Titatki is one of the unsung classics in the catalog of electro-acoustic label Empreintes DIGITALes. A cycle of four works ranging from six to 21 minutes, it was created after Philippe Le Goff spent five years in the Arctic, more precisely in Nunavik (Quebec), in a handful of villages lost in the Northwestern Territories, Canada, and on Coat Island and Baffin Island. The composer immersed himself in the culture, language, and daily lives of Inuits. The resulting pieces are passionate tributes to a culture still very much anchored in tradition. Speech, singing, and field recordings are paired with acousmatic sounds and occasional musical instruments to create truly cinematic works, like the actual soundtrack to a hidden movie. The standout title is "La Guerre" (War), a beautiful solar piece driven by Inuit chants and enhanced by a delicate music score made of minimal contributions by a wide array of instruments, from tabla to electric guitar, Hammond organ, shinaï, and a trio of French horns evoking the sound of exploration boats. The other track featuring "music" is "Nipingit: La Parole," in which violin and viola dialogue with Inuit women. "Meta Incognita" and "Plan Séquence" (Action Shot) respectively open and close the CD on wide panoramic views. Laughter and joy of life inhabit all four works, making them feel like as many movements of a larger piece. Straying lightly from the more academic musique concrète to enter the realm of film-sound documentary, Titatki sits the listener in the middle of an Inuit village. Very strongly recommended, especially to persons who are looking for an easy introduction to tape music. The album was released in Empreintes DIGITALes' Compact Compact series.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by François Couture