exploration in the vein of Brian Eno and Roedelius, piano minimalism à la Satie, as well as personal ideas in the form of field recordings, sound collages and spoken word – for instance, his 1983 mini-LP Six jours à Barcelone (6 Days in Barcelona) included bird sounds. In the 1980s, Dominique Lawalrée also collaborated with musical ensemble TEMV with a.o. composers Guy de Bièvre, Boudewijn Buckinx, Dieter Kaufmann, Jurgen Rapp or Arsène Souffriau. Electroacoustic music composer Annette Vande Gorne was the sound engineer on several Lawalrée LPs of the 1980s like Taciturne and Litanies du Monde à Venir. At the end of the 1980s, Lawalrée changed the name of Walrus to Music Today, the label through which he releases all his music… today (see website).

Published in 1978, Lawalrée’s 3rd LP Traces – the 4th Walrus release – is an instrumental sound diary of sorts, with tracks relating to personal experiences, memories and anecdotes. Immediately striking is the palpable nostalgia permeating this disc, a trait typical from this composer. The LP is also notable for the variety of techniques and experiments, something which will be less present in later solo piano albums. From the backward running tape and electronic drone of the opener to the noisy sound collage of tr. #5 K7 Music, or the atonality and furious dissonant piano chords of #4 First Meeting, the LP clearly documents early experiments in music making. Some tracks also pay homage to Lawalrée’s major influences, like #07 Hello, You’re The W. inspired by The Beatles, and #8, a Satie homage. The strange wordless singing on #06 Pleine Lune reminds Baudouin Oosterlynck’s own work with disabled people.

01 Post-Scriptum (4:45)
02 Well ! (:32)
03 Waiting For The Bus (3:48)
04 First Meeting … (5:12)
05 K7 Music (6:18)
06 Pleine Lune : Insomnie (2:33)
07 Hello, You’re The W. (5:08)
08 Musique Satieérique (1:46)
09 Et Caetera (1:36)
10 Mouvements III (2:21)
11 Minimum II (2:36)
12 Le Temps Fuit Sans Retour (4:42)
13 For Alexandre (1:31)

Total time 43:00
LP released by Walrus, ref. W.L.S. 004, Brussels, Belgium, 1978

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Partial discography until 1985
(all on Walrus Records):

1976 Infinitudes, W.L.S. 001
1977 Le choix du titre est un faux problème, W.L.S. 003
1978 Traces, W.L.S. 004
1978 Brins d’herbes, W.L.S. 005
1979 Vis-à-vis, W.L.S. 006
1980 Vice-versa, W.L.S. 010
1982 Clandestin, W.L.S. 011
1983 Six jours à Barcelone e.p., ref. S1
1984 Still life, W.L.S. 012/13
1984 Taciturne, W.L.S. 014
1985 Litanies du Monde à Venir, W.L.S. 015

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Brigitte Jardin & Claude Marbehant – Jeux de Sons et de Gestes

Jeux de Sons et de Gestes LP front cover
Jeux de Sons et de Gestes LP back cover
Jeux de Sons et de Gestes LP side A

French educator Brigitte Jardin and composer Claude Marbehant published a total of 5 LPs during the 1980s, all on Unidisc except this one. I posted their debut “A la découverte…” and their follow up “Atmosphères” back in 2010. For an introduction to their project, please refer to the first post.

“Jeux de Sons et de Gestes”, or Sound and Gesture Games, is composed of 2 suites of tiny electronic vignettes intended to inspire various games to children. The first section is Ronald et le Synthétiseur, or Ronald & the Synthesizer, where the keyboard’s zany sounds suggest body movements to the kids. In the exquisite Grand Voyage des Petites Gouttes d’Eau, or The Little Raindrops’ Great Trip, the children are asked to imagine  the water cycle, from pouring rain to little stream to large river to ocean to evaporation and rain again. Helped by bass, flute and drums, the synthesizer suggests raindrops, river, waves.

Ronald et le Synthétiseur:
01 Allo ! (:39)
02 Jeu de l’Ascenseur | The Lift Game (2:11)
03 Proposition | Proposition (1:00)
04 Les Toboggans | Tobbogans (1:28)
05 Berceuse | Lullaby (1:29)
06 Devinette | Riddle (:52)
07 Animaux Animés | Stop Motion Animals (4:42)
08 Dialogue | Dialogue (:24)
09 Cache-cache Musical | Sonc Hide and Seek (2:56)

Le Grand Voyage des Petites Gouttes d’Eau:
10 Pluie de Sons | Sonic Shower (2:19)
11 Arc-en-ciel | Rainbow (1:41)
12 Au Fil de l’Eau | Moving Downstream (1:30)
13 Parcours | The Stream (1:53)
14 Petit Ruisseau Deviendra Grand | From a Stream to a River (1:50)
15 Sous La Mer | Under the Sea (1:42)
16 Les Dauphins | Dolphins (1:53)
17 Evaporation et Tout Recommence | Evaporation (4:25)

Total time 33:00
LP released by Fernand Nathan, France, 1980

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Guy Bezançon – Periplos

Guy Bezançon – Periplos LP front cover
Guy Bezançon – Periplos LP back cover
Guy Bezançon – Periplos LP side A

Guy Bezançon, born around 1935-1940, graduated from a Paris art school and became a painter and educator during the 1960s. At the same time, he practiced as a church organist, performing his own contemporary music compositions, sometimes augmented with electroacoustic tape or electronic. In the 1970s, he composed film and stage music, exhibition soundtracks and radio plays, as well as being the titular organist at St Roch church in Paris. Bezançon pioneered the concept of church organ+electroacoustic music during a performance in 1967 (Lagny church, France). See official website for more info.

This library music LP was released in the fairly experimental Sysmo collection published by Parisian recording studio of the same name, of which I posted the Michel Deneuve LP a while ago. The electronic tracks collected on Periplos are minimalist synthesizer compositions intended for film or stage music. Rather impressive and scary, these tracks recall the Blade Runner soundtrack as well as some of Dave Vorhaus solo efforts. Indeed, Periplos sounds very KPM-ish to these ears. The LP ends with a handful of powerful organ tracks recorded on Bezançon’s own, home-build church organ (see video demonstration).

30 tracks, from 17s to 4mns

Total time 47:00
LP released by Sysmo Record, Paris, France, 1985

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Guy Bezançon discography:
1973 Prémices, 7”, self-released
1974 Scènes de Don Juan (O. de Milosz poems), w/ various readers, LP, Disques Adès
1979 Orgue, LP, Saravah
1981 Pâramitâ, LP, Saravah
1985 Periplos, LP,    Sysmo Records
19xx Chant sidéral – Musique des Etoiles, CD
2007 Hymnes à Marie, w/ Laurent Terzieff, speaker, CD, Disques Dom
2008? Déo gratias, CD
2010 Men Zen, CD
2010 Organum Universalis, CD, Ready Made Music
2012 Le Cantique des Cantiques, w/ Michael Lonsdale, speaker, CD, Ulysse records

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Espace Fiction – Cinemasonor series #16

Espace Fiction LP front cover
Espace Fiction LP back cover
Espace Fiction LP side 1

Great science-fiction-themed library music LP by uncredited French composer, released in 1969 in the Cinemasonor library music series published by Véga records in France. Cinemasonor included several collections like “Bruits de la Vie” (everyday & household noises), “Bruits de la nature” (nature sounds), “Machines et Engins” (engine noises) or “Espace Fiction” (library music for films).

From the “Espace Fiction” series, this LP is a collection of radical electronic vignettes inspired by spacecraft launch sites, space station or interstellar travel. The music is based on highly abstract, metaphysical electronic sounds a la Pietro Grossi, where noisy sonorities distill a tangible feeling of fear and paranoia. Often extremely minimal and skeletal, some tracks also include radio static, machines noises, sound collage and sound treatment.

32 tracks, from 27s to 2mn24s

Total time 37:30

LP released by Véga, France, 1969

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Salon des Composants 1970 flexidisc

Salon des Composants 1970 front cover
Salon des Composants 1970 back cover
Salon des Composants 1970 side 1

This flexidisc is a promotional record for the Sescosem French company, a Thomson CSF subsidiary, to be given to visitors of the 1970 Salon des Composants, or Electronic Components Fair, a professional convention for micro chips and integrated circuits of the time, I guess. On the first side, a female hostess welcomes the listener to the Sescosem showroom with an exceptionally cheesy way of speaking, detailing the Sescosem products and naming each engineer involved in their various projects, all this on a background of chiming notes from a marimba. The flip is an electroacoustic composition courtesy of 1970s French library music stalwarts Nino Nardini and Roger Roger, recorded in their Studio Ganaro near Versailles – I posted another of their 45rpm oddities a while ago. The track blends electronic sounds with lots of sound effects, backward running tape, musique concrète sounds and real instruments like percussion. The title Structures électroniques is of course a portmanteau name based on Structures Sonores (Baschet Brothers) and Poème Electronique (Edgar Varèse).

01 Sescosem aux Composants 1970 (4:35)
02 Structures électroniques (4:15)

Total time 8:50
Flesidisc 7in single released by Pérez Publicité, France, 1970

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