This short album is among Scanner's least-known releases, but it deserves a place alongside his bestsellers. A 40-minute live performance, Publicphono was commissioned by the 2000 Prix Italia festival. The concert used the public speaker system on the seafront of Rimini, broadcasting over 20 kilometers of beach. Of course, this stereo recording does not capture the spatial aspects of the performance, but it still ranks as one of Scanner's strong performances. Italian voices open the set, along with what could be the sound of waves. The music builds up slowly from minimal ambient to a strange hybrid of ambient and noise, as Scanner introduces FM radio pollution (is that Foreigner around the 33-minute mark?). Airwaves, floating string chords, and the echoing double "ping" of radar provide the base elements of the piece, although several other sources make cameos during the set. Scanner's music often seems to be limited by the concepts he uses, as if it was kept from reaching its full potential. Here, it flourishes, taking the listener through a captivating, nicely paced journey. The music is spacious but never vacuous, retaining its immersive interest throughout. The sound quality is not as good as one would expect; there is a certain thinness to it -- it sounds at times like an audience recording, even though this release is legit -- but the quality of the performance is compensation enough. Publicphono was the first title released in the Live CDR series from Mr. Mutt, the imprint run by the electronica group Tu M'.
AllMusic Review by François Couture
feat: Robin Rimbaud