Contrée by Régis Renouard Larivière


Régis Renouard Larivière | Contrée
Recollection/Editions Mego (LP/DL)

A former teacher of electro-acoustic music at CFMI in Poitiers (1990-99) this is only Régis Renouard Larivière‘s second full-length recording, and his previous, Futaie/Tchernoziom garnered him the Ars Electronica Prize in 1996 and was released in 2000. The album, full of quizzical musique concrète abstractions, is dedicated to Philippe Mion and attempts to conceptually capture the concept of “overcoming time: whether it be successive, additional, enumerative, or repetitive“.

On the title track of Contrée Larivière offers up a variety of tiny tangled sound effects that are highly textural and at close range. Over twenty minutes these cryptic actions, like the movements in a Swiss watch thrown askew, are tinkered with while in operation. There’s something refreshing, and also old-fashioned about these metallic sounds, it’s physical, and about gadgetry – something we are allowing to be lost to our virtual/digital age. The composer strives for an animated canvas that displays multilayered processes, motions, buzz and gyrations. This has some in common with the vibration of sprockets that somehow still hold wooden roller-coasters together- just listen, you can hear the clicks that generate momentum. The composite fidgeting keeps a generous sense of active listening intact.

On Allégeance volatile (composed in 2002) there’s a continuation of the vibrant balance between micro and surface noises that permeate into Larivière‘s eccentric sound sculpting. Tweets and clicks are met with bloated blares and rat-a-tat-tat, like a pachinko board on steroids. The p/r said something about “non-sound” but I guarantee this is all about showcasing evocative sound, found or otherwise. The composition reminds me as if they are outtakes of some of the best kitschy lounge music of the 50s and 60s. It’s like taking apart various household items and using them as prepared instruments. Incredibly pert and visceral in its use of unknown sources.

Esquive pops open with a host of glitchy movements like losing air from a helium balloon while simultaneously rummaging through a tin shed with your feet. This is immensely wry but not at all goofy. As the pace quickens the lil’ rubberized blurts drop like percussion and squiggle to the corners. As things dissipate into half-blown tugboat style toots that reference silent cinema the piece fades away with a big sweet wink.



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