Francisco Meirino - Anthems For Unsuccessful Winners
TRAVAUX with ILIOS
CD, Entr'acte (UK) Full-color wallet sleeve, ltd 300
Francisco Meirino "Les oiseaux du lac Stymphale ».
ILIOS "L'Hydre de Lerne ».
Composed entirely from field recordings made at Rue Sainte-Beuve in Lausanne, Switzerland, between 2012 and 2013.
Intense, abstract and superbly detailed compositions crafted entirely from field recordings made in Lausanne, Switzerland, between 2012 and 2013. It would appear that both artists use the same, or at least similar, set of recordings to realise contrasting perspectives on the same set of circumstances. Of the two, Francisco Meirino's 'Les oiseaux du lac Stymphale' is much more upfront, favouring the louder dynamics and haphazard shock of builders hammers, saws and clanking machinery to birth a deeply resonant bass modulation at the core of his kinetic scene, eventually tailing off to quieter, scrabbling electronics before resuming the drone intensity at a different key. ILIOS' 'L'Hydre de Lerne' is, by turns, quieter and more subtle, creating the illusion of an everyday work site scene morphing with aleatoric magick into a swarming symphony of discordant, visceral drill tones and clangour. A must for anyone who enjoys taking their lunch by a building site (hand up here).
The title gives a clue. As a matter of fact, both artists utilized sounds and noises from the same construction site in Lausanne, Switzerland to create two contrastive tracks manifestly characterized by the individual composer's style.
Meirino's "Les Oiseaux Du Lac Stymphale" is rather in-your-face, privileging the direct "participation" of the workers in a number of acoustic close-ups revealing the classic bedlam of voices, crumbling materials and variegated clangors. The chemistry is improved by a broad compass of captivating frequencies, pulses and interferences: from huge subsonic bumps and hums to bizarre electronic tones and unorthodox sibilance. It's an intriguing experiment in something that could be defined "enhanced musique concrete", without ineffectual frills and special effects to perturb a listener merely inclined to focus on the whole's inbuilt musicality.
In "L'Hydre De Lerne" Ilios grants some space to the aforementioned operational echoes, which at first made us think about a slightly different assemblage of equivalent factors belonging to the preceding episode. Fear not, though: after 180 seconds or so, one of the "lead singers" of the entire album – a monotone buzzing drill – becomes the origin of a monolithic agglomeration of electrically charged "oms" progressively growing in quantity of layers, quivering intensity and volume as they depict a very gradual glissando (reinforced by a strong low frequency from the nineteenth minute), ultimately suggesting a majestic wall of heavily bowed strings. The piece ends abruptly as we have just reached the condition of intellectual standby necessary to be sublimated by the arresting force of that giant resonance.
Un split avec Francisco Meirino, 'Les oiseaux du lac Stymphale' et ILIOS, 'L'Hydre de Lerne'. Deux pièces composées à partir d'enregistrements de terrains réalisés Rue Sainte-Beuve à Lausanne, Suisse, entre 2012 et 2013 pendant une période de travaux. Nous sommes plongés dans une ambiance de chantier avec tous les bruits de perçeuse, foreuse et autre marteau piqueur qui vont avec, sans oublier les voix des travailleurs. Dans les deux pièces, le travail du compositeur semble ouvrir une brèche dans la matière sonore pour tenter de transcender la source.
Both [of these pieces] are concerned with the stuff of legend; L'Hydre de Lerne by ILIOS makes a connection the mythical Hydra killed by Heracles during his labours. ILIOS' approach initially seems utmost hands- off, allowing vague industrial recordings to continue, seemingly untouched, certainly unhurried, for lengthy periods of time. There are times when this drags a little too much, but gradually one senses the movement from dullness to deliberation, drones overlaid to produce a complex pitch focus.
This too is allowed to sit and move ever-so-slowly, and just when one's patience reaches its threshold, a deep bass drone appears, seemingly coalescing everything above into a harmony, although this could well be a sonic illusion. I spoke before of the benefits of allowing sounds time to speak; here, it seems too much, an indulgence even, and what it all has to do with the Lernaean Hydra is a little hard to say.
Francisco Meirino's Les oiseaux du lac Stymphale, evoking the mythical birds from Heracles' sixth labour, is wholeheartedly more convincing. In similar fashion to ILIOS, it opens in blank industrial field recordings, but in no time Meirino shoves into the foreground a huge electronic drone that just sits there, glow(er)ing like a red hot ember, the beating of its upper frequencies speeding and slowing. This immediately establishes a sense of competition between authentic and synthetic sounds, one which Meirino keeps taut for minutes on end, each element gradually upping the ante through increases in density and/or dynamic.
Both are abruptly cancelled out, whereupon they recommence in a lower- case environment, each almost trying to outdo the other in terms of restraint. However, conflict without capitul- ation or conciliation can only escalate, and what follows is a wonderfully slow crescendo where noise and pitch gradually accrete layers of material and momentum, resulting in a dazzling display of drama from what are, ultimately, very simple elements.
If this is what it was like coming up against the Stymphalian birds, serious kudos to Heracles.
I received this CD in the post today – It is housed in a card double-gate sleeve and has elegant packaging. I purchased this compact disc from Electric Knife Records – the cover will be embedded below. As the title suggests, this is a recording of two works based around the same construction site in Lausanne, Switzerland. If you want to purchase the CD, might I recommend you pop along to here.
The first track, Les oisaux du lac Stymphale composed by Francisco Meirino, is a 24 minute beast of complex arrangement. Quite in your face at times, this is a multi-tracked monster but one that still leaves room to breathe. There are moments when it becomes a very claustrophobic affair – with the sound of construction echoing around your stereo – but then it will then lull in to a conversation between two workmen as they go about their business.
I believe the composers took their influence from musique concrete – the raw field recording have been arranged to provide a “+” to the documentary side of the genre. I am in awe of what they have done and will take some inspiration from them. However, instead of the overuse of VST plugins, the composer, Meirino, has used the natural musicality of the workmen at work to great effect.
The second track, L’Hydre de Lerne by ILIOS, starts off as a quiet reflection after the storm of Les oiseaux du lac Stymphale with the quiet conversation of the workmen. This is swiftly transplanted to a Field Recording of low resonance that builds, through the use of layers, in to a wall of sound. Completely over powering in nature.
Just as we are getting accustomed to the power of L’Hydre de Lerne the track cuts off, leaving us abruptly. We are treated as the eternal city that witnessed a temporary make over – stoic in our response yet mindful there will be repeat visits.