Music Reviews

Artist: Hervé Perez
Title: Imploding Stars
Format: CD + Download
Label: Focused Silence
Hervé Perez works in sound design and recording, and also plays the soprano sax. For “Imploding Stars” he’s turned these two facets towards each other, taking a series of impulsive and experimental sax recordings and twisting and bending them, both with live processing and post production, into a collection of avantgarde electro-acoustic works. In various manners, these thoroughly disassemble the stereotype of saxophone music and use the shattered pieces to build a variety of soundscapes, many of which are obtuse and rather pointy.

Opener “Deconstruct Variable” sounds relatively normal in comparison to what follows, with a more simple laying and stuttering approach, but it’s only a taste of what’s to come as the tones and melodic elements devolve into often chaotic arrangements. “Shipping News” transforms the saxophone from a musical instrument into a sound effects device (most obviously an imitation foghorn), while pieces like “Waiting For Space To Contract”, which hinges on a series of alien-sounding wave effects, or the sparse and scratchy “Peculiar Particles”, are so heavily processed that the original instrument is unrecognisable.

“Secrets Whispered Sometimes Spread” is notable, a deep and breathy affair that jumps between slow and fast playing in a catch-me-if-you-can manner. “Landscape In The Mist” is another highlight, a somewhat calmer affair (in relative terms) that feels like a deliberate soother after some of the more difficult moments.

There’s a palindromic conceit visible in the song titles- “Deconstruct Variable” at the front, “Variable Construction” at the end, “Waiting For Space To Contract” the fifth track from the start, “Waiting For Space To Expand” the fifth track from the end and so on, but it’s not a concept that reaches the listeners’ ears in any strongly discernable fashion.

At 78 minutes, and built from a relatively small palette of sources and ideas, it’s quite an indulgent release that could perhaps have benefitted from some tripping or moderation- a situation perhaps explained by the catalogue number PEREZ0001 that implies a self-release. But there’s some fascinating and sometimes challenging audio nuggets here that are definitely worth checking out if you like your soundscaping scratchy and oblique.

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