V.A. Marées de hauteurs diverses
01. Blindhæð – Un fracas d’asthme, de gravier et de ferraille suintante pour Jacques Sternberg mp3
02. Nicolas Bernier – cructacés (remix) mp3
03. Honoré Feraille – the tide is gone on its own mp3
04. Ludger Hennig – retro forensic version mp3
05. Mokuhen – poisson silence, Oki mp3
06. Francisco López – untitled#279 mp3
07. Herzog – naufrage (remix) mp3
CDr, 18x14cm, in thin sleeve, 5eur.
All tracks based on their corresponding ones from [insubcd02] Complaintes de marée basse, by Diatribes & Abdul Moimême. Released in collaboration with Tsuku Tsuku Grammofon. Font design by Nelly Hality
A compilation always looks nice as project, to join together people around one idea or thematic, it has also this obvious promotionnal aspect and purpose. In the present case, starting from the will to establish a collaboration between and « improv » label (Insubordinations) and an « electronic » one (Tsuku Tsuku Grammofon) we agreed on the concept of reworking one of the diatribes’s albums.
Then what about the result ? What is its interest ?
At the end we have in our hands a journey into electroacoustic music, colored by the acoustic and improvised energy of « complainte de marée basse ». It is pretty curious to ear how each musicians used the original material with very different concerns, according to their own usual practice. Some use them as « field recording », others work with sorts of « dub » remixing technics, some turned totally the sounds into their worlds without any attempt to keep a trace of the sources. And none of this sounds wrong, but in every case establishe dialogs between the reworks and originals, showing each time another vision of the role or value of « recorded sound ».
This evening then I have been listening to another CD / free download from the excellent Insubordinations label. A little over a year ago I wrote here about a release on the label named Complaintes de mare basse by the Diatribes duo of D’Incise and Cyril Bondi, who were joined on that release by the guitarist Abdul Moimême. I enjoyed the disc a lot, and have played it through again today as the new release I have been listening to consists of rewordings of the seven tracks from the first album by seven new musicians/groups of musicians. The new collection is named Marées de Hauteurs Diverses (something like Tides of other heights?). This new release then is essentially a remix album, the like of which hasn’t passed by my ears for quite a few years now.
The original album was a tetchy, brittle affair full of activity. It fizzed, roared and wailed its way through a half electronic, half scrap metal form of improv that appealed to my sensibilities nicely. The new album has taken the same seven pieces and, having handed them to seven different recomposers seen them subjected to a variety of different processes, the aftermath of which we get here. Of the seven remixers, only two are familiar names to me, one being Ludger Hennig, whose laptop work appeared on yet another recent Insubordinations disc I wrote about, and the other being Francisco Lopez. Of the other five names I am unfamiliar, though I suspect some may be pseudonyms, and in the case of Honoré Feraille, who reworks the third piece, perhaps a link can be made to the Diatribes musician D’Incise, who I believe shares the same surname. None of this matters much though, and not knowing much about who did what here only adds to the intrigue for me really.
The thing about remixes of this area of music is that much of the time the general level of activity involved in the original work leads people to feed it through some kind of virtual blender, so that much of the detail gets filtered down into a more soupy wash based on the original ingredients. This tends to be the case on two or three of the pieces here. While Nicolas Bernier’s reworking of Crustacés retains much of Bondi’s original sprightly, fidgeting percussion, everything else seems to become an insistent groan of digital pulse and hum. It works well, especially as everything gets louder and more explosive as it progresses steadily, but the basic structure is quite a simple one and it is difficult to know how the original is improved upon. Honoré Feraille’s The tide is gone on its own reshapes the title track from the original disc into what is essentially a piece of dark ambience of the kind briefly described as Isolationism at the end of the nineties, all slow moving sheets of vaguely metallic sounding moaning with a thin gauze of gritty abrasion attached. Its nice, often quite beautiful stuff, but again I think I prefer the vibrancy of the original improvisations.
My favourite pieces on the new album are the fifth and sixth of the seven tracks here. Mokuhen’s brilliantly titled Poisson Silence, Oki begins with small digitally processed sections of quiet activity. A little short of three minutes in though the calm we had settled into is suddenly broken by further treated sections of the original, but here the end result is a wrenching, sudden series of violent twists that don’t stay for long but sit in complete opposition to the quietude that came before. Francisco Lopez’ Untitled #279 (has he really reached almost three hundred now?) is another quite extreme rethinking of Pavillon Noir from the original album. Opening with four or five seconds of brisk abstract activity at high volume the piece suddenly and quickly cuts away to just the very slightest of murmurs that had me reaching for the volume control to turn things up after the energy of the preceding piece. Four or five further minutes of very little pass before things build at all again, never really becoming loud, but highly processed shimmers of metallic sounding material slip in and out alongside what feels like stray lazy strikes at a drum, though doubtlessly small sections of the original improvisation have been cleverly excerpted by Lopez who certainly does feel like the most accomplished and original voice here.
