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L'ivresse de la Vitesse

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Album Review

Culling material that covers a decade of work, L'Ivresse de la Vitesse (Intoxicated by Speed) had the effect of a bomb in musique concrète circles. Paul Dolden's previous album, The Threshold of Deafening Silence (1990), already indicated that the composer eschewed traditional tape music esthetics, but this ambitious two-CD set consecrated him as a new voice. Dolden works with instruments. His compositions are amalgams of partitions, hundreds of them, recorded individually on a wide array of instruments. They are later assembled through pitch, polyrhythmic and textural relations to create high-density pieces that seem to be performed by massive lunatic orchestras. At the heart of the album are three such pieces: "Dancing on the Walls of Jericho," "Beyond the Walls of Jericho" (these two completing a triptych started on the previous CD with "Below the Walls of Jericho"), and the title piece. The three works in the "Invocation" series feature tape parts from the Jericho cycle over which a solo part has been added. Performers include Dolden himself on guitar, Vivenne Spiteri on harpsichord, and cellist Peggy Lee; they are simply beautiful in "Physics of Seduction: Invocation #2." The same method is applied to the title track, transformed into the two parts of the "Resonance" series, both performed by François Houle (on soprano saxophone and clarinet). An older piece, "Veils," concludes the set with a look at the emergence of Dolden's technique as it is made of acoustic parts and more conventional musique concrète treatments. The energy, richness, and density of the music bring to mind the Vancouver new music big bands NOW Orchestra and Hard Rubber Orchestra — that is to say that it conveys a much more organic experience than more standard tape music. Decadent and subversive, L'Ivresse de la Vitesse is a classic, a unique form of fin de siècle tape music. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Canadian electro-acoustic composer Paul Dolden managed to work from within the musique concrète institutions even though his art should have placed him at its very margin. Known mostly for what has been coined his "esthetics of excess," he stirred the otherwise very calm waters of the genre with his works for tape in which he piles up hundreds of layers...
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L'ivresse de la Vitesse, Paul Dolden
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