Boomkat Product Review:
Astonishing archival works by Eliane Radigue, originally released along with Vice-Versa as a double pack, and now available as standalone LP. Listening to Radigue's music is a transformative, humbling experience. Her singular sound is best described by Michel Chion as "infinitely discreet... next to which all other music seems to be tugging at one's sleeve for attention."
Working since the late '50s under the tutelage of Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry at RTF's Studio d'essai - the birthplace of musique concrète - Radigue created a body of work whose profound simplicity has only begun to be widely appreciated over the last decade or so. Preferring to work at night - once her children were asleep - her compositions were created using tones derived from an ARP 2500 synthesizer and manipulated on multiple tape machines, creating feedback loops and altering their pitch and duration to coax out quavering microtonal harmonics and ultrasound frequencies not usually perceived at their normal setting.
As practically anyone who knows her music will testify, there's really very little else out there that compares to the elemental tranquility and hallucinatory effect of her works. This album rescues three pieces from original tapes which have lined the walls of her flat in Paris for over 40 years: proposed for the 1970 Osaka Fair, 'Stress-Osaka' (1969) is beautiful and terrifying at once, sounding either like a 1000 strong squadron of B-52's heard from miles away, or a mouth-bound choir humming in unison, somehow subliminally joined by shrill gull-like hi-end repetition; the spectral beauty 'Usral' (1969) was employed for a kinetic sculpture by Marc Halpern, it's title "...a phonetic compression of ultrasounds slowed-down (ultra-sons ralentis in French)" reflecting the use of slowed-down Larsen effects from overlapping tapes to obtain her signature "progressive a-synchronized shifting"; the systolic suspension of 'Omnht' (1970) (one more night) is twenty minutes of slowly encroaching black bass mass and isolated, glassy highs, originally played from behind false dividing walls at a gallery instal and now leaving us for six.
An absolute masterpiece.