Francis Dhomont's first album since the critically acclaimed Forêt Profonde in 1996, Cycle du Son was released in late 2001 and consists of a cycle of four works premiered in 1998. At the time the composer was 72 years old. Taking a cue from the celebrations surrounding the 50th anniversary of the "advent" of musique concrète, he created a rich work that takes a look at the distance electro-acoustic music has crossed during that time. But Cycle du Son is not a historical overview. Instead it integrates concepts, forms, and pet sounds from the main figures of the genre, all done with much subtlety. The roots of the work are found in part three, "Novars." Created in 1989, it used sound sources from Guillaume de Machaut's "Messe de Nostre Dame" and Pierre Schaeffer's "Étude aux Objets." The cycle stemmed from this piece and all movements are interlocked with quotes and the use of similar sound sources and references. "Objets Retrouvés" is a short re-reading of Schaeffer's "Étude aux Objets," the first musique concrète "classic." Its elegance tells much about Dhomont's respect for the man. "AvatArsSon" is the strongest work here and ranks among the man's best. Revisiting other composers, Dhomont actually offers a synthesis of his own music, from the formalism of his Cycle de l'Errance to the dreamy confusion of Forêt Profonde (it even includes speaking voices, a trademark of his own work). "Phonurgie" concludes the set with a look forward, avoiding nostalgic sentimentality. This album may not be as strong as some of his previous efforts, but it will still please fans of Dhomont and aficionados of electro-acoustic music. His touch, so easily recognizable (in the movements, the colors, and the narrative), remains strong.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture