Luc Ferrari - Presque Rien (1970-89)

This album totally blew my mind and made me look at Musique Concrète and field recording in a whole different way.


A wonderful sampling of Luc Ferrari's work, Presque Rien also may serve as a smooth introduction to the world of musique concrète. His "Music Promenade," which opens the album, is a combination of ambient sounds (including marching bands and laughing girls) augmented by electronically processed sounds and snatches of other prerecorded music. It's actually illustrative of some of the pitfalls that can occur when a collage of this type is overly forced and the result is somewhat awkward. This is decidedly not the case with "Presque Rien No. 1." While the title translates to "almost nothing," the reality of the piece is far different. Rather, the piece is nothing less than a rich, sonic recreation of an early morning in a Yugoslavian seaside village. Though one knows he must have engaged in substantial manipulation, Ferrari's touch is virtually invisible. Instead one is transported to a beach where bird cries, outboard motors, children singing, and, more than anything, cicadas chirping surround the listener, offering a startlingly immediate sensation of "being there." More, of being in a heightened state of awareness. "Presque Rien No. 2" is a more private, though no less beguiling affair, as the composer talks softly to himself while walking through a very sonically active field. As in the first piece, there are again purely musical adornments, but here they meld beautifully with the natural sounds.


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