Daniel Menche

Vent

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One of Daniel Menche's best extra-musical features is his habit of disclosing as little information as possible in the booklet (no track titles, no details whatsoever) but choosing polysemous album titles, opening many doors to let the listener understand -- or fathom -- what the music is about. In this case, "vent" can point to one of the main sources of background noise in work offices and houses; thus, it would reveal the sound source. And yet, this explanation is only partial, at least if you believe your ears. A "vent" is also an opening at the earth's surface from which volcanic material is released. This definition could account for the telluric qualities of Menche's music, the low rumbles, the elemental, earthquake-like feel of his noise constructions (something that applies to many of his albums). In French, "vent" means "wind," another possible sound source (in the seventh track, in particular). From "wind" one can easily move to "breath" -- "souffle" in French -- and from there to "murmur," as in "heart murmur," what listeners hear at the very beginning of the album. The heartbeat, either real-sounding or simulated (in the third track), appears in many of these pieces, providing the sole rhythmic element, with the exception of a turntable needle stuck in the run-off groove of a record in the very last seconds of the last track (hinting at a biological/mechanical paradigm, perhaps). Everything else consists of buzzes, crackles, and various forms of air displacement. What matters more is Menche's artistry at organizing sounds into hypnotizing drones and slow-evolving compositions that build bridges between noise, sound art, and electro-acoustics. Vent is one of his very good albums.

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