Given that its a free release, as was the original album, I thoroughly recommend spending time with these two albums back to back. The energy that is currently spilling out of the Diatribes / Insubordinations community is both infectious and inspiring, and the way it is being done, far from the trappings of how labels traditionally work and ignoring the usual hierarchies that drive even the most niche areas of experimental music is admirable. Throwing a lot of music out there as free downloads isn’t always a good thing as the ease of distribution often results in a lowering of quality, but this doesn’t feel the case for Insubordinations, much thought and consideration seems to go into each release, which are available as lovingly produced hard copy releases as well as free downloads. Don’t take my word for it though, go grab them yourself.
Richard Pinnel / the watchfullear
I’m not normally a huge fan of compilation albums, either as things to listen to (they rarely work for me as coherent and consistent statements and I end up skipping the less interesting tracks) or write about (I invariably forget to mention someone, and they get all pissed off and then I end up spending more time fielding angry emails than.. oh never mind), but I’ve been intrigued by this one, maybe because it takes a leaf out of rock / pop’s book by setting out to remix an existing album, piece by piece. The album in question, Complainte de Marée Basse, came out a year or so ago on the same (net)label, Insubordinations, and was by Portuguese guitarist Abdul Moimême and the Swiss duo Diatribes (Cyril Bondi and d’incise), and it’s both entertaining and enlightening to compare the seven original tracks with their remixed versions here.
By and large these latter pieces tend to iron out the rough bits of the originals while scrupulously respecting their original character and texture – Nicolas Bernier’s remix of « crustacés » being the most user-friendly example, but (for my money) Mokuhen’s « poisson silence, oki » the most rewarding. Of course, modern computer technology being the wonderful thing that it is, enabling blithering idiots to create something of Ferneyhovian complexity in about the time it takes to brew a cup of tea, I can’t for the life of me say how much work went into each of these mixes (I suspect seasoned practitioners like Francisco López, whose « untitled#279 » graces this selection, could do one in their sleep), but I like what I hear and that’s all that matters. Don’t write in if you’re on this record and I forgot to mention you.
Dan Warburton / paris transatlantic
I have no idea what the original source sounded like, so I can only describe what’s here. Blindhæð’s piece is murky and rumbling, redolent with squeaks and clanks; they (he/she, no idea) have recorded for Mystery Sea and that label’s aesthetic can be heard here. Nicolas Bernier constructs a pleasingly wild take that reminds me a little of the classic Pierre Henry « Psyche Rock » track », not nearly as melodious but with a similar full sound, including rattling drums–nice. A hollow spaciness comes to the fore with Feraille’s piece, containing a nice surge and echoing metallic scrapes, segueing into Ludger Hennig’s evocative blend of tapes, hiss and clatter, really a strong work that feels entirely natural, just floats through the atmosphere, internally active and self-contained; curious to hear more from him (he’s also on the disc reviewed below). Mukuhen (don’t ask me) offer(s) a track that begins gently enough before careening into the realm of sheared metal, sprung coils and charged pops; Discomfiting, in a good way. Lopez (unusual in my experience, which is likely only 2% or so of his recorded oeuvre) keeps things quiet and burbling, steady-state and comfortable. Herzog (I’m guessing not Werner or Bellow’s character) closes out the affair with a juicy conflation of lush, deep organ-pedal-like tones and mid-range crackly hums. A nice conclusion to an intriguing set; a couple of very good pieces, nothing unlistenable.
Brian Olewnick / just outside
Il y a quelque temps, les activistes musicaux suisse réunis autours du label Insubordinations -en l’occurrence ici Abdul Moimême, d’incise et Cyril Bondi – avaient sorti un beau cd de paysage sonore fabriqué de toutes pièces, en studio, avec instruments et foule d’objets, « complaintes de marée basse ». Un grand calme, une attention aux détails. Aujourd’hui ils sortent, sous le nom « marée de hauteurs diverse », des remix du premier disque fait par plusieurs autres artistes – et justement, plutôt que de voir ce qu’untel a fait sur cette base, ce qui est beau et notable sur ce deuxième cd, c’est la cohérence de l’ensemble -on est dans une continuité stylistique, là où souvent ce type de travaux énervent par le coq-à-l’âne, par le côté compilation du désordre. Pour une fois le remixage s’inscrit parfaitement dans la qualité du premier travail, en forme de second volet. Passer de l’un à l’autre devient naturel, on ne change plus de territoire, on change juste de point de vue sur le même endroit. Presque à vous faire aimer les remix !
