Francis Dhomont

Sous le Regard d'Un Soleil Noir

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Creative in the possibilities of sound recording, French-born composer Francis Dhomont put together the material on this album between 1979 and 1981. He is both a scholar and innovator of that field of recording experimentation called "electroacoustic composition" across the Atlantic. These eight pieces become episodic as periods of French spoken word, sweeping electronic sounds, and musical instrumentation alternate in subtextually related segments. These transforming works of tape manipulation are shape-shifting phantoms of sonic ectoplasm. Amorphous and unpredictable, they become philosophical mantras, as in the repeating "I'm an individual" of "Le Moi Divise (The Divided Self)," framed in linear, unexpected aural pathways. The titles translates as "Under the Glare of a Black Sun" and in Dhomont's surreal "acousmatic" world common themes as a monologue (here, the reading in French of psychiatrist R.D. Laing) and a murmuring crowd take on strange and wondrous implications when treated and placed in succession. A single recurring note (B natural) serves to bind each piece to its predecessor. If reality is only perceptions, then a change in these perceptions can alter reality. Through mesmerizing repetition contrasted with jarring polyphony, Dhomont artfully serves to make the common and real uncommon and unreal. The album becomes an intrapersonal voyage. Follow along the provided English translations and take a Conrad-ean journey into the peculiar, dark universe at the heart of each human being.

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