on 20 February 2007
It's a hard thing to describe the music Eliane Radigue has created on these discs -- or, for that matter, any of her work -- to someone who hasn't experienced it. It's tempting to call it 'environmental music' or 'drone music', for the sake of brevity -- but that does both the music and the potential listener a grave disservice. This music is far too vital to be written off with a convenient catch-phrase.
Radigue created these three pieces between 1973-81, using the ARP synthesizer. She built them up a layer at a time, meticulously -- it's a process that she has continued to employ in her compositions, so complex and involved (belied by results which might sound 'minimalist' to the casual listener) that it makes it impossible for her to perform 'traditional' live shows. Any time her music is presented in 'concert format', it's on tape -- she reportedly even eschews appearing on the stage, preferring to allow her music to speak for itself.
On first listening, there doesn't appear to be much happening -- the changes that occur are slow in making their appearance and subtle in character. As Jason Voss has put it in a review of this set on the DUSTED REVIEWS site, '...the listener is forced to tune into finer aspects of the sounds and continuously discover more minute characteristics'. Given an open mind and a good amount of patience, the listener will find that ADNOS will completely take over the environment -- but the effect is anything but that of a threatening force. This is NOT the 'abrasive' type of electronic music -- nor is it wallpaper. Whenever I put this set on, I find myself surrendering to a feeling of calm and well-being -- and if I choose to listen attentively to the music, I find plenty of subtle movement and changes to draw my interest.
This was the first of Radigue's works to which I was exposed. I went on to the CD containing the two works 'Geelriandre' and 'Arthesis' -- and I wasn't disappointed in the least. It's going to be hard to wait until my next payday to order her TRILOGIE DE LA MORT.
Thanks to my buddy Rick Reed for introducing me to a new favorite! Highly recommended.
I came across Eliane when I searched for musicians who are influenced by Buddhism. Whilst her Trilogy of Death more obvious draws on the music and philosophy of Tibet (throbbing, contemplative drones, thundering resonant horns sounds, a spiritual depth) this work still has clear Buddhist elements (there is no past or future in this music, only what is going on at this moment). It is both static and utterly dynamic at the same time. It is intensely humanistic, despite being created on (what we now consider) rudimentary synthesisers. It is utterly lovely, and despite sounding boring and lacking in activity, repays the listener with unexpected richness. Like a lot of minimalistic music, once it has your attention, the slightest changes are perceived as epic and overwhelming. You want to hear this at CD quality, MP3 just won't cut the mustard.
Perfect for meditation, work or reading. Three CDs here
The packaging is beautiful too (with art direction by the composer herself) with a gatefold sleeve opening to reveal repeated waves overlapping each other, just like the music does. The booklet is equally well designed, whilst short on analysis it has some interesting scans of notes, tickets, posters and so on. One illuminating note mentions adne(welding parts together), addenda (adding parts to complete the whole), adage(slow prelimary movements for dancers) and adynamie(lack of physical strength during illness). All these appear relevant).