Posts Tagged ‘Laurent Perrier’

Sound on Probation – SOP018 – 17th April 2018

Christopher Nosnibor

Zonk’t is one of the many guises of polychrome composer Laurent Perrier. According to his biography, while many of these projects often share many common elements, they are all built on a strong individual identity, and are therefore distinct and different from one another. Thus, Zonk’t ‘has always been a way of exploring the most ambient fringes of dub, and the transition from the all-digital to compositions made entirely on modular synthesizers has overall not changed its approach in depth’.

The album takes its title from the cryptanalytic process developed by Alan Turing during the Second World War, which ultimately facilitated the deciphering of the coded messages the German military produced via their Enigma machines. The track titles all relate back to the theme of the title. However, this album seems more concerned with the evocation of messages buried or encoded than the application of complex formulae to the compositional methodology.

‘Square’ (which I assume to be a reference to the Polybius square, also known as the Polybius checkerboard, which in cryptography, is a device invented by the Ancient Greek historian and scholar Polybius, for fractionating plaintext characters so that they can be represented by a smaller set of symbols, at least according to Wikipedia). occupies the entirely of side A, almost 20 minutes of slow-paged ambient dub propelled by thick, heavy beats. Thin, twisting sinews of sound like strings stretch across the space and spin layers of texture.

Side B contains three more short-form compositions in the shape of ‘Chronogyre’, ‘Colossus’, and ‘Conditional Probability’. The first of these forges a low, deliberate groove that undulates at a deliberate pace, while erratic, glitchy beats and crackles of static flitter and clank through the swampy tones. ‘Colossus’ picks up the pace and the bass-centric density, thwupping and thrumming in waves. A stark synthesised stab echoes out before the final track – the most direct and beat-orientated of the set – conjures an immersive retro-futurist groove.

It’s the combination of space and bass-orientated groove dislocation that makes Banburismus worth the effort. It’s not immediately accessible, and doesn’t sit comfortably in either the ambient or dub genres. Crossovers as far removed from not only the mainstream but the mass market as this will inevitably slide into ultra-niche categories, but this by no means devalues the work. If anything, the existence of Banburismus only further illustrates the need for art more than mere entertainment.

AA

SOP018_front

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Baskaru – karu:39

Christopher Nosnibor

Within the domain of the avant-garde, there is a recurring thread of self-reflexivity, and a focus on ‘the process’ which borders on obsessive. Many artists have offered theories on the benefits of collaboration, with the practices and methods of another person facilitating fresh approaches to creative processes. William Burroughs and Brion Gysin famously cited Napoleon Hill’s bestselling self-improvement book from 1937, Think and Grow Rich, having latched onto the concept of ‘the third mind,’ whereby the coming together of two individuals brings forth an unseen collaborator in the form of a third, superior mind. Needless to say, collaboration is not for everyone, but Laurent Perrier is very much an advocate, as this release which finds him working in collaboration with three notable artists, namely Francisco Lopez, Tom Recchion, and Christian Zanesi is testament to. But all is not quite s it may seem: Perrier’s Plateforme series, of which this is the second release, offers an alternative interpretation of what collaboration means, with the tracks each standing as what he terms a ‘one-way collaboration’.

The idea works on the basis that Perrier takes sounds provided by his ‘collaborators’ and uses those sounds – and nothing else – to create the pieces. This approach naturally pieces. Raises questions around the nature of the relationship between the artist and the ‘text’ (in the broad sense of the term). Is Perrier the architect, designing and constructing the tracks from raw materials? Is he even the composer? Or do these pieces represent remixes of unmixed material? To what extent can the ownership of each piece be aligned to the collaborator, and how much falls to Perrier, the one who sculpts the raw materials into something? In terms of process, one is also compelled to ask, to what extent do the ‘original’ sounds define the character of each individual artist’s work?

There is a definite sense that Perrier has worked with a strong intention to preserve the identity and integrity of each of his collaborators in these three pieces, and here I would return to Burroughs and Gysin, who claimed “A page of Rimbaud cut up and rearranged will give you quite new images. Rimbaud images — real Rimbaud images — but new ones”. This is a premise with which Perrier would appear to concur: his aim is not to vandalise or otherwise desecrate or stamp his own identity on their sounds, but simply to shape and order them. So, a collection of Francisco Lopez sounds arranged, mutated and mixed results in a nee track by Francisco Lopez, forged with the assistance of Laurent Perrier.

And it works, with or without detailed knowledge of either the work of Laurent Perrier or his collaborators, with Plateforme #2 featuring three long-for tracks which explore texture and tone in a variety of ways, and with each track displaying a distinct ‘personality’.

Francisco Lopez’s material emerges as screeding scrapes and drones, barrelling hums, crackles and slow-motion explosions, fizzing static. Harsh blasts of drilling, rumbling earthworks and abstract noise fill the air. Elongated hisses, like air escaping from valves or burst pipes and storm-force winds all amalgamate to create big, big sounds and a sense of immense space.

Hinting at vintage science fiction and horror movies, long, low, ambient drones hang and turn slowly, to be rent with shrill shrieks of treble, and blizzards of looping lasers to conjure a strange, alien landscape in sound in the Tom Recchion collaboration. Jump cuts extend the filmic analogy. Spectral tracings haunt the longest of the three pieces, with Christian Zanesi’s sounds building from a whisper to a scream; around the mid-point, the piece has evolved to a veritable tornado of sound which blasts from the speakers with breathtaking force.

 

Laurent Perrier - Plateforme 2

 

Laurent Perrier – Plateforme #2 Online at Baskaru