Stridulations (LP, Digital) is released tomorrow from French sound artist Pali Meursault on UK’s Discrepant label. The composer has been recording since 2002, though this is my introduction to his work. With one track per side the musique concrète rattle and tick of pour chaque solution il y as un probleme kicks things off. This collection of manipulated field recordings are layered by cicadas and electronics equally, not to mention the sweeping micro static that swirls throughout. If you can remember the scene in the classic 80’s cult flick Liquid Sky when the lead character eliminates her lovers you may have heard something kin. More a composition than an improvised work the narrative is tightly woven in this slithering balance between the open air of nature and the studio mix. Meursault employs electromagnetic instruments to develop his sound. The enhancement and manipulation of nature’s call is fascinating when removed from its context, especially when magnified in such a way. The process is explained some here:
“…a practice for deconstructing binary oppositions between nature and machine, bio- and anthropo-phony, and instead to explore the strange sonic affinities that exist between some animal voices and technological phenomena.”
Side one is most certainly both somewhat trance-inducing and an observance of a sound lab experiment. Hints remain on the flip side, les apparitions ne font rien a part etre, which is also over eighteen minutes long. For starters he begins with a course of microtones and passing wind that is abruptly upended with an inventive mix of insect chatter and bent electronics that cascade forward like any good combatant creature in a darkened cinema. As the title infers, never judge a book by its cover or expect the unexpected. And that is exactly what is delivered here. The artist shares that you are hearing: “Electromagnetic fields of prepared fluorescent tubes sonified with pick-up coils and processed though analog filtering.”
Switching seamlessly between the rather dadaist object manipulations and the instantaneous rushes of drone chaos that washes in and out. The ending has a metered, consistency with reverberations aplenty and the torque of small jack-to-source flares that add a sense of contorted wonder. His use of open line sine waves and echo compliments the bouncing ball effect, and harkens back to some of the work of Dan Burke (Illusion of Safety), with a similar rawness and rooted connection with his sources. A visionary and quite contemporary recording.