Much of ErikM's musical career from the late 90s onward has been involved with the free improvisation community, notably with collaborators such as Jérôme Noetinger, Dieb13 and Fennesz among many others. But for a while now, perhaps since his work with Luc Ferrari, he's been delving more and more into processed electro-acoustic music such as practiced in IRCAM with, in this listener's experience, inconsistent results.
On 'Fata Morgana', however, ErikM takes a somewhat different tack and it pays off wonderfully. Via a very complex, multi-layered procedure beginning with field recordings of animal (including insectile) life and cycling through several instrumental interpretations of same, the score is adapted, molded and ultimately presented as a seamless composition having been filtered through the composer, some electro-acousticians and Ensemble Dedalus. The latter adjusts its personnel according to the project at hand and here is represented by a sextet: Didier Aschour (guitar), Amélie Berson (flute), Thierry Madiot (trombone), Christian Pruvost (trumpet), Silvia Tarozzi (violin) and Deborah Walker (cello).
What the listener hears, if I'm not mistaken, is more acoustic in nature than not, i.e., the sounds generated by Ensemble Dedalus, although at times, for example in the closing piece, 'Nymphe', cricket-like sounds are prominent (I'm reluctant to shortchange these musician's extended technique abilities in potentially conjuring up such sounds on their own!). But it's a kind of collage, pieced together by ErikM from their integration, via listening on headphones while playing, of field recordings made in Australia and Tasmania. As mentioned above, the result is aurally seamless so one can readily sit back and simply wallow in and enjoy the evocative music. 'Microfaune', amidst a faint scrim of ultrahigh insectile sounds, offers low, burred drones, subaqueous sounds as though issuing from a probing manatee, all embedded in a dense, multi-textured soundscape of skittering strings, gentle guitar plucks and much more. 'Expedition Pass Reservoir' is much more fragmented, perhaps imitating the chirps of avian life, or small hopping insects, with isolated but rapid-fire pops and scrapes. The album proceeds from one imaginatively conceived landscape to the next, each different, each individually fascinating. As ever, the members of Dedalus are in exceptional form, breathing huge amounts of life into this unusual, challenging and rewarding music.
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