Rhizomes summarizes Stephan Dunkelman's 1990s. Most of the seven works included on this CD were already available on a number of compilation albums ("Aquaéra 1" on Empreintes DIGITALes' own Miniatures Concrètes). Presented together, they form an interesting solo album. The key word to describe Dunkelman's music is "movement." He has worked extensively with choreographers and some of these pieces stem from music for dance. There is grace and fluidity in the stereo crisscrosses, the leaps and splits of his sounds. In that regard, "Rituellipses" is exemplary. Ample without aiming at grandeur, it impressively coordinates the dance of a number of "characters" in a movement that draws from a certain conception of serialism and ritualism, all to great effect. "Dreamlike Shudder in an Airstream, Pt. 1: For a Crumpled Woman," encountered at half point in the course of this hour of music, brings an element of disturbance. Its title already hints at something darker or oppressive. The piece is more cluttered and looms menacingly over the listener. The closing "Thru, Above and Between" approaches radio work (or hörspiel) from a purely musical point of view. Consciously evacuating any possible literary thinking, Dunkelman tries to come back to the essence of "cinema for the ear," developing a narrative that will not translate into words but makes sense to the listener nonetheless. Through these pieces, the influence of Annette Vande Gorne rarely goes away -- in the choice and use of concrete sounds, in the musical flow -- but is well integrated to Dunkelman's style. Academic but warm and with many fascinating facets, this album is definitely worth your time.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture