Music Reviews

Artist: Elizabeth Anderson
Title: L'envol
Format: CD
Label: empreintes DIGITALes (@)
The renewed interest on electroacoustic and acousmatic sonic material, that labels like empreintes DIGITALes are fostering by means of their publishing efforts, is allowing many hungry listeners to discover quite unknown composers or musicians in this interesting field. In spite of an excellent academic track and a plenty of prizes in international competition - including ASCAP-SEAMUS (USA, 2001), Bourges (France, 1994), CIMESP (Brazil, 1995, 2001, 2003, and 2007), Città di Udine (Italy, 2004), Métamorphoses (Belgium, 2004), Musica Nova (Czech Republic, 2008), Noroit-Léonce Petitot (France, 1998), Stockholm Electronic Arts Award (Sweden, 1994), TIME (2002), and Pierre Schaeffer Competition of Electronic Music (Italy, 2007) -, American-born Brussels-based composer Elizabeth Anderson could be an unknown name for many followers of the scene. Even if listeners who are not so familiar with sound processing couldn't catch the beauty of this release, "L'Envol" (French for "the flight") collects many works by Elizabeth, whose aesthetic research often features metacultural interconnection. Two of the above-listed prizes was given to the opening "Les forges de l'invisible", an electroacoustic suite that Elizabeth made by manipulations of some sonic input that she previously created during a residency at the Centre de creation musicale Iannis Xenakis in Paris, between the multichannel electroacoustic studio of City University London and the Studio of Akousma of the Academy of Soignes in Belgium. The main source of inspiration of the two movements - the first one seems to trace different lovels of sonic decay, while the second movement could be the reverse process as the initial particles seems to get gradually amalgamated - was Blake's poetry and particularly his visionary outlook of progress: she specifically mentions the notorious poem "The Tyger", whose "fearful symmetry" has already inspired many musicians and got mirrored by the contrast between creative and distructive forces that animate guts, hearts and behavious of every sonic particles of this suite. Named after the underground fortress that Nazi forces built in northern France, "Mimoyecques" - the oldest recording of this collection - is a sort of sonic tribute to the forced laborers (more than one thousand prisoners) who died when the fortress was heavily bombed by the Allied air forces in 1944: for this genuine act of remembrance, she combined two sets of sound, being the first one mainly made from sounds that she recorded in the fortress and the second one from the overlapping of different readings in different languages from writings of Hans Christian Andersen, Danilo Dolci, Annette von Droste-Huelshoff, Alexander Pushkin, David Baltuch, Vaino Linna, Bjornstjerne Bjornson, Amir Gilboa and Czeslaw Milosz, intended to mirror the multilingual origin of the died workers. The tracks in the middle - the most recent erecordings - are mainly connected to Anderson's fascination for space and ancient cultures: "Solar Winds", which was dedicated to ancient Mayan astronomers, was based on James Dungey's open magnetosphere model and interplanetary field lines that got carried by solar winds and interfere with Earth's magnetosphere, which become a sort of score to give sound to non-sounding astronomical event, while the following "...and Beyond" proposes an imaginary aural journey beyond heliosphere. The vaguely diquieting "Ether" and the two movements of "Protopia/Tesseract", inspired by Madeleine L'Engle's novel "A Wrinkle in Time", where space/time compression makes intergalactic travels possible, complete this release.

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