Martin Tétreault

Studio, Analogique, Numérique

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For their second collaboration, experimental turntablists Martin Tétreault and Otomo Yoshihide have put together an unusual triptych: three 3" CDs packaged in a sturdy cardboard box of nine-by-nine-by-two centimeters. The total duration is of a regular full-length album, a little under 61 minutes. The first disc (the "studio" disc) presents four improvised duets. Both musicians play turntables and electronics, recorded direct to digital audio tape (DAT). While their previous album, 21 Situations (1999, also on Ambiances Magnétiques), focused on short pieces using predetermined LPs (chosen following specific themes), here they let loose in slightly longer and more abstract pieces. "Duo 2" is downright harsh, something listeners don't hear much anymore coming from Yoshihide. "Duo 4" is based on motor hums and quiet drones. The second mini-CD, titled Analogique, is comprised of five short remixes of the material on the first disc by Tétreault, using reel-to-reel tape recorders. The pieces are warm, fuzzy, and very strange. "Analogique 2" features a quasi-melodic leitmotif that becomes quite haunting. For the third disc (Numérique), Yoshihide has prepared a 20-minute "digital" remix. Sharper, it keeps mostly to turntable motor and needle sounds (grinding, humming, the explosion of a tone arm smashed into the platter-less table), painting a gritty landscape. The least pleasurable part of this album, it nevertheless succeeds in reinventing the duo's music and shows Yoshihide's tremendous talent for building a piece of sound art. This album ranks among Tétreault's more difficult works, but its rewards -- enhanced by the original packaging -- compensate the effort it asks from the listener.

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