Born in 1932, Eliane Radigue is a French electronic music composer who started out as a student of musique concrete pioneer Pierre Schaeffer in the 1950s, and assisted fellow concreter Pierre Henry in the following decade. In the ’70s, she started working with the ARP-2500 synthesizer in a minimal vein, inspiring friends to encourage her to study Tibetan Buddhism, which she became devoted to in 1975. Eliane spent eight years–from 1985 to 1993–on her masterpiece, the three-hour Trilogie de la Mort, which was released as a 3-CD set in 1998 by New York experimental label XI Records.
Inspired by the Tibetan Book of the Dead and invoking “the six intermediate states that constitute the existential continuity of the being,” the first chapter of the trilogy, “Kyema,” is splayed across all of disc one. Starting out with sublime, quiet drones and gentle pulsations, the volume gradually increases with some fairly hectic throbbing and a soft, distant grinding sound. The piece then proceeds onward into a field of quiet crackles punctuated by a soft elevator tone and layered with a patina of subtle static.
Disc two appropriately contains chapter two, “Kailasha,” which is “structured on an imaginary pilgrimage around Mt. Kailash, one of the most sacred mountains in the Himalayas.” Its distant airplane-like rumbling and seriously low-end throb with higher-pitched space drones is very enveloping. “Koumé” ends the trilogy on disc three, and evokes the experience of re-incarnation. The piece’s low pulsations and huge squadrons of airplanes build into a crescendo of epic vastness. Gazed upon as a whole, Trilogie de la Mort does Buddhism good. It’s a beautiful, moving and perfectly rendered minimal epic.
Label: XI Records Catalog Number: XI 119 Format: 3-CD Packaging: Double jewel case Tracks: Disc 1: 1, Disc 2: 1, Disc 3: 1 Total Time: Disc 1: 61:22, Disc 2: 56:08, Disc 3: 51:17 Country: United States Released: 1998 More: Forced Exposure, Kalvos Damian, Lovely Music, XI Records, Wikipedia
Text ©2009 Arcane Candy