Various Artists

Sul: Dedicated to Chris Marker

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Most people have never seen the works of Chris Marker. An important French experimental filmmaker whose production compares in significance to his American colleague Stan Brakhage, Marker's art, especially his work on memory, has influenced artists from various fields. For this collection, experimental electronica and lowercase/microsound artists created pieces inspired by Marker's perception of "The Zone." Explained by Joao Nisa in the liner notes, "the Zone [is] a domain of deterritorialization and an authentic sphere of possibility -- to cross it is to make an internal journey through memory." Atau Tanaka, one of the participating artists, adds: "Marker is a sculptor of memory -- he can make us reminisce of things we have never lived." The seven pieces on this CD are not "cinema for the ear," they don't attempt to illustrate the filmmaker's images. Instead, they strive to stretch time and evoke through abstract electronics the ghostly residue of experiences that may not have taken place at all. Tanaka builds a slow, delicate flow of burbling glitches, much warmer and -- dare I say -- tender than the "Bondage" series he had been developing in 2000-2001. The highlights of this collection come from Eric La Casa and Vitriol; both pieces recreate evanescent, quasi-recognizable sonic environments (the echo of tunnels or subway stations, the beach). I.d.'s aural assault &"a!,+88"" feels out of place among such delicate, low-decibel works. It breaks a nicely established pace, making Oren Ambarchi's concluding "Soleil" all the more welcome. The Australian offers a good dreamy piece of treated guitar in the vein of his beautiful 2001 CD Suspension. Sul (Dedicated to Chris Marker) does not require prior knowledge of the filmmaker's work to be appreciated.