For anyone who ever complained musique concrète was too abstract, Portrait d'un Glacier (Alpes 2173m) could come as a revelation. There are two ways to listen to this piece (this is a one-track EP): as a work of electro-acoustic music or as a documentary on the ascension of a glacier in the Massif du Mont-Blanc (France). Not that the half-hour-long piece unfolds according to a methodical chronology, but the various stages of the climb are detectable. Since every thing that goes up must come down, the piece comes back to its starting point; sounds heard in the first minutes reappear in the last ones. Objects falling in a puddle of water, footsteps on the rocks and in the snow, blurry excerpts from the protagonists' conversations, and sharper sentences singled out are all artfully assembled and backed by an electronic accompaniment, long tones that have the texture of ice. The piece is busier in its beginning and end, becoming more ethereal while the two men (Marchetti and Bruno Roche, one suspects) are standing at the top. The epilogue leaves only the tones, as the glacier can enjoy his solitude again. Much more peaceful and academic in form than Marchetti's previous album, Knud un Nom de Serpent (Le Cercle des Entrailles), Portrait d'un Glacier recalls Philippe Le Goff's Titatki (the ice/snow paradigm) and old documentaries on the life of sherpas.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture