July 19th, 2011
When one thinks of the most common male names in the United States, Mike and Dave immediately come to mind. In France, it’s all about Pierre, and in avant-garde circles, the two most well-known Pierres brandish the last names Schaeffer and Henry. The former invented musique concrete, a symphony of cacophonous everyday sounds, in 1948. The latter became his first disciple and helped expose this radical new artform to the public throughout the subsequent decades. Fast forward to 2007. Pierre Henry has aged into quite a charming old man who, with his long, grey beard, resembles a modern day French Santa Claus brandishing a huge sack full of audio treats that he enthusiastically delivers to adventurous listeners around the globe.
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July 20th, 2008
Pierre Henry only helped Pierre Schaeffer invent musique concrète in the late ’40s. You’re excused. This is a CD reissue–available on vinyl as well–of material from throughout the ’60s. “Messe Pour Le Temps Présent” (1967) places Pierre Henry’s echoing and exploding electronics over five selections of goofy “Psyché Rock” in a most charming manner. The electronic intrusions totally grate against the upbeat music, yet also somehow go with it in a most pleasing way. Fans of Attilio Mineo’s Man In Space With Sounds, Brainticket’s Cottonwoodhill or White Noise’s Electric Storm take note: this is an absolute must-hear for anyone who enjoys fun.
“La Reine Verte” is a hectic patchquilt full of crazed drumming, opera singing, muted keyboard craziness, rhythmic clapping and dark, shimmering electronics. “Le Voyage” is a deep realm full of dim, distant, humming electronics that occasionally meld into brighter areas of squealing feedback, plus a second track of chattering, chirping soundwave patterns and a third atmosphere of coiling, squealing and echoing metallic darkness. The composer himself states, “It’s a piece about how to approach death, and the sounds I use to convey this idea are inspired by zen. They’re dream-like and meditative and heighten the listener’s awareness.”
“Variations Pour Une Porte Et Un Soupir” (1963) is an exhaustive study of wooden door creaks and squeaks plus a percussive saw layered together in a very sound property-revealing, humorous, and entertaining way. (Note: the tracks included here are just an excerpt, the full version is available on Harmonia Mundi CD HMA 1905200.) A group of ballet dancers cavort around on the front cover while the gatefold inside includes much more appropriate vintage color photos of electronic equipment and recording tape stacked on shelves.
Label: Philips Catalog Number: PHILIPS 456 293-2 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 20 Total Time: Unknown Country: France Released: 1997 Related Artists: Francois Bayle, Bernard Parmegiani, Pierre Schaeffer More: Discogs, Forced Exposure, Perfect Sound Forever, Wikipedia