Knud Viktor – Ambiances

Knud Viktor - Ambiances LP front cover
Knud Viktor - Ambiances LP back cover
Knud Viktor - Ambiances LP side 1

Danish/French musique concrète composer Knud Viktor released two LPs in 1972. The first one was Images (see previous post) and the second was Ambiances, both on Jean-Claude Roché‘s L’Oiseau Musicien record label, based in the Provence area in the South of France.

♫  While Images consisted of short tape experiments with unique sound sources in a kind of musique concrète études, Ambiances stretches short sound samples to the dimension of 20mn+ epic compositions. These elongated explorations thus re-enact the field recordist’s role as a witness at the time of recording and, in so doing, allow the listener to share the aural bewilderment, the suspended time and quasi-mystical experience underwent by the composer. It seems this music’s purpose is to reveal the genius loci of the place or particular moment, which is actually quite distinct from musique concrète‘s rather straightforward ethos and has not much in common either with field recording as we know it today.

In his liner notes, Jean C. Roché alludes to US ambient music and relaxation records – he might be refering to the extraordinary Environment series from Syntonic Research from Austin, Texas, whose first volume was issued in 1969. Suggesting Ambiances as a kind of background music, Roché prevents the listener to expect any “composition” or evolution in the music, which he poetically describes as “weaving with threads of sound”.

01 Ambiance 1 (23:38)
02 Ambiance 2 (27:41)

Total time 51:19
LP released by L’Oiseau Musicien, Aubenas-les-Alpes, France, 1972


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8 Responses to “Knud Viktor – Ambiances”

  1. 1 Christian July 15, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    I always liked that the Environments series encouraged playing the LPs at any RPM you choose—16, 33, 45, 78.. It is enough to make you fall into a reverie with all those great possibilities.

    A great addition for today. And as usual, a thoughtful appraisal of it’s distinctiveness from musique concrete and field recording. Where did Knud Victor’s career head after these?

    Also, that cover. Totally arresting.


  2. 2 continuo July 15, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    After this pair of LPs, Knud Viktor continued to collect recordings, most of them on cassette, apparently, as his reel to reel tape recorder was not portable. In the 1980s he started making sound installations. When I was 14 years old, my class visited such an installation in an abandoned silver mine in western France, where different sounds of water drops and insects played in various rooms. It seemed strange to me at the time! In the 1990s, he did some sound installations in art galleries and in 2009, he had an exhibition in Musée Réattu in Arles, South of France. A sound file of his voice describing some of the sounds used in Image 10 (2007) is hosted on this page, related to the same 2007 exhibition.
    Knud Viktor is also a photographer. His photos were used for the cover of his LPs, like the one above.
    Thanks for your interest, Christian.

  3. 3 malatrova July 17, 2011 at 3:52 am

    oh thanks , i really like if you could re-upload the other concrete albums you post a year ago , i lost it, im very sad about it, thanks for this one

  4. 4 continuo July 17, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Hi, thanks for your interest in Knud Viktor. I re-uploaded Images for your convenience.

  5. 5 rob July 21, 2011 at 9:58 am

    that is an extraordinary lp sleeve. i can’t say why, but i find it mesmerising.

  6. 6 continuo July 21, 2011 at 10:15 am

    “Like a bridge over troubled water…”

  7. 7 ryan April 24, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Hi – The Knud Victor records sound really interesting. Any chance you can repost them since the multiupload links are dead?

  8. 8 continuo April 24, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    See the 2012 re-ups page.

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