Phase-shifts of ecclesiastics

Denis DufourChrysalideINA e 5007.
Duration: 29:13.

Denis Dufour is an early and important influence for the reviewer here. The first piece I heard by this magnificent composer was “5e Bocalise” from the first GRM CD; “Concert Imaginaire”. His piece prompted me to write a poem, which I’ll try to translate from the Swedish here:

At the Scout Skate’s Edge

When the circuit is closed
A Pica Pica loosens
From the amp

The graffiti of the Scout Skate’s Edge
Is pushed up against the horizons

Myself, I stand wind-bittered
In the phase-shifts of ecclesiastics

I stretch my pupils
Over the Scout Skate’s Edge
Looking down into the stellar
Gravitational stone crusher
Where the Milky Ways are ground down

Star by star

To an absence
Void of time or room

Beyond the horizon of events

Denis Dufour
(Photo: Silvère Beltrando. Adaption: I. L. Nordin)

I was very impressed by the blonks and shatters of Dufour’s “Fifth Glass Music”. Later I obtained the complete set – “Bocalises” - on a CD from Accord (202222). Another particularly interesting CD for a Swede like me was “Notre Besoin de Consolation est Impossible a Rassasier”, with texts by Stig Dagerman, who died by his own choice from the fumes of his car in a garage in Sweden in the 1950s, suffering from writer’s cramp. These CDs amply demonstrate the width of the art of Dufour.

Here he presents three pieces. The first – “
Trépidoptères” – seeks to visualize the process where a chrysalis is metamorphosed. Again we hear the sounds of glass objects, vibrating as on a table by a train track, or like glass of whiskey on the rocks in the hand of an old-timer with Parkinson’s disease. The tempo is kept up while the texture of the sounds move over into a grinding process, which in its older version inspired my poem above. The process, as in an industrial setting, is keeping on. There is something merciless in this music, like the intentions in the mind of a tank operator in a full-fledged war – a raw force, with no considerations. Another analogy would be the flow of lava down a volcano in Hawaii, with all the shifting events taking place on the surface as the heavy mass flows down into the sea. It all makes for a very interesting and pleasurable listening.

Denis Dufour
(Photo: Silvère Beltrando. Adaption: I. L. Nordin)

The second piece – “Mues du son” – draws heavily on “Bocalises” too, in a more selectively violent and spectacular way, bringing real hallelujah distortions up front, having me gasp for air and a Coca-Cola! I love this stuff! It’s humorous and skilled, heavy and fat, and the glass character of the sounds make the light radiate blindingly through the flying pieces of shattered crystal! The piece that caught my attention the first time I heard Dufour – “5e Bocalise” – is even incorporated here, in it’s original form!

Piece no. three - “
Bille Bleue” – keeps the glass vibrating and the porcelain rocking, and apparently there is no end to all the variations on this theme – with this material – that Denis Dufour can make happen! This is electroacoustic art at its very best!