Friday, 25 December 2009

LÉOS ATOR – 3 Requiems Rouges

A recent email by French sound-poet Léos Ator (née Lionel Stora) courteously invited this scribe to give news about the reaction to this CDR, a 30-copy limited edition sent by the composer a few months prior that was lying amidst piles of other records, waiting for review. Uncharacteristically, this polite request ignited a desire to listen to the disc immediately: an act that brought valuable spiritual consequences and the acquaintance with a seriously talented artist.

Ator recorded the music by using the voice and what he calls “pure data programming”, his work, quoting from the press blurb, “freely inspired by medieval Requiem as its main purpose was to invite listeners to meditate on life while fading away”. Whereas the central episode appears as nothing more than an interesting concurrence of electronic pitches generating an uncanny foreign harmony, completely hiding the vocal qualities behind a constantly changing mass of acute sounds, the final piece is almost bloodcurdling, in some measure recalling early Lustmord: a single deep growl counterpointed by vacillating lines, periodic dissonant clusters effectively altering the droning temperament. A strong affirmation indeed.

But the real awe comes from the initial track, entirely constructed on a slowly mounting massive moan that threw me in a state of complete entrancement since the very beginning. This bottomless low-frequency lamentation evolves through semi-static shifts – think a cross of Mirror, Ligeti and a squad of bombers in flight as heard from long distance - complemented by additional waveforms which, peculiarly, resemble a somewhat discordant background of wooden flutes. The whole is augmented by indistinct appearances of soprano-like interferences after the first half. No words can explain the influence, the absolutely stunning effect of this sonic matter on the psyche.

3 Requiems Rouges needs a room to resound just as a human body necessitates oxygen to survive. Even if this will remain the one time in which I decided to spin a CD upon its creator’s pushing, it was the right thing to do. Please welcome Mr. Ator among the personalities to keep an attentive eye on, and try to secure an exemplar of this item, if only for the fantastic opening chapter. Alternatively, you can download the title at the label's website.