When it comes to appreciating electro-acoustic music, there is a lot of subjectivity involved. One's responses to such and such sounds and ambiences can vary greatly from one pair of ears to another. Yet, some consensus can be reached in the case of particularly gifted composers. Lionel Marchetti belongs to this category. Without following straight cinematic sequences ("cinema for the ear" having become a much overused expression by 2001), his works hold a dramatic charge, a narrative tension that grabs the listener's attention and won't let go. Piggy-backing on the composer's busy release schedule in 2001 (with three new albums out by August), the label Auscultare unearthed Sirrus, a suite in three movements created in 1989-1990. It is pure electro-acoustic music, the academic kind, although it shows a vivacity, richness in imagery, and creativity superior to many composers in the field, young or old. The pieces are accompanied by Hermetic texts by Olivier Capparos (in French and English) describing the Circle, the Fire, the Mud, and the Sky Principles. How they relate to the music remains uncertain, but the symbolism they delve in finds echoes in Marchetti's music. "Micro-Climat" is the best piece: well-paced, with surprising twists and turns but still very coherent. "Passerelle" is also strong and includes an unexpected synthesizer solo toward the end (Keith Emerson having something to prove). The title track lacks some organization. Ideas tumble over one another without indicating a clear direction or intention. This one also has some nice monophonic analog synth (unless it is a theremin?) and gradually moves away from real-world sound sources to become purely electronic. One detects the eagerness and, at times, lack of focus frequent in early compositions, but Marchetti is a top-rate composer. Even his slightly flawed works are worth checking out.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture