A Pierre Boulez pupil at Basel’s Music Academy between 1961-3, French composer Jean-Claude Éloy (b1938) also attended Henri Pousseur’s and Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Darmstadt Summer courses between 1957 and ’61. At this point, his style was close to European Serialism of the period – e.g. Equivalence, 1963, see video below. He traveled extensively during the 1960s and ’70s, to North and South Americas, Europe and Asia, either as a teacher, performer or composer. After numerous trips to Asia, he started focusing more and more on time in music and especially the relation of timbre with time. Understandably, he moved from orchestral to electronic music to pursue this research, yet he never ceased composing for orchestra. Shanti, 1974, was his first electronic work, conceived at Stockhausen’s WDR Studio in Köln. In 1978, he started working with Iannis Xenakis at the latter’s CEMAMU studio in Paris. Gaku-No-Michi was recorded between 1977 and 1978 at Denshi Ongaku Studio, Tokyo, NHK’s electronic music studio. It was conceived as a quadraphonic work with sound engineer Tsutomu Kojima (pictured above with the composer), a technician who recorded many Japanese avantgarde and electronic artists. Photos from the NHK recording sessions can be found here.
♫ The complete Gaku-No-Michi cycle is 5 hours long – it was reduced to a mere 2 hours for this release. The cycle originally included long, interlude drone tracks called “sons de prolongations” (prolongation sounds), intended to put the listener in the appropriate psychological mood to appreciate the more substantial tracks. The last track here, #5 Han, is one of the few remaining “sons de prolongations”. The music of Gaku-No-Michi incorporates pure electronic sounds with radically processed musique concrète elements, generally to the point of defacement, as if to avoid any anecdotic reference. The project is thus to elaborate on a supposed Japanese attitude towards sound, while shying away from the picturesque – in track #1 Tokyo, someone asks: What is Japanese sound?. If your idea of Buddhism is quiet, sparse sounds, you’ll be shocked by the ultra-intense, massive, electronic overdubs on this disc. This is the Buddhism of Pachinko parlor machines, incessant traffic noise and electronic toys boutiques. Some of the sounds used include: Tokaido Shinkansen train’s whistle, Japan’s national anthem, Gagaku, Nô and Shomyo vocal interjections, Geta (wooden sandal) footsteps, temple bells, etc, all slowed down, filtered and processed in the studio. The pure electronic parts likens to Roland Kayn and Jack Tamul‘s own researches with protracted sounds.
01 Tokyo (29:15)
02 Fushiki-e (A) (28:54)
03 Fushiki-e (B) (29:44)
04 Kaiso – Réminiscence (17:38)
05 Kaiso – Han (11:48)
Total time 116mn 30s
LP released by Adès, ref.21.005, France, 1979