Kaspet T toepliz / revue & corrigée
Marées De Hauteurs Diverses (INSUBORDINATIONS NETLABEL INSUBRWK 02) is a reworking of the album Complaintes De Marée Basse, originally performed by the Swiss improvising duo Diatribes joined by Abdul Moimême. Among those doing the reworking are Francisco López, Nicolas Bernier, and Honoré Feraille. It’s funny how most of their efforts are concentrated on taking a lively and percussion heavy album and rendering it down into calm, formalised drones of great stillness. Digital technology extracts a core of silence and music of heavy depth. Herzog‘s ‘Naufrage / Remix’ is probably the most pertinent example of what I mean; the abrasive impulses of the music are smoothed down into slightly distorted ambient tones, producing a not un-nice effect, but in this serene zone we are floating quite some way from the original source material. Occasionally ghosts and remnants of the original music do surface, but according to Ludger Hennig the music is taking place at ten steps remove, as if performed in another room five miles away; while López is only interested in replaying very short fragments he can use to punctuate his lengthy silent tracts. Mukuhen pays more attention to dynamics; after two minutes of baffling mystery, excerpts of heavily processed music surface to the top of his ‘Poisson Silence, Oki’, and shimmer for a few precious seconds of overdubbed and backwards-running genius. The Montreal composer Nicolas Bernier remains true to the frenzied spirit of D’Incise’s drumming, and indeed he multiplies and overstates it to make it yet more frenzied. Blindhæd (known to us from the Belgian label ini.itu) has a lot of incident in his reworking, but it’s mysterious to the point of obtuseness, and introduces too much artificial drama and contrivance in its strange washes of sound. As can be seen from the titles, and the overall “aquatic” impressions of the sonic content, the record follows an underwater theme, perhaps likening the musicians to deep sea divers picking sea anemones and old bits of wreckage.
the sound projector
Autant l’avouer tout de suite, je ne connais pas la moitié de ces artistes, donc il est assez difficile de savoir de quelle manière chacun s’est réapproprié le matériau de base, étant donné surtout qu’il est la plupart du temps difficilement reconnaissable. La plupart des pistes restent tout de même dans un univers ambient avec quelques tendances noise de temps à autre, hormis peut-être Bernier qui réutilise nettement l’improvisation ‘Cructacés’ et la batterie énergique de cette pièce, ainsi que Francisco López qui fait un usage immodéré du silence. Quant aux autres pièces, il s’agit souvent de nappes sonores ambient, de longues nappes où se noient les intentions premières de Diatribes et Moimême. Une compilation calme, pas forte, où des textures numériques se succèdent pour former des ambiances souvent sombres, inquiétantes parfois, mais où les Complaintes originales percent difficilement. C’est en tout cas l’occasion de découvrir quelques artistes extérieurs à la musique improvisée, beaucoup plus proches de la musique électroacoustique et surtout électronique, dont certains comme Nicolas Bernier et Ludger Hennig pour leurs mixages et leurs manipulations/collages électroacoustiques très réussis, ainsi que Mokuhen, qui m’ont tous parus plutôt prometteurs.
Julien Hérault / Improv-sphere
The other new release on Insubordinations is a remix compilation. Another one? Well, yes and no. Yes, this seven piece album are all remixes, but it takes the seven pieces from an album ‘Complaints De Maree Basse’ by Diatribes and Abdul Moimeme, which I think I haven’t heard, but its a nice idea to get a remix done for one album, track by track. Its of course is a pity that I didn’t hear the original since it makes it hard to compare with the remixes. So we could also safely say that this is ‘just’ another compilation. Here we have Blindheao, Nicolas Bernier, Honore Feraille, Ludger Hennig, Mokuhen, Francisco Lopez and Herzog doing the honors. Ranging from heavy laptop processing (Blindhead, Lopez, Herzog) in which the original is probably entirely removed, to those who use more clearly sounds of the original (Bernier’s take on the drum sounds, Mokuhen on scraping metallic sounds). Also if you don’t know the original, then it is a fine compilation. Without big surprises, but with a fine quality overall.
FdW / VITAL WEEKLY
Ein überzeugender Beleg, dass viele Köche gemeinsam ganz phantastische Delikatessen fabrizieren können. In diesem Fall hat sich das von uns sowieso sehr geschätzte Kollektiv von Insubordinations mit Tskuku Tsuku Grammofon zusammengetan – der Netzlabel Abteilung einer ebenfalls frankophonen Tonträgerveröffentlichungsinitiative für Electronica (die, wie wir gern gestehen, uns auf diese Weise überhaupt erst in den Radar gegangen ist. Oho, das wurde ja wirklich Zeit!). Auch wenn der Titel behauptet, dass die Tiden unterschiedlich hoch sind: Wirklich Ebbe wird da nie.
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