Pierre-André Arcand

Transfuge + Transfuge A/V

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This two-CD set illustrates Pierre-André Arcand's transition from the analog to the digital world. He remains faithful to his accretionary sound loops, twisted soundscapes, and odd sound poetry, only this time they are operated by a computer. The numerical macchina ricordi allows him real-time manipulation of stacked loops of sonic matter. In fact, technical details aside, the music doesn't sound that different from other experimental electronica artists using Max/MSP patches. Disc one presents four works. "DJ_PA" pairs the looping system with his "sound book" (writing with a microphone on a metal box) and his obscure vocals. The sounds are definitely clearer and better separated than on previous albums, and in general the music is more listener-friendly (bearing in mind that it remains highly challenging). "M2" is a computer piece derived from a no-input chain, interesting but more abstract. "Eres+22" and "Eres+23" pursue a series of sound art compositions started in the 1980s. Arcand's world is constantly strange, Dadaist, and cross-referential. Disc two proves it once more. This one is a DVD (also readable as a video disc and a CD-ROM) containing 45 minutes of video footage generated during live performances. The computer loops and transforms the video input the same way it does the audio. The images include abstract light arrangements, Internet-related footage, and gay porn. Surprisingly, the osmosis between audio and video is a lot less conclusive than what is found in Eltractor's performances or in Bob Ostertag's later works. Transfuge + Transfuge A/V denotes a worthy effort from Arcand to contemporize his aesthetic, but it is only half convincing.