Motion - Émotion

François Bayle

(Photo: Wolgang Winkler)

François BayleMotion-ÉmotionINA e 5009.
Magison CYCLE BAYLE 11
Duration: 22:10.

This is one of the shortest CDs in INA’s compact compacts series, but don’t let that serve as a negative indication; this is one of the most rewarding pieces to listen to! It was issued back in 1986, on another CD from INA – GRM (INA C 1001), paired with the incredible thirty-eight minute work “Les Couleurs de la Nuit”. That CD is out of print, and I wonder when “Les Couleurs de la Nuit” will be reissued. That has to happen, because it’s one of the most important electroacoustic pieces of the 20th Century.

Of course, François Bayle himself is one of the key figures of electroacoustics and the Groupe de Recherches Musicales, and he also issues his pieces on his own label since many years -
Magison - in his Cycle Bayle. This is release no. 11 in that particular series.

François Bayle performing "Les Couleurs de la Nuit" in Marseille 1985.
(Photo: B. Perrine)

The name Bayle to me is synonymous with a fluid kind of soundworld, where small close-up miniatures approach and disappear right before your ears, in front of a more distant background of majestic, slow movements of sound, similar with the feeling you might get in the northern mountains of Scandinavia, when mosquitoes swirl around your face as you look out over a wide and mighty scenery with deep valleys and spectacular snow-laden mountain tops. This method is quite effective, and has, with success, been adopted by other composers. It’s a very spatial music, where the sounds seem to live their life in their own sounding dimension. At times all you perceive is a distant ominous murmur, but all of a sudden a cascade of lightning bugs swirl around your head! Be ware!

Bayle characterizes his art like this: “…
my purpose was always the same: to compose with only ‘images-de-sons’ (sound images); to show how, through pure listening in an acousmatic situation, these sound images move like butterflies through audible space and project a colored twinkling on the listener. Out of frame, this is a world proved by itself…”

This particular piece, “
Motion-Émotion” – is very much in motion! The glassy particles drift in frantic pulsations, until they change over into a munching type of fishy sounds, like out of a submarine cartoon world with colored under-sea creatures burping and smiling maliciously at you. Of course, the events hastily move your imagination elsewhere, maybe into a mechanic workshop of the mind, where layers upon layers of dull thoughts get sharpened by an illustrious engineering worker, grinding the slices of thoughts down to sharp thinking, in layers so thin that they’re transparent, clearly displaying the shots of electricity passing through the cerebral cortex, showing up like meteorites burning through the upper atmosphere.

François Bayle in the studios of GRM 1974, composing "Grande Polyphonie".
(Photo: D. R.)

Like Bayle says in the first CD issue of “Motion-Émotion”: “Suddenly an idea emerges, fragile and bewildered”. Sometimes this idea grows in a panic, out of proportions, or it might just sink back into the fabric of sounds again, merging with the basics of this sound world, disappearing into the texture, into the tapestry, into the soil of sounds, from where individual ideas may rise again, in an everflowing occurrence of impulses – for 22 minutes… This is a splendid example of the art of François Bayle!