ANTOINE CHESSEX – Dust

Cave 12

When it comes to the impact of a statement, I’m all for conciseness. This piece by Antoine Chessex, which lasts 29 minutes, is a perfect specimen of how an essential concept can be entirely developed across a short time span if lucidity is there from the beginning. The Swiss artist is better known for his noisier improvisational work (in that field, he belongs among my recent favourites); however, Dust is another kind of beast, a veritable composition for three violins (Elfa Rún Kristinsdóttir, Ekkehard Windrich, Steffen Tast) plus tape and electronics (Valerio Tricoli). On a superficial listen, the images that linger in the mind are those of string clusters and variously distributed glissandos depicting something halfway through the slow spreading of a toxic gas and the rotary motion of a falling meteorite. But with headphones on, one realizes that there’s more, and that “more” largely depends on Tricoli’s machines, which generate bottomless subsonics and inexpressible amassments of sonic matters from different dimensions. Although the electronic treatments modify the voices of the violins quite radically at various times, the overall feel is that of a Ligeti-esque suspension culminating in progressively stronger jarring heaps replete with wavering high pitches.

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