Undirected: 1992- 2002

Christophe Charles

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Undirected: 1992- 2002 Review

by François Couture

In his extensive liner notes (eight booklet panels in fairly small type), Christophe Charles spends a lot of time explaining that his conception of chance operations goes back to John Cage, that the music in both "Next Point" and "Deposition" is the result of a long sequence of recording, performing, re-recording, restructuring, re-performing, etc., and that the resulting works stem from a two-headed process of computer-(un)controlled chance algorithms and sound/experience-aggregation through time. But that doesn't explain the beauty of the music. And "Next Point" and "Deposition" can be described as two extended works, respectively 21 and 46 minutes long, consisting of a widely variegated assortment of field recordings and treated sounds, presented as if they formed a narrative except that they don't (see chance operations mentioned above). But that doesn't explain the beauty of the music either. In Cage's music, for example in Roaratorio, one can appreciate the richness of the concept, the monk-like work that went into the preparation, and the chance arrangements of the results, but one still feels the hand of chance, the arbitrary. Here, the listener doesn't. The elements conspire to create the illusion of a narrative, an evolution. In every nook and cranny one can hear an acute artistic sense at work, chiseling sound meetings in order to keep the listener trapped inside a fascinating electro-acoustic world -- especially true of "Deposition," which technically allows you to leave and come back, except that it offers too much to the attention to justify the desire to step away from its force of attraction.

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