Jérôme Noetinger, Gloire a… (MKCD005)

Lots of harsh, loud electronic noises—it’s easy to conclude that that’s presentational: presenting the harshness and brutality of war. And it’s true, this piece does include guns firing and people talking about Desert Storm (including Bush père). But the overall impression I’m left with is that the sounds themselves, with their own sonic meanings, are lovely, engaging sounds, and the musical presentation—loops, sudden interruptions (I almost typed “eruptions”), voices, and bits of songs off the radio (with varying degrees of distortion)—reminds me of live improv with all its wildness and unpredictability. The political content is unmistakable, but I never get the sense that the music is there simply to underpin some nonmusical comment about war. More that the nonmusical political content has been made musical.

By the way, although the ellipsis in the title suggests that the blank could be filled in with whatever, the only voices who say those words in the piece say a complete phrase, “gloire a nuevo.” Some funny bits, too. The White House announcer of the Desert Storm attack saying “nine p.m. tonight.” And someone (from an old movie) saying, right at the end, “Hold it, hold it. Wait, hold it!”

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