Music Reviews

Artist: Kassel Jaeger (@)
Title: Deltas
Format: 12"
Label: Mego (@)
Rated: *****
Appreciated Wien-based Mego label adds another interesting mockup into the shrine of sonic artifacts by issuing (on vynil) the fifth album by French-Swiss sound artist Kassel Jaeger, whose "scientific" approach to sound isn't well-rendered only by the biographical note about his membership to the well-known Groupe de Recherches Musicales, a sort of mystery school and collective of sound researchers, a rib of Groupe de Recherche de Musique Concrète, founded by Pierre Schaeffer and a number of other notorious composers, related to electroacoustic and concrete music, but also by audible validation like this one. The long-suite on Face A, "Campo Del Cielo", has named after a big meteor crater in Northern Argentina, whose found rocky fragments are the source for the processed sounds of this composition, commissioned by Espace Mendes France and performed at The Planetarium in Poitiers through an 8 channel system, an entrancing suite, which has been divided into two parts: the first one, Aerolite (meaning "flying stone"), sounds like a sort of cosmic field recording derived from sonic manipulations, while the second one, Baetylus, is based on electromagnetic capture of magnetic resonances. Both of them have been filled with bleeping waves which looks like coming from scientic instruments while detecting strange electromagnetic anomalies, but the recurring noise of breaths which blows over this brunch of sonic waves imparts an arcane atmosphere to the listening experience, which seems to follow both a bottom-up and a top-down process, whereas it reflects the ideal meeting within an "alien" stone between cosmos over our heads and ground below our feet. A similar bottom-up approach seems to distinguish the title-track, "Deltas", due to the fact it begins with a very low frequencies which has been covered by layers of sonic sediments of mid and high frequencies, till the moment when pure waveforms crumble into many granular noises which look like rivulets on the soil, left by a river in flood; sounds have a so physical consistency that they can be considered as elements of the description of geophysical phenomenon which has been described in details by Kassell throughout an appropriate description which looks like taken from a geology textbook: 'Whenever the volume of water is so great as to counteract and almost neutralize the force of tides and currents, and in all cases where the latter agents have not sufficient power to remove to a distance the whole of the sediment periodically brought down by rivers, deltas are produced.'. The third final track has been entirely built on unprocessed sounds of the legendary Coupigny Modular Synth, an authentic holy monolith for many electronic musicians (a lot of important musique concrete of GRM such as Berio and Parmegiani played on it), hosted in GRM studios, whose impressive chromatic possibilities have been exploited by Kassel to built an hypnotic and somewhat frightening track, named after the notorious wordplay by Duchamp (a guest + a host = a ghost, i.e. two word with the same etymology and opposite meaning whose combination could make sense...), which was even quoted by Chris & Cosey for a collaborative track with Boyd Rice as well as by many artists of different fields, due to the spine-chilling feeling, produced by the simultaneous playback of sounds, which have the same origin (Coupigny Modular Synth) and different "physical" properties. Very absorbing listening experience.