Boomkat Product Review:
A brand new release on the great Room40 label! ‘Mise en Scene’ is the latest work from Australian sound designer Lloyd Barrett. For some time now he has been piecing together works of musique concrete and dense ambience, this album however is a different beast entirely. In composing ‘Mise en Scene’, Barrett decided he would draw on the world of filmic sound, and specifically the writings of theorist Michel Chion. In his text ‘Audio Vision’ Chion describes how sound works in film and how people HEAR sound when sat in front of a screen, he writes "There is no auditory container for sounds... music communicates with all times and all spaces of a film, even as it leaves them to their separate and distinct existences". An interesting starting point for an album I think, and Barrett’s concrete experiments serve his lofty ideas quite perfectly. Comparable most obviously to the GRM experiments of the 50s and onwards (Pierre Schaeffer, Luc Ferrari Bernard Parmigianni et al), Barrett also manages to keep the sound focused rather than going off into pure abstract experimentalism. This supports his subject matter, and the resulting sound is cinematic enough to keep you guessing and to hold your attention. The opening track ‘Exhale’ is a cheeky piano piece giving no indication of the cinematic density to come, but as ‘Sentinal’ begins, with rumbles and deep orchestral drones you are promptly catapulted into Barrett’s world. If Deaf Center made musique concrete, I imagine it would sound something like this – absolutely breathtaking.