Boomkat Product Review:
Stunning Alga Marghen issue of two previously unreleased masterworks by Eliane Radigue recorded at Pierre Henry's studio between 1967-68. At this time she was working for Henry at his studio, given the enviable task of organising his vast sound library according to different criteria for use in his future compositions and also helping edit his masterpiece 'L'Apocalypse de Jean'. During downtime from work she had access to an unrivaled array of equipment and created these two compositions. She clearly relishes her situation in the 11 minute minimalist tract of 'Jouet Electronique' (1967) or 'Feedback on magnetic tape'. Using two Studer and two Tolana reel tape machines she would set one to record another and manipulate the discrepancies of phasing feedback loops, or "larsens" with delicate, fine-tuned pitching, "slightly caressing certain potentiometers" to elicit a range of low pulsations and very high pitched sounds as though she were playing a rather unwieldy instrument. The results are ethereal and often alien, yet conducted with an uncannily restrained and human sleight of hand. Perhaps yet more visceral is 'Elemental I' (1968) or 'Feedback of natural sounds on magnetic tape' comprising four movements associated with the four basic elements: water, fire, air and earth. Thanks to her former employer, the artist, Arman, she now had a small, portable Stella Vox which she used to record sounds in open air during walks around her home in Nice, capturing the sea, the wind, the rain and fire to form a small sound library. The sources in each section are discernable, but transformed into breathtaking abstractions at her home studio. Together with the sleeve featuring excerpts from Eliane in conversation and the portrait photo from Arman, this is a truly remarkable document which requires your immediate attention. Very highly recommended.