Image: Inés Wickmann (Adagp)

Francis Dhomont, Bruxelles, Belgique, mai 2014

Photo: Inés Wickmann

[7822]

Francis Dhomont
Le cri du Choucas

empreintes DIGITALes | IMED 16138 | CD

Durée: 70m19s | UPC: 771028213825

Distributeurs:

  • Métamkine (FR)

Sortie:

1 juin 2016

Prix grossiste:

10,00 CAD

Classer sous:

acousmatique / musique concrète

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Best Albums of 2016 (Part 2)

par Simon Cummings in 5:4 (RU), 31 décembre 2016 |5650|

«It’s another spectacular creation from an undisputed master of the art.»

8. Francis DhomontLe cri du Choucas

“When it comes to acousmatic music as its finest, though, Francis Dhomont remains one of the best of the best. […] Dhomont regularly fashions material that’s beautiful but barbed, sometimes arranged in multiple layers of dense activity, sometimes shot through with thin splinters of razor-sharp pitch over roiling depths. […] Coherent and organic throughout, the drama […] is just as much to do with the way musical materials are judged and handled than with the work’s more immediately tangible text component. […] Le cri du Choucas contains music more dark and uncomfortable than one expects from Dhomont, even in the work’s closing moments; far from offering a reassuring conclusion, it passes instead through angular, awkward, even ugly passages, surrounded on all sides by ominous glowering layers of sound seemingly coloured different shades of black. At its end, Le cri du Choucas sounds stunned, which is precisely how i felt too. It’s another spectacular creation from an undisputed master of the art.” (Reviewed in May 2016.)

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Counting Crows

par Ed Pinsent in The Sound Projector (RU), 18 décembre 2016 |5641|

«… you can comfortably play this meticulous work at peak volumes for immersive and transporting effects, to induce profound states of mind…»

Veteran composer Francis Dhomont is one of the big noises in Canadian electroacoustic and musique concrète composition, so it’s no surprise to see him represented on the showcase label empreintes DIGITALes with his recent composition, Le cri du Choucas. Astute readers (and viewers) will instantly recognise the piercing eyes of Franz Kafka collaged on the cover art there. Le cri du Choucas takes the ideas of Kafka as its theme, a pursuit which Dhomont has been following since 1997. There’s a previous chapter, Études pour Kafka, released by this same label in 2009; I don’t recall hearing that one, but the body of it has been reworked here. The composer also positions this release as the third and final part of a grand triologie, begun in 1981 as Sous le regard d’un soleil noir (released by Ina-GRM in France) and continued in the mid-1990s as Forêt profonde. He aims at extremes of drama, enriched with ideas about psychology; he wishes to plumb the depths of a man’s mind, through sound.

You could pick no better creator who personifies “unknowable depth” than your man Kafka; I’ve been reading his short stories since about 1979, and one day I hope to understand them. I can’t claim to have studied a great deal of critical analysis of Kafka, and I’m not sure that I care to; there’s a pleasure to be had for the reader in the constant mystification he sets up with his warped visions of European vistas, his mental labyrinths and strange symbols. I’ve no doubt there are numerous interpretations and explanations of The Trial and The Penal Colony, both works which feature in this music, but Francis Dhomont emphasises one particular aspect: the Law. Dhomont takes “the law” in Kafka to be “a metaphoric representation of the impenetrable realms the human mind hits”, and explores this theme with some determination. He probably reads Kafka’s work as describing a maze which always leads back to the same inescapable place, and ascribes the tone of despair and futility to the gloomy inevitability of mankind’s fate.

Dhomont also gives us his sonic take on other significant Kafka themes, including guilt, solitude, dreams, death, the family, and “impossible messages” — the last one being an apt description of Kafka’s own short stories, for this reader. On Le cri du Choucas — a title which incidentally translates as “The jackdaw’s call” and makes a punning reference to the Czech word Kavka — he does it through rich and maximal fugues of abstract sound. Everything has been heavily treated and processed through a vast amount of expensive-sounding digital crunch and filter effects, yet you feel you could somehow reverse-engineer these noises into their sources if you only listened for long enough. Alien though they be, some sounds closely resemble swarms of chattering voices in a huge mass, which is how I remember parts of Frankenstein Symphony by this composer (from 1997). Often these sounds coalesce and rush forward in a massed advance which seems unstoppable; it creates a suitably nightmarish and unreal mood for the listener.

The work is further illustrated and signposted by a good deal of spoken-word narration (in French), fragments of texts and documentary recordings which I assume highlight significant milestones in the design. But these interpolations also interrupt the flow of the music, and keep reminding us of the grand abstractions that Dhomont wishes to convey, barely allowing us any space to conceive our own thoughts. This is one of the stumbling blocks for me on this otherwise exciting release, as it lends an air of didacticism to the work; it’s like being lectured by stern academics in a stuffy University where the Kafka syllabus hasn’t been updated in over 35 years. One senses that the masters at this academy would have no truck with Orson Welles’ free-spirited cinematic interpretation of The Trial. It’s also something of an old-school musique concrète technique, one which has tended to mar my enjoyment of Pierre Henry’s Apocalypse de Jean, that famed Oratorio électronique from 1969. This aside, you can comfortably play this meticulous work at peak volumes for immersive and transporting effects, to induce profound states of mind… from 25 May 2016.

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Altrisuoni

par Dionisio Capuano in Blow Up #220 (Italie), 1 septembre 2016 |5576|

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Review

par Harry Wheeler in The Wire #389 (RU), 1 juillet 2016 |5523|

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Playlist

par Anthony N Frank in MusicPaper (Grèce), 1 juin 2016 |5528|

«… σε μια νουάρ καφκική ατμόσφαιρα.»

Βετεράνος συνθέτης της ηλεκτροακουστικής και ακουσματικής μουσικής, ο 90χρονος Francis Dhomont, δημιουργεί ένα έργο με αποσπάσματα από γραπτά του Κάφκα, ονόματι Le cri du Choucas. Τρίτο και τελευταίο μέρος της δουλειάς του — Cycle des profondeurs — για τον Τσέχο συγγραφέα, ο Dhomont χρησιμοποιεί τα κείμενα με ψυχαναλυτικές και συμβολικές διαθέσεις με την παραμορφωμένη φωνή του αφηγητή να συνοδεύεται από μουσικές — από συμβατικά όργανα, φωνές, ηχητικά εφέ, field recordings, ηλεκτρονικά δημιουργημένους ήχους και ακουστικό υλικό παραποιημένο από προτσέσορες — σε μια νουάρ καφκική ατμόσφαιρα.

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Recensione

par Riccardo Gorone in Carnage News (Italie), 1 juin 2016 |5512|

Francis Dhomont, audioartista belga specializzato in musique concrète e acusmatica, presenta un disco la cui ricerca è iniziata una decina d’anni fa, su Kafka, dal titolo Le cri du Choucas, “il grido della cornacchia”, o, ancora meglio, “il grido della taccola”, uccello sempre passeriforme dal piumaggio nero grigiastro, spesso considerato “uccello pericoloso, associato a morte e rovina” come sostiene Florence Bancaud nel suo Kafka ou le nom impropre. E da qui il riferimento allo scrittore ceco (Kavka, in ceco, significa letteralmente taccola, cornacchia, appunto) il cui mondo e la cui figura sembrano innestarsi completamente con questo immaginario.

Molto intelligente la narrazione delle tracce, poiché di questo si parla: la comprensione profonda che il suono si sviluppa all’ascolto orizzontalmente, come la narrazione, come il potere cinetico della voce narrante. Al di là dei titoli che sono chiaro riferimento alle opere letterarie (La loi, La colonie pénitentiaire, Le père, La métamorphose), Dhomont sviluppa le sue tracce seguendo le vicende del celebre racconto, Davanti alla legge, che spesso intervengono nei vivissimi affreschi acusmatici. La voce narrante, presenza quasi minacciosa dell’opera, è alterata, pitchata verso il basso in modo da risultare asettica e inesorabile. Il disco è sicuramente denso (momenti davvero profondi come i quasi 15 minuti di Le père in cui Dhomont mescola cori, noise, voci, rumori d’ambiente, armonici intonati, che regalano un’imponente immagine del dissidio interiore di un rapporto) dovuto soprattutto alla sua complessità, ma la scelta dell’autore riesce ad essere accattivante: il taglio prospettico scelto dal Nostro si concentra su ciò che Kafka era in Kafka, l’autore nelle sue opere, o meglio, l’autore filtrato dalle sue opere. Si pensi alla traccia Le Choucas in cui voci che si sormontano ripetono il nome dell’autore che si mescola al nome della cornacchia in ceco e francese (kafka, kavka, choucas), identificando le sue figure, mettendo a nudo l’autore e la sua figura che si auto interroga, che si auto accusa (impossibile non pensare alle atmosfere de Il Processo). Raffinate le due “parafrasi” di Dhomont (Paraphrase I e Paraphrase II) con cui prepara piccoli sipari sonori introdotto da alcuni fondamentali passaggi del racconto di cui poco sopra. Inquiétante étrangeté passa in rassegna, tra le varie registrazioni, un estratto audio che sottolinea l’olismo della figura kafkiana: il meccanismo onirico delle sue opere ha fatto sì che fossero il mezzo per poter sviluppare i diversi aspetti di lui stesso in una figura unica.

Il lavoro di Dhomont è lo specchio incrinato della figura di Kafka e, nel contempo, una linea di luce che fa brillare aspetti inediti dell’opus all’ombra della cornacchia.

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Review

par Simon Cummings in 5:4 (RU), 23 mai 2016 |5518|

«It’s another spectacular creation from an undisputed master of the art.»

When it comes to acousmatic music as its finest, though, Francis Dhomont remains one of the best of the best. Le cri du Choucas (the Cry of the Jackdaw) is a 70-minute work that forms the third and final part of the composer’s Cycle of Depths (following Sous le regard d’un soleil noir and Forêt profonde). As one expects from Dhomont, it’s a bold statement that comes across both as a continuation of and an ongoing reinvention of the acousmatic ‘tradition’ (for want of a better word). Quoting Michel Chion, Dhomont calls the piece an “electroacoustic melodrama”, an extremely appropriate description for a piece founded upon and musically elaborating fragments of text both by and associated with Franz Kafka. The emphasis is psychoanalytic, Kafka’s words being expanded by considerations from Marthe Robert’s As Lonely as Franz Kafka and RD Laing’s classic The Divided Self. It takes a little time to get used to its dramatic approach, declamatory spoken passages alternating with and inserted throughout extended musical meditations, but one soon acclimatises to this rhythm, and the results pass quickly from merely fascinating to deeply moving. Dedicated to Dhomont’s father, the text and music confront very complex and painful aspects of Kafka’s own paternal relationship. In response, Dhomont regularly fashions material that’s beautiful but barbed, sometimes arranged in multiple layers of dense activity, sometimes shot through with thin splinters of razor-sharp pitch over roiling depths. Le cri du Choucas is often startlingly vivid (the opening industrial soundscape of third movement La colonie pénitentiaire is like being plunged into the prologue of a Terry Gilliam dystopia), but without any sense of calling on easy associations from ‘anecdotal’ sources. Put another way, sounds — as they so frequently do in Dhomont’s work — usually remain just out of recognisable reach, yet retaining enough recollective proximity to trigger both memory and imagination. Coherent and organic throughout, the drama in Le cri du Choucas is just as much to do with the way musical materials are judged and handled than with the work’s more immediately tangible text component. Eighth movement Un message impérial is a masterclass in poised tension; despite being situated in the middle — and background, the steady increase in pressure is heart-poundingly riveting. Considering the difficulty of the subject matter, Le cri du Choucas contains music more dark and uncomfortable than one expects from Dhomont, even in the work’s closing moments; far from offering a reassuring conclusion, it passes instead through angular, awkward, even ugly passages, surrounded on all sides by ominous glowering layers of sound seemingly coloured different shades of black. At its end, Le cri du Choucas sounds stunned, which is precisely how i felt too. It’s another spectacular creation from an undisputed master of the art.

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Kritik

par Marius Joa in Bad Alchemy #89 (Allemagne), 1 mai 2016 |5500|

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Musique électroacoustique et Franz Kafka?

par Anne-Marie Jeanjean in Revue du crieur #3 (France), 1 avril 2016 |5491|

«… une construction rigoureuse très équilibrée […] un grand bonheur d’écoute…»

Voilà qui ne pouvait manquer d’attiser ma curiosité. Il faut préciser que Francis Dhomont, pionnier bien connu — et honoré — de la musique électroacoustique, travaille depuis longtemps avec les textes de Kafka; il est un familier de son univers.

Troisième et dernier volet du Cycle des profondeurs, ce disque s’intitule Le cri du Choucas. L’ensemble des sons — évidemment non identifiables — prolonge chez l’auditeur l’étrange désarroi induit par l’écriture de Kafka; le prolonge et l’amplifie ou le bouleverse radicalement. Cette profusion a nécessité une construction rigoureuse très équilibrée dans la distribution des courtes citations de textes de l’écrivain tout au long des 12 séquences.

Parmi elles, et il faudrait bien des pages encore pour analyser vraiment le montage acoustique, je note en milieu et fin de la séquence 3 [La colonie pénitentiaire] l’emballement sonore en avalanche qui renforce l’engrenage de l’imaginaire avec de brusques retombées vers le concret. À la séquence 5 [Attente], pris avec «l’homme de la campagne» dans le rideau sonore, les auditeurs ressentent profondément ce qui agite, ce qui peuple cette attente avec ses à-coups d’espoir / désespoir, son questionnement sans fin. Et ce mot «Warrum?» (Pourquoi?) Qui la clôt. Warrum répété plusieurs fois qui hante l’ensemble de la composition: la question sans réponse possible… Le thème du père se déploie dans la séquence centrale 6 [Le père] qui est la plus longue (15 min). Très troublante car au fil de l’écoute se re / découvrent des fragments connus et qui prennent dans cet environnement là, une intensité autre, différente.

Les voix (dont celle de Marthe Robert) transformées, ou non, ajoutent à la dramaturgie générale avec beaucoup de sobriété, contrastant avec les explosions et tourbillons de musique dont Francis Dhomont sait parfaitement, en grand maître qu’il est de la matière sonore, infléchir des nuances inattendues faisant de ce disque un grand bonheur d’écoute qui enrichit tout autant notre réflexion que notre théâtre intérieur.

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