Rose Des Vents was commissioned in 1981 by the French Government (unlike most of the records you listen to), who wanted Pierre Mariétan to document the sound-life of towns near Paris. He did this, but he also applied plenty of treatments, additional instrumentation and serialist composition to the end result, making for some rather special electroacoustics. Double LP reissue on Mana.
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Described by Clint as “the most annoying album of all time”, I’ve assigned myself to this one in the name of counterpoint. Full disclosure: he was concentrating very hard and I think this record of sonic geography took him too far away from our Holbeck office and too far into French suburbia. Understanding what Pierre Mariétan does will help, as this record strikes me as not a musical record, nor a non-musical one, but a wonderful marriage of the two.
‘Rose Des Vents’ was commissioned by the French government as an attempt to create a musical document of France, in particular its “urban landscapes”, essentially mapping out the country through the way it sounded. It is a huge, nebulous undertaking, in that sense -- attempting to describe, compare and demarcate the regions through sound must have taken Mariétan some doing, but Mana’s release of this work shows a beautiful record of sweet musical motifs, hissing suburban landscapes, everyday conversations and mundane noise bustle.
Many of these sounds are best left to the ears than to descriptions on the page, but perhaps the most wonderful thing about this record is how Mariétan makes you jump -- certain motifs arrive within the near-silent buzz of a day, where grass is being mowed or birds are chirping. It’s as if his field recordings, made for mapping, have their own contours, with certain persons, machines and environments talking louder than others. With compositional elements that feel almost like theme music for these landscapes, he creates a record that feels as much a cartoonish educational tool as it does a document of the spaces that host real life. One of the most interesting things I've heard this year.
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- Rose Des Vents by Pierre Mariétan
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