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Berangere Maximin, "Tant que les Heures Passent"

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cover image It is little surprise that French electroacoustic composer Berangere Maximin's musical path has consisted of both conservatory studies under Denis Dufour and stints in rock and world bands. Her solo debut consists of six works that expound upon the tape manipulations of Pierre Schaefer, but whose sense of drama maintains her contact with the popular musical forms that she has partaken in.

 

Tzadik

Bérangère Maximin - Tant que les heures passent

Maximin clearly has a knack for making the most of her tools. Using only tape and voice, she displays a highly mature sense of patience in her composition, allowing each piece to unfold into its own entity that is ripe with morsels of surprising humor and effect. On the opening title track, she begins by working with water sounds that bubble calmly beneath frozen melodic lines that spread out across the piece as small bits of rhythmic insect chatter emerge from the backgorund. The amount of sound at any given moment is impressive, but more impressive is the fine management of those sounds as Maximin never lets the work become claustrophobic, allowing each individual noise its own space in the mix. As birds come in, a catapult sound initiates an increasingly bustling world that goes from serene New England forest to steaming swampland without a hitch. It is as much James Ferraro as it is Luc Ferrari.

"Boudmo" further explores the organic take that the composer displays. Once she has created her own sonic landscape through field recordings, she concocts a pulse over which guitar strums are allowed to reverberate and punctuate. As assorted hollow sounds and clicks reutrn, the piece exhibits an affinity with the results of chance operation pieces; each moment is given its place and allowed to become an event of great significance.

Maximin herself speaks on the following "Ce Corps Vil, Part one and Part two," reciting sensual French prose beneath metallic caresses and echoed water drops. As her vocal recitations come and go, the background remains near stagnant in mood despite its ever changing makeup. "Voyages Morphologiques," the most overtly songy piece on the album, sees Maximin's world music affinities come to a fore as Afircan style acoustic guitar is melded with snake charming hornlines and folk fiddling, building in momentum as each bit hastens its immediacy to near fever pitch before harp enters to close the work with a wink and a shrug.

Despite the vast accomplishments of previous electroacousticians, Maximin manages to carve out her own corner of the sound. "Si Ce N'est Toi" begins with minimalist rhythmic movements as covered by nearly cheesy synthesized horns as bellows of vocal resonance bounce in the background. With great energy the piece plugs along before slipping down into a furrowed world of industrial static and dissonant pulse before Carl Stalling-like riffs briefly interrupt before allowing the work to subside under its own endless beat.

"La Mecanique des Ombres" closes the album with its longest track, a sprawling entrance into the hull of some ship. Using her sounds in a distinctly musical manner, Maximin uses a Varesian noise-as-compositional tool to create a percussive work whose end result is one of great energy despite the often minute sounds that are used. That the composer can utilize these sounds to create works of strong individual character and impressive emotive depth is a testament to her achievements and further potential as a sonic collagist.

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Last Updated on Friday, 20 March 2009 03:50  


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