Artist: ce François Couture
Release Date: 06 Feb 2014
Genre: Experimental / Noise
License: CC BY-ND
Label: Pan Y Rosas Discos
I am convinced Keith from Pan Y Rosas Discos really thinks I am a glutton for experimental and unusual recordings. He is correct, but how did he know? 🙂 I guess I can’t completely blame Keith. I have to “blame” Daniel Barbiero, after all his ‘Take A Sound…’ recording was the first one from Pan Y Rosas Discos that I reviewed. Then Keith followed up by submitting Bristophe and Lucie Vitkova for my listening pleasure. And now, ce François Couture’s Derrière.
When I saw this submission from Keith I tried to maintain a healthy skepticism towards the release. I tried to find some reason that I wouldn’t want to listen to it. I wanted to say to myself “this is too Avant-garde even for me, much less the audience of this site.”
Then I read the description for Derrière, and was immediately intrigued. And I couldn’t help but think there is part of my audience that would be interested and intrigued by this release. So, let’s break it down a bit.
First, for those that aren’t aware, the word / title: Derrière. This doesn’t have the slang connection for a person’s posterior that has become common. Instead, in this case, it literally means “the back of”. In this case, Derrière is the back of a release by ce François Couture called ‘Devant’ which was released on a cassette only label back in October.
Derrière, being a 39 minute long controlled feedback improvisation didn’t fit on the cassette with ‘Devant’ (which was also controlled feedback recording) due to time constraints. So, now it finds a home on Pan Y Rosas Discos.
Now, I’ve heard plenty of feedback before… Everything from microphones being set up too close to monitors, to intentional feedback used by guitarists in a solo. I’ve also heard it used in very specifically controlled ways, such as Sonic Youth’s recording of Steve Reich’s ‘Pendulum Music’.
This release is none of those types of use of feedback. Instead, Couture used the inputs and outputs on mixing desks to create, control and shape the feedback on this recording. It’s all done by manually manipulating the controls on the recording panels, adjusting levels up and down, panning left and right, adjusting the gain, equalization, etc. to give different shape(s) to the sounds.
I can’t claim that this sounds like any recording I’ve listened to before, even though the primary element is one that I’ve heard many times. However, Couture is able to do things by controlling the sound that gives substance to this recording. It’s easy to grasp quickly that there is form, structure, and even rhythmic elements within this piece. It’s actually fairly accessible too. It sounds more like a soundscape of processed machine sounds, than it sounds like pure noise. It is familiar, and yet alien. And worth the time (and challenge) of listening to.
I’m actually impressed by how accessible this piece is. There are just enough elements that you can identify on a first listen that you want to go back again and listen to just to get the full context. And, after a second listen, it becomes the type of piece that I want to listen to break out of the normal jazz / rock / dub / classical styles that permeate my normal listening. Overall an impressive accomplishment for ce François Couture’s Derrière.
(NOTE: I would normally include a sample track, but seeing as this is a single 39 minute long composition, you might as well just go to Pan Y Rosas Discos and grab a copy to listen to.)