Sound artist Pali Meursault has developed a unique method of composition. He makes field recordings of animals, then sets them in dialog with a series of fluorescent light tubes that he has ‘sonified’. This is done in keeping with an overarching aesthetic principle of ‘deconstructing binary oppositions between nature and machine, bio- and anthropo-phony’. Groovy. It’s a cool sound, too. Stridulations is out via Discrepant (Pierre Bastien, Meridian Brothers).
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Rich in concept and context, ‘Stridulations’ is the kind of record that will make precisely zero sense to anyone who hasn’t read up on it, but speaks with absolute clarity to those that have. Recorded, structured and realised by sound artist Pali Meursault, this electroacoustic venture sees him sourcing conversations and communications made between animals in rural areas of France, Japan and a spread of South America. It is an immense listening exercise, especially to those hearing it through headphones: the concentration of buzzes, chirps and species-specific noises is levelled against the ‘sonification’ of fluorescent tubes which he set up for the animals to converse with.
Noisy, blustery and deeply unsettling, the record’s dynamics rely on each possible reaction to the situation, the level and business of the noises intensifying and scarpering haphazardly. The process, described as ‘blind’ listening, frees the listener of expectations. These experiments give listeners a chance to re-evaluate the autonomy, intention and activity of animals, seeing the sounds they make as both musical landscapes and purpose-oriented dialogue. This is sound science; don't ask me to help you understand it, but it's fascinating.
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