Eliane Radigue - Vice Versa etc... and Triptych (CDs Important)
Eliane Radigue is someone whose importance has perhaps been understated by the lack of easily available recordings. There seems to be have been some sort of effort to start to put this right over the last few years and Important Records are at the forefront of this with these two releases from 2009 and another one (Transamorem) released last year. These combined with the extensive schedule of performances of her work in London last June should surely put Eliane’s work far higher up (where it belongs) in people’s perception.
The first CD Vice Versa contains pieces from 1970 the last year in which Eliane worked with source material derived from tape recorder feedback. Vice Versa etc was originally conceived as an installation piece and is probably the most minimal piece that Eliane has composed.
Considering the source material is nothing more than feedback from two tape recorders it’s an incredibly rich and complex sounding drone work which has overtones and high pitched harmonics and subtle pulsations adding to the overall listening experience. The release comes as 2 CDs. One forwards, one backwards with four tracks per disc, each track being the piece running at a different speed. You can listen to the Cds separately or for an even more intense listening experience listen to them both simultaneously. Having them both playing at the same time gives even more variety as you never get them starting exactly together so you end up with multiple variations of the pieces each time you listen.
By the time we get to Triptych Eliane has begun working with the ARP 2500 synth which is what people associate her with. Triptych itself was composed after a three year silence from Eliane during which she explored Tibetan Buddhism.
Triptych itself draws its inspiration from “the spirit of the fundamental elements,” water, air, fire and earth. The pieces themselves are meditative and subtle perhaps reflecting the influence that Tibetan Buddhism was having in her life. Again you could describe them as drone based works. Eliane creates a base sound/tone on the ARP 2500 and from there makes small adjustments to filters as the track goes along, allowing the track to develop over time but not change so radically that you lose sight of the starting point. All three of the pieces here seem to have this as their basis though the first part of these three begins with what sounds like bursts of white noise that after a while then give way and allow the track to begin in the same format as its two companion pieces.
Overall another stunning archival release of Eliane’s work from Important records. I hope they have plenty more planned. DB