Various Artists

Électro Clips: 25 Instantanés Électroacoustiques

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In many of its aspects, electro-acoustic music follows a logic similar to classical music. In terms of duration, composers in both realms tend to favor length over conciseness, developing ideas in cycles or architectural compositions. Jean-François Denis and Claude Schryer, the two artistic directors of Empreintes DIGITALes in 1990, gambled on the short attention span of the public and commissioned three-minute pieces to 25 composers. The resulting CD, Électro Clips, was one of the label's first releases and stayed among its best sellers for many years. Moreover, the idea of a disc offering short works (songs, so to speak) by as many artists as possible was picked up by other labels in the field. About half of the composers represented here would record full-length albums for Empreintes DIGITALes. Established names like Francis Dhomont and Hildegard Westerkamp touch elbows with newcomers like Stéphane Roy, Zack Settel, and Gilles Gobeil, whose "Associations Libres" provides one of the disc's highlights. The palette of styles runs wild, from acousmatics to textbook musique concrète (John Oswald's simple yet so charming "Bell Speeds") to process-generated computer music (Daniel Scheidt). Highlights and curiosities include the aforementioned Oswald track (outside his plunderphonics, his electro-acoustic works have rarely been released), John Oliver's "Marimba Dismembered," Roxanne Turcotte's "Minisérie" (much stronger than her solo album), and a rare piece by Jean-François Denis, better known for his efforts to promote electro-acoustic music in Montréal. In 1990, Électro Clips gave a good snapshot of the genre's community of composers, Canadian and abroad, but it also ages well.

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