ROBERT HAMPSON – Signaux

Editions Mego

Robert Hampson: analogue electronics system

Companion LP – though not directly related – of Suspended Cadences, Signaux represents an aural happening that is both easily dismissable (for certain categories – more about that later) and problematic to diagram. Its sole origins are guitar-less analogue electronics, in this case utilized for an 8-channel diffusion in a French planetarium (“Signaux I”) and a wholly new studio composition (“Signaux II”).

Thus, why “ease” and “problem”? The reason is pretty transparent. Given the type of vibrancy – fundamentally deriving from the superimpositions of interwreathed figurations of codes, tones and, er, signals – it is not difficult for a sciolistic observer to stick some “bleep-and-peep” line within an “analysis” suggesting farfetched equivalences with the latecomers of the current voguish scenes. This reductive view is not rooted in the kernel of the music in question, as rich in information and dimensionality as one could wish, but in the personal reluctance to become predisposed to an organic yet well-structured integrality. Basically, these materials are unsuitable to the sort of unsurprising symmetricalness demanded by many “experts” to hold themselves content with a recording. That is the point in time in which all kinds of names and good-for-nothing comparisons are brought out, without even attempting to penetrate the heart and soul of the transonic cloth.

On the other hand, barring a few transitional events, there is no way to retain but a nebulous abstraction of how these phenomena sound like. The orientation here, in analogous circumstances, is towards the reception of the work as a session of sensorial repercussions (reference intended) only accomplishable through the use of selected groupings of frequencies. Hampson’s architectural deftness warrants an organization that travels on the far side of shopworn similitudes and absentminded listens. And yet, rather unbelievably, after having spent at least six hours with this record over the course of different days, settings and moods I still haven’t put my finger on an actual explanation of its efficacy. Hard to set forth in bare words, then – but a superb journey notwithstanding.

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