Boomkat Product Review:
New Age conduit Ariel Kalma’s mid-late ‘70s GRM recordings are set to blow a lot of minds with this deep dive compiled by current GRM audio restoration engineer and Transversales proprietor, Jonathan Fitoussi. Properly unnerving, beautiful proto-Lynchian vibes on this one.
Sourced from a recently excavated box of tapes recorded during late night recording sessions in the GRM’s Studio 116 - the same concrète laboratory used in Bernard Parmegiani and Luc Ferrari masterpieces - this LP delves into some of Kalma’s earliest recordings to provide an enchanting listen and reveal the groundwork that came long before his relatively recent collaborations with mutual, explorative souls Sarah Davachi and Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe.
The set owes a great debt of gratitude to Kalma’s pal, Jacques Darnis, who was coincidentally the GRM’s recording engineer during the ‘70s. Jacques employed his mate as assistant recording engineer, and would give Kalma a heads-up if the likes of Parmegiani has cancelled their evening booking at the studio, giving him the opportunity to record afterhours in what was one of the greatest facilities in the world at the time. Armed with food, drink and his sax, Kalma would hop in his car, bez over to the studio, and evidently make sterling use of these night time sessions.
Opening with sustained sax looped into etheric infinity on ‘Paris Flight’, the album supplies five distinct but interrelated lines of Kalma’s subconscious thought transmuted into sound. ‘Le soleil au couchant’ finds him layering vocals recorded in the crypt of the Senanque monastery into a shimmering raga-like hymnal, while the LP’s central highlight ‘Voyage au centre de la tête sees Kalma’s companion Paule Salomon whispering, heavy-lidded, over burbling drum machine pulse that turns into a psychedelic wormhole, and the B-side’s couplet of ‘Ballade sure le lac’ and ‘Japanese Dream’ find him gently spiral into the low ends of a Bosendorfer grand piano, then layer the keys with sax in most sublime, effortless style, again making thorough use of the studio’s high end microphones and tape machines.