harpages - simples visions
- Publication date
- 2004-02-27 00:00:00
this is a musical piece which, as we believe, retains all of its consistency without any images. that is why we decided to propose it through the means of the "autres directions in music" project in which we are glad to take part, it being such an original and interesting alternative to the traditional means of distribution of independent music.
we thus want to thank stephane, whom apart from being the project's initiator is also someone who has often supported our musical activity." julien & antoine harpagès [email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org]
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simples visions (28'10, 39.6Mo)
(track by harpagès)
A most beautiful drone taking you on a magic journey to a better world that is neither good nor bad (even though there are lighter and darker sides in it) for a good half an hour. Peaceful pictures of a better life form in my mind - a simple vision indeed, but one Id be lucky and happy to live in. Life isnt ever as simple as tones or bitparts of musical scales, but if you liked Narcophony or Threnody Ensemble, you will enjoy this one as well. This piece of music might prove that the internet is indeed the better way to spread great music that is far off the beaten path.
The carpet of sound slowly creeps in, flows all over the room, spreads itself in every corner and every edge, and then slowly disappears again like the tide, leaving only subtle scratching noises and a vibrating, warm bass-sound to linger on. Which is a misconception, because the noise is just as much music as is the bass-sound or the ripe layers of trance-like evolving organs before. Then the piece turns around gently and moves back into the quarters it came from, even though everything has changed. More noise. More sounds. Everything is slightly darker, with foreign sounding voices singing in a strange harmony. Nevertheless, it is beautiful. Ephemerally strings, horns or guitars float into focus and the disappear again. I wish Id put this on repeat, so the travel could go on and on and on and Id never have to face daylight or the real world again. I could keep on conjuring images from my mind and live in them. Id never ever have to eat or work or fear again.
Evidently, "simple visions" is not meant as an easy piece, though it can be listened to as such. The sounds and grooves might flow by the listener easily, leaving him feeling subconsciously lighter and better than before, but also without knowledge and thereby no effect of learning (somehow in the end