Francis Dhomont autres utopies

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Released just in time for Francis Dhomont's 80th birthday, autres utopies (...and other utopias) is not the awaited third installment in the composer's "Cycle des Profondeurs" (Cycle of Depths) triptych. Instead, it collects various autonomous works, picking up where Jalons had left off three years earlier. A little bit stronger as a whole, the album still does not match the enrapturing level of fascination exerted by Dhomont's large-scale works. However, the man's unique touch and audio plasticity are as keen as ever. The strongest piece is "Je Te Salue, Vieil Océan!" (15 minutes), driven by excerpts from Lautréamont's Maldoror, recited by Marc-Henri Boisse and treated in ways strongly reminiscent of Forêt Profonde and Sous le Regard d'un Soleil Noir. It creates a gripping evocation of the French pre-Surrealist poet's tortured universe. "Here and There" (ten minutes) and "Voyage-Miroir" (15 minutes) are also very strong compositions. The first one features Dhomont's trademark swooshes of sound hiding subtler carefully placed materials. The other piece revisits his mid-'80s work "...Mourir un Peu," about exile and departure -- after more than 25 years spent between Canada and France, the composer has now elected to live permanently in the latter, his native country. The longest work of this set at 29 minutes, the three-part "Chroniques de la Lumière" is also the weakest. Esthetically pretty and very well done on a technical level, it remains cold and non-engaging, like some of the pieces on Cycle de l'Errance and Les Dérives du Signe. It contains nice moments of grandeur (especially in the third part), but offers little new in terms of sonic materials and figures. Nevertheless, autres utopies will surely satisfy Dhomont's followers. On the other hand, newcomers have more essential releases to first sink their ears into.

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