Perennially bewildering polymath Akira Rabelais unveils the most impressive durational work of his career thus far with a 4 hour smudge of classical works by the musical zeitgeist of the late 19th and early 20th century Belle Époque. It’s a highly enigmatic erosion x sublimation of the familiar in a way that's by now etched into modern canon thanks to works by The Caretaker, but Rabelais has been weaving his own uncanny shroud of infidelity over our collective memory for over two decades now, with this extended set somehow managing to play like a homage to the mixtape, to the novel, to French pre-war culture and to the modern malaise all at once. Deeply immersive, stunning work that’s essential listening if yr into works by The Caretaker x William Basinski.
The focus of the set covers the time period and culture around Proust’s 'À la recherche du temps perdu’ novels, and attempts to unravel his fascination with the illusive qualities of memory - most famously identified in his notion of “Proust’s madelaines”, outlined in the eponymous novels that inspired this release. Taking fifty-one works by Bartók, Bellini, Berg, Brahms, Caccini, Chausson, Chopin, Debussy, Delibes, Donizetti, Franck, Hahn, Jungmann, Lully, Ravel, Saint-Saëns, Satie, Schoenberg, Schubert, Schumann, Scriabin, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Verdi, Wagner, and Weber, Rabelais uses his Argeïphontes Lyre software, as well as specially commissioned new recordings (Bartók's String Quartet No. 2 was recorded specifically for this album at half speed with minimal dynamics) to play with our perception of time via a prism of distortions and subliminal refractions.
In an attempt to breathe in the same creative air as the French author, Rabelais’ distils the creative potential of sound in relation to our cultural fabric; everyone knows these pieces, despite precious few of us having lived in Paris in the 1920s. They're the background sound and building blocks of our culture, from cinema to advertising, but secreted in the music’s play of decaying reverbs, you get an uneasy sense of some unknown spectre floating thru the mists of time.
Stunning, multidimensional work from a master of the artform.