L’étoile absinthe and Chant d’ombre

L’étoile absinthe first appeared on a Metamkine 3″ disc, reviewed here, part of that label’s Cinéma pour l’oreille series. Although these two pieces are separated by four years (2000 and 2004, respectively), Bokanowski considers them as companion pieces, so it is not only nice to have L’étoile absinthe reissued finally but to have it coupled with the first issue of Chant d’ombre, six (and ten) years after the fact, to be sure, but still. Better late than never, I guess.

The two pieces are very different, the difference of contrast, a logical way to relate two pieces. In terms of their motion, I would say that L’étoile absinthe swoops and soars while Chant d’ombre surges and swells. Or, as Michèle has said, L’étoile absinthe is light and Chant d’ombre is dark.

Chant d’ombre starts with some very deep sounds, not too loud but very powerful. There’s one climax, about six minutes in, and then the rest of the piece is fairly quiet but clearly still very powerful, like an idling diesel engine, say. It is largely made up of long, long drones. As is only appropriate for a piece dedicated to Eliane Radigue. And like Eliane’s music, Chant d’ombre is full of subtle variety. Infinite and infinitely subtle.

If you already have the Metamkine 3″ disc, it might seem a bit expensive to buy this Optical Sound disc for only 24 minutes of music. But it’s only 11€ from Metamkine, and how else are you to get the very splendid Chant d’ombre? For those of you who have neither, but who enjoy fine music that gets more and more enjoyable each listen, this disc would be a genuine bargain at twice the price.

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