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Paul Dolden: L’Ivresse de la Vitesse

From the album L’Ivresse de la Vitesse (1994) 

Take the symphony orchestra, pass it through the sieve of digital recording and signal processing, apply a heavy dose of mind-bending montage effects, and you have an approximation of L’Ivresse de la Vitesse  by Canadian electroacoustic composer Paul Dolden. In this work, Dolden uses computer audio technology as “a platform from which to launch or capture otherwise impossible musical performances,” creating a “virtual orchestra” through the layering and manipulation of hundreds of individually recorded tracks.

While the work of his peers such as Francis Dhomont and Robert Normandeau belongs clearly to the French musique acousmatique tradition stemming from the mid-century work of Schaeffer and Henry, Dolden’s musical style is harder to pin down. At certain moments one can hear hear a connection to early works of American “tape music” from the 1950s, such as Vladimir Ussachevsky's Fantasy in Space, in which flute recordings are used as the basis for surrealistic, deep-sea soundscapes. Much of Dolden’s music from the 1990s has an undeniable over-the-top sensibility that could be characterized as post-modern maximalism—pieces such as Revenge of the Repressed - Resonance #2 suggest John Zorn or even “plunderphonics” pioneer John Oswald)—while the earlier music represented on this album, Veils (1984-85) builds a gorgeous edifice of electric drones.


About L’Ivresse de la vitesse (Intoxication by Speed), Dolden writes:

The title is an allusion towards my current artistic intentions which involve the speeding up of an excess of musical ideas so that the composition and its materials exhaust themselves in the shortest time possible. The intoxicating aspect of speed is evoked by using primarily fast tempo markings and rapid changes in orchestration, density and dynamics. These elements can be particularly sped up to the point of exhaustion and intoxication in the digital audio studio which is limitless or virtual in its color and density possibilities.

Played 211 time(s).

September 07, 2012, 9:23pm

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