Saturday, March 17, 2012

Music Review: Roxanne Turcotte - Desordres

Roxanne Turcotte is an electronic composer/artist based in Montreal. She began her career as a member of rock and jazz groups, but slowly gravitated towards electroacoustic music. The term is a wide-ranging umbrella for a number of styles, including tape music, electronic music, musique concrete, and computer music. As she began to explore this direction deeper, Roxanne became involved in creating music for multimedia projects.

She has been involved with the preeminent Canadian electroacoustic label Empreintes DIGITALes since 1994, when they released her first CD in the genre, titled Amore. Her style has been called “Cinema for the ear,” and the description certainly is applicable to the music contained on the new Desordres collection. The forward-thinking Empreintes DIGITALes label have been releasing music on the DVD-Audio format since 2005, and that is how Desordres is available. It is a great choice for an artist such as Roxanne, as the disc holds over 114 minutes of music, and also contains some great visuals and downloads.

Desordres opens with the 17:38, six-part “Attractions.” This works as a fine introduction to the artist. The piece is a series of miniatures, composed as part of a sound and light installation which appeared in 2005.

The centerpiece of the set follows, the 11-part, 40:47 tour-de-force titled “Musee sonore.” I think Roxanne’s own words work best in describing this adventurous piece; “11 sonic scripts, where ambient sounds, gadget sounds, and nature sounds have a story to tell. Clinks, creaks, knocks, shakes, whistles, squeals, mechanisms, electrifying material, cogs, tinkles - they all have a life of their own.”

A series of four- to five-minute songs follow these lengthy pieces, but Roxanne has not yet finished with the extended compositions. “Espace vitale” is possibly the most intriguing recording on the disc. For one thing, it is a very collaborative effort. The composition was written by Roxanne, with words written and sung by Elise Turcotte, plus the additional vocals of Laure Fugere. There is also a marvelous acoustic piano portion, which is played by Christian Parent.

The electroacoustic music of Roxanne Turcotte is an amazing thing to hear. Her utilization of synthesized music and sound collage is incredibly creative, and brings a cinematic quality to the compositions. It is little wonder that she also creates and performs music for television, cinema, radio, the stage, the Internet, and circus arts, in addition to her sound, music, and visual installations. Desordres is a great way to get to know this ground-breaking musician, and one place to find it is at the Empreintes DIGITALes site.

Article first published as Music Review: Roxanne Turcotte - Desordres on Blogcritics