LIONEL MARCHETTI – Chasser (Première Étude Naturelle) + Chasser (Le Piège)

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Lionel Marchetti: conception, composition, realization, sound recording, instrumentarium (with appearances by Olivier Capparos, Bruno Roche, William Pellier, Frédéric Malenfer, Yôko Higashi, Hélène Bettencourt, Adèle Marchetti)

In a short email conversation with the composer, consequent to my review of another fine transcription of his art called Madame Morte, a pair of sentences by Lionel Marchetti stuck in my mind as we were talking about the music we’re analyzing today. One said “Chasser is madame life”; the second was a plain yet quite walloping “it’s important”. Combine these basic concepts, and the result is akin to declaring that “life is important”. In truth, nothing is healthier than the skilled seaming of inherent narratives by a wise beholder of the far side of realness to make us ponder about the extent of the being, as modest as it may be. Let’s not forget that Marchetti was the first who had the balls to snatch musique concrete from the jaws of academy, thus rendering it an explicit physical process. Evocative, or just enigmatic, the incidents that delineate these two outings – released separately but to be considered as a single work – are spectacularly effective in placing us in a rather uncomfortable zone. In that place – as every level-headed person can attest – our cognitive state flirts with both beatitude and concern, recognizing familiar accents while remaining frightened by beastly utterances, or sudden detonations. The painstaking procedure applied for cutting and pasting pluralities of fragments and electronic enhancements inside a momentous composition is nearly visible; there’s nary a moment of non-transmission of values having to do with the core of sensation. Sense of worried anticipation and innermost strain signal a path to an improved discernment, not solely in the sonic meaning of the term.

You could try and probe the acoustic depths of Premiere Étude Naturelle to define it as the most “open” chapter as far as the transparency of the occurrences is concerned. Perhaps call it the “innocent” half of the opus, replete as it is with echoes from the nature, animals, children at play, interspersed with crystal-clear piano chords. There’s anguish in abundant doses, too: a woman’s recurrent sigh, someone screaming in ungodly fashion, frequencies warped to the point of becoming a psychoneurotic weapon, poetry recited with different levels of stress upon perpetually mutating backgrounds. All of the above can translate into a sickening experience if individuating the vital links beyond a misrepresentation of normalcy is perceived as ignominy. On the contrary, this is a breathtaking voyage: being born implies the acceptance of good and – especially – bad in their stochastic sequence, accompanying the miserable trip towards an eternity where our role as minuscule specks in an everlasting murmur will sanction the end of a “career” as purported flag-bearers of universal evolution. If the murmur is inclined to absorb the polluters, that is.

Le Piège – though partially sharing themes and sources – is slightly more ambitious, requiring concentration and patience (and – similarly to its companion piece – a set of high-quality headphones, otherwise fundamental details will be certainly missed). It revolves, for its large part, around sonorities that recall inauspicious atmospheric conditions in an indeterminable wilderness. Two friends speak, whisper and laugh out loud during what sounds as a hunting expedition, even imitating a howling wolf along the way. Ample spaces, almighty winds, resounding gunshots, steps in the snow and/or mud, remote reverberations halfway through faraway trains and a heavily filtered pressure of some kind, a marvelously quietening interlude with piano, crickets and wolves, a soprano intoning devotional melismas amidst trumpet-like squeals. Unusual apparitions (generated in the studio) and shortwave radios escort the raw matter of the original field recordings; the ultimate outcome coincides with the urge of closing the eyes and getting lost in the amniotic liquid of a soul-enriching aural miscellany: the life. Which is important. Only for ourselves, perchance, but still needing to be dragged onwards. Apparently for a reason.

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