Various Artists

Miniatures Concretes

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Seven years after the release of Électro Clips by the same record label, and flat on the 50th anniversary of musique concrète, Empreintes DIGITALes released Miniatures Concrètes, its second collection of three-minute works. Big names are cruelly absent this time, leaving only lesser-known composers in the roaster. Most were in their late thirties/early forties, an up-and-coming age in the field of electro-acoustic music. Some, like Jacques Tremblay and Ned Bouhalassa, were about to have their big break -- solo albums released by the same label -- while others would continue to go unnoticed. Yet, the average quality level is higher than on the previous CD, an impression probably resulting from a more focused, homogeneous approach (for example, there is no computer music this time). What is good about shorts like these is that good ideas don't get exhausted, while bad ones don't last too long. Highlights include Mark Wingate's "Pufferfish," Elainie Lillios' "Au Deuxième Étage" ("On the Second Floor"), the almost ambient "Aquaéra 1" by Stephan Dunkelman, and Ios Smolders' playfully enigmatic "Manga pour l'Oreille" ("Manga for the Ear"). Stand-out tracks are not as striking as the ones in Électro Clips, and Miniatures Concrètes does not hold the same historical importance (its vision of a short electro-acoustic piece having been copied a few times since the 1990 CD), but it provides a more satisfying listening experience.

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