Various Artists

Presence II

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Presence II is a two-CD set of electroacoustic music released by Productions Électro Productions, an arm of the Canadian Electroacoustic Community (CEC). The scope of the music presented here is very wide: established composers and newcomers, 60-second snapshots and large-scale works (the longest piece is 12 minutes), typical musique concrète, and approaches closer to real-time performance. A third of the composers are Canadian, another third come from England, the rest from France, Belgium, Germany, and South America. Some pieces date from the mid-'80s (Otto Joachim's "Three Electronic Sketches"), but most material is later (1997-1999). Presence II offers a nice overview of what is produced around the world in terms of electroacoustics, but it remains a very straight compilation: No attempt has been made at giving the record its own identity. Tracks are presented in alphabetical orders of their composers, without any regard to compatibility, interesting contrasts, etc. It might be democratic but since there is no continuity in the program, the listener must reset his attention 36 times. Still, Presence documents a number of valuable composers like Alastair Bannerman, Gordon Fitzell, Barbara Golden, Jean Routhier, and Ben Thigpen that are cruelly under-recorded.

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