Eric Cordier, digitalis purpurea

There is something inherently wrong in sound recordings of opera or ballet. As there is in reproductions of paintings and sculpures. As there is in erotic movies. But who, honestly, would be without any of these? So with recordings of indeterminacy or of improvisation or of sound installations. They’re all false, but think how much poorer your living room would be had no one put these four pieces of Cordier onto disc for you? So what if your living room does not have hundreds of loudspeakers? It doesn’t have hundreds of costumed dancers twirling around in it, either.

The title piece is a great juddering of noise, with lovely loud, bright splashes of color. dactyle aglomérée continues the juddering, but since the source is now a stringed instrument, the character of it is completely different. I doubt anyone would think “hurdy-gurdy” when first confronted with digitalis purpurea, but string sawing is clear in dactyle.

Not to get caught up in the i.d. game, but the liner notes do mention the instrumental sources for these pieces. For les os longs, it’s the singularly uncommunicative “field recording” that’s credited. No matter, bright, metallic sounds over a constantly changing field (!) of various electronic drones (often treated as to sound like talking*) will startle and delight, I’m sure.

The disc ends with postface, which the notes conscientiously inform us involves no tape manipulation. It’s true that the sounds are much more clearly organ (and hurdy-gurdy) here than in digitalis; they are treated “concrétely” for one, and sound “electronic” for two. (Electricity has shown us, if nothing else, how much good noise there is out there for the taking.)

*or the talking has been so filtered and distorted, of course.

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