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"4 Parabolic Mixes" 2xCD
© 2003 Sub Rosa; SR 199 CD
Country: Belgium
Released: 23 Nov 2001


1.01 Henri Pousseur First Parabolic Mix (28:10)
1.02 Main Second Parabolic Mix (26:00)
2.01 Philip Jeck Third Parabolic Mix (27:10)
2.02 Oval Fourth Parabolic Mix (26:01)

A pair of discs is needed to contain the sprawling live study of "trans-historical alterities" performed by Henri Pousseur, Main, Philip Jeck and Oval… 4 parabolic mixes are at least 26 minutes each and range widely within that span.
Veteran electronic experimentalist Henri Pousseur digitally relives his creations of 30 years ago. Wavering tones hover, faintly rippling, though give off increasingly stark audio- illumination; the edgy expanse of barely-shifting tonality gets shiftier, becoming a growling/blooping/stuttering stream, eventually injected with spoken words even. Clunky rhythms back a geyser of retro-computers-gone-mad sound-effects amongst many, many other things guaranteed to make your ears wonder what the hell you're putting into them.

Robert Hampson (Main) begins his mix of Pousseur's works with relatively serene flows, which gradually begin to fluctuate and buzz into scrawling currents, etched with percussive abrasions. An appealing stretch of feedback loveliness turns seductively in a bed of soft radiance, followed by nice, subtle grit-and-undulations… though the final half-minute gets rather crispy/loud!

Philip Jeck's muffled, fidgety piece (28:10) is quiet enough to be innocuous, though mostly, well… weird when you really try to tune it in with little frizzles and twirls and birdlike twitters. During a several-minute period of near-silence, I wandered out of the room, forgot about it and moments later thought my toilet was somehow making a descending-spaceship noise! The track develops into something rather more frenetic, though never exactly loud.

Oval's track (26:00) begins on entwining strands of steely glare and gleaming bleeps… followed by episodes of chasmic electronic gasps, creepy ambiance, sudden outbursts of more-aggressive feedback/distortions, sizzle-hidden murmurs, cavernous reverberations, vinyl pops, wildly arcing tones overtaken by crazy, gurgling oceans of computernoise… yah! and we're only halfway through! Be assured, more ensues…

More-patient listeners may enjoy the academic-yet-bizarro treatments of Pousseur, Main, Jeck and Oval. These 4 Parabolic Mixes are expertly-composed (however oddly) but for just plain old funtime listening, well, sorry I'm not feeling that patient this month… (for what it's worth though, the Main section seems to be my fave).

In November 2001, Sub Rosa published Henri

Pousseur's 8 Parabolic Studies in a box of 4 CDs –

these electronic pieces have been created in 1972

at the WDR studios in Cologne. The idea was to

ask other musicians, of different generations, to

attempt a new mix on the basis of these eight

studies. The first mix (and not re-mix) was a

re-interpretation by Henri Pousseur himself – this

laid the foundation stone of the edifice. Contrary to

the mixes carried out thirty years ago, these were

made digitally. The second mix was Robert

Hampson's (aka Main) – quite nervous of the

master's reaction, who was present during the set.

Robert, who holds an exhaustive knowledge of

electronic music from its origins and of all its

aspects – even of the more obscure ones – gave a

personal but faithful interpretation of Pousseur's

studies. Another degree of alteration was highlighted

by Philip Jeck, who created a massive and powerful

set, adding sounds from other sources (which is

totally allowed according to Pousseur's original

concept). And finally, Oval – according to the

process that is quintessential to his work, Markus

Popp could only produce a piece far removed from

its sources; since it is within sound itself that all

sonorous source passes through the Oval-process,

thus becoming Oval-music – that is, music having

its very own properties.

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