TOUCHING EXTREMES (DECEMBER 2008)

This disc presents the aural memories of a site-specific sound installation prepared by French soundscapers Yannick Dauby, Christophe Havard and Hughes Germain at Passerelle, Brest (France). The artists obtained what's heard on the CD exclusively from the channeling of the sounds coming from within the walls of the building that contained the construction, capturing them via big transducers and diffusing the result through the main exhibition space. A strange, flowery description of the mechanical means utilized is available at the label's website; it's not completely comprehensible, but sufficient to understand how a complex system of resonators was fundamental in setting the above mentioned walls as the core of a design where the harmonic qualities of the inherent vibration are exalted and enhanced. The musical value of this material is on a par with the best offers in the genre and - unquestionably - with the consistency of and/OAR's output. Ominous echoes and dull drones are easily the most engrossing feature of the disc, their emergence even more enigmatic in the large hall's environment which the masterful recording represents with excellent fidelity. Purring emissions arise from nowhere, extemporaneous presences scarred by rare metallic clangors whose staying power is minimal, soon swallowed by an overall muffled hush that nevertheless contains germs of vital activity. Towards the conclusion we perceive the presence of visitors, the album ending nicely with a baby's stuttering voice amidst the sonic ghosts. One loves to believe that it's an expression of wonder, and that this kind of experience will be burned in the infant's brain forever.

(Massimo Ricci)