Jean-Francois Laporte - Soundmatters (CD 23five Incorporated)

The natural sounds of the wind become a medium to be worked with. We're immediately brought into Laporte's world where electro-acoustic work is inspired by this natural spark. It's presented once and that's all you need. Context. 




The horns (?) of 'Dans le Ventre du Dragon' occupy the space of an empty cargo hull. Vast in scope and dimension, the characteristics of the instruments used come through. From the clean tone to the rasp. Small to loud and proud, they fill the space.

There is space for vibrations to exist and work off each other, but there also explored is the use of extended and changing tones, as in 'Mantra.' A 26 minute recording of a cooling compressor for a skating rink. Processing was done through the object itself - the PVS tubes filtered the high frequencies. Rather than impose a sound, the sound come from the object itself being observed.

It's an acceptance of what is present and what is suggested rather than what is planned. Extensive work is done within the process. Working, reworking, digging deeper into the medium and it's natural sound. The combination of man made technology as a means of recording and investigating the object.

There are many means of working. Pure recording; processing during recording, processing afterwards. All things are valid.

Like mathematics, it isn't a truth. It's merely a truth within the limitations of the language constructed by us so our minds can get a grip on it. ie.: a model of the object is not the object itself. This exploration of one possibility -recording devices and manipulation of sound- is a methodology worth working with because it's limitless. There are many truths. Pick your own.

And that's what makes the album intuitively engaging. Laporte has gone deeper with his own working methods. Pushing through further. He's turned it around for us to see a model of the other side.

The dynamics matter as an element of comparative sounds. The physical restraints of the cd format -namely the frequency range they stretch to - become an added dimension to the dynamics of the recordings after the fact. Maybe LaPorte worked with this in mind? I don't know, but if placement, range and contrasting  nature of each sound is intrinsic to the compositions then it's fair to assume the medium of presentation is too. Even if as an after-thought. 

The percussive thrum and light scrape of the final section,  'PlÚntitude du Vide', builds over a long period into a Ligeti style orchestral swell that turns to a scree, pushing harder and coarser until that damn machine sound runs out of breath. The final few seconds give away what it is - a sax. The human. It's all about the human and our perspective  of how we see things. Those final few seconds underpin the very nature of the album. Marvellous!

The recordings were made between 1997-2005 and represent his first available album, although there was a mini-cd of 'Mantra' released by Metamkine in 2000. His work is primarily aimed at festivals and competitions. Hearing his work in situ is probably the best place to hear it (depending on the event) but hearing the sounds in isolation from their source and context is another -and equally rewarding- experience. And it's quite an experience.

Switch on your sub-bass speaker and hi-end tweeters.

The album comes in a jewel case with slipcase and extensive sleeve notes by Laporte himself. HM