Philippe Blanchard

Play: Lunch

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AllMusic Review by François Couture

The Play: Lunch project came from within the German label Plate Lunch. The idea was to commission two French composers to write a 30-minute piece revolving around food. Philippe Blanchard submitted "Captain Cook," an acousmatic suite in five parts, while Christian Renou proposed the four part electro-acoustic piece "Cuisine et Impédence." This was Renou's first release under his own name since he opted for the moniker Brume in the early 1980s. Blanchard's piece uses recordings he made in Syria in 1999 for source material. Steps in the food cycle ("to buy," "to season," "to digest") are illustrated by one ten minute movement and four shorter pieces. A playful composition, "Captain Cook" is an inventive exercise but it lacks involvement. The second part was awarded a prize by Radio France. The basic material in Renou's piece was recorded in his kitchen: pots and pans, gas stove, refrigerator, sink, glasses, conversation, etc. He claims no computer was used during the compositional process, which means he manipulated the sound sources with traditional electro-acoustic techniques. Most sounds are left as is and assembled to create alien kitchen landscapes. The austerity of the work contrasts heavily with Blanchard's generous exotic palette. It recalls in part Michael Prime's own take on home appliance aesthetics (his CD Domestic Science). Fans of Renou's work as Brume may feel puzzled and a little left out by this more hermetic opus.

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