Exactly ten years after inaugurating the 3" CD series "Cinéma pour l'Oreille" released by Metamkine, Michèle Bokanowski offered L'Étoile Absinthe, a strange 20-minute work. A woman sings a light melody with a frail voice -- you know, something typically French, out of a Serge Gainsbourg pop song. The composer zeroes in on a tiny sample, a moment that almost sounds like a gasp, in between two notes. Quick waves of synthesizers form a swooshing background, like darted attacks that answer the gasps. These elements get carried from speaker to speaker, repeated in various irregular patterns, filtered, cut, and stretched. At the seven- and 14-minute marks the piece pauses, diving into near-silence for a few seconds before the previous mass of sounds re-emerge. The piece gives birth to a feeling of urgency, discomfort, and odd reminiscences of sci-fi flick soundtracks. One of Bokanowski's biggest strengths is her power to evoke in a day-dreaming state. As you get lost in time listening to this piece, you will understand why.
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