CD Reviews

Bruno Duplant, Pedro Chambel, Jamie Drouin – Field by memory inhabited 1 & 2

April 27, 2013


Now this is a very nice CD. Once again its a release involving the French multi-instrumentalist Bruno Duplant that was probably created one way or another over the internet as the musicians involved are all in different countries. The liner notes indicate that the music here  is two twenty minute long versions of the trio’s response to a Duplant score, but beyond this we know little more. As seems to increasingly be the case with this kind of musical construction as they become more and more common- the means by which it was created don’t seem to matter. As a listener we can obviously just sit and listen to how the sounds here combine and take what we wish from them.

Now the last time I reviewed a release on the Rhizome-s label, a similar trio involving Duplant and Chambel but with Julien Heraud forming the third part of the trio. During that disc I was sure that I heard a cat mewing. Five minutes into the first of the two realisations here a cat appears again. Maybe Duplant always writes a part for feline voice into his compositions. Anyway for this new disc Duplant is credited with an electroacoustic device and “phonographs” while Chambel uses a microphone and objects and Drouin an analogue synth and radio. For the most part the trio make texturally focussed music mostly made up of longer sounds layered over one another, the interest in the music coming from how the various layers interact with each other. So there is a lot of buzzing and humming, crackling and scratching, stopping and starting in little bursts, with the added surprise elements from Duplant’s field recordings bringing a degree of uncertainty and intrigue to the music. The music across the two realisations is a mostly quiet, if brooding affair. The first of the two, cat exclamation aside, is maybe the gentlest of the pair, with a few sudden leaps present, but for the most part the music is formed of the kind of softly purring tones and gently fizzing electronics we might expect, but just below the matt finished surface there is a tension formed out of the way little bits of synth and scratchy microphone abrasions trouble one another.

The second realisation feels less uncertain and more fully formed, which may or may not be a good thing, I have yet to decide. Here Duplant uses a long field recording of children at play, an old musique concrete favourite, which inhabits much of the second half of the recording. Chambel and Drouin continue with their whispery synths and crackling microphones which they allow more meat into, the volume rising up a little and the general dynamic of the realisation pushing at us more firmly. The recording of children comes and goes, filling the spaces left between the other two musicians, anchoring the music back and giving a more consistent sense of structure than the first realisation, which always felt close to collapse.

The differences between the two pieces are subtle, and will subsequently be read differently by each listener, but the music has a way of inviting you into it, easy on the ear as most of it is, for you to make your own mind up. Overall Field by memory inhabited is a very nice disc then, very nicely formed, albeit with the musicians at a distance to one another and well worth spending time with.

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