ÆLAB – Riding

Dragon’s Eye

Stéphane Claude’s moniker and a few parts of this CD – where sine waves occupy the large part of the audio spectrum – instantly connect the mind with Eleh, the semi-anonymous peddler of cheap Eliane Radigue miniature replicas hyped by the reviewing herds until yesterday (even yours truly had sounded tentatively optimistic in regard to a previous release of the arcane manipulator, changing idea shortly thereafter; now, finally, some crack in the ice of vacuity starts to appear). But Claude’s project – which includes multimedia artist Gisèle Trudel as a permanent collaborator, with the irregular participation of other donors – started in 1996. Though not world-shattering as far as the overall sonority is concerned, the sonic product does possess a degree of authenticity and is (mostly) pleasing as acoustic complement. I won’t annoy the readers by repeating the circumstances which brought to the completion of Riding (check the label’s website). The basic constituents include field recordings – washing sea waters especially, but not solely – plus the above mentioned “binaural beating sine waves” (the best sound one can enjoy in a 39-minute arc, even if certain processed ambiences also generate stimulating effects on the auricular membranes) and the lone disconcerting ingredient, namely sequences of synthetic tones that seem to have been stolen from Ryuichi Sakamoto’s soundtrack of Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence and subjected to a drastic reduction of the sample rate. If you mix the whole and let it go, say, three times in a row at late evening the results will be easily endurable and, intermittently, nerve-cuddling.

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