La Théorie des Nerfs Creux (The Theory of Hollow Nerves) is Jocelyn Robert's strongest release. A suite in four movements, this work found its source in a reflection on the nervous system. How does one perceive and decode stimuli? Where does the thinking begin? Robert's introductory essay concludes on this statement: "Thinking is a noisy process." For 41 minutes, the listener becomes part of a complex organism. One finds numerous analogies between man and machine: mechanical, electrical, and numerical sounds are structured into an ever-changing form of life. "Raimus Communicans" is mostly made of backward sounds. A melody stands out in the last couple of minutes, providing an unusually tangible sense of poetry to the construction. "Le Fils d'Oedipe" (Oedipus' Son) and "Trois Fois Rien" (Nothing at All) are subtler pieces, while "Les Choses" (Things) starts brutally, only to make way for a delicate piano motif. Anyone aware of Robert's later works will be surprised at how delicate and rich La Théorie des Nerfs Creux is (compared to 20 Moments Blancs Lents or Le Crachecophage, for example). A transitional album between his early pieces and his more arid late-'90s releases, this CD offers a meaningful and enjoyable sound art experience. Strongly recommended.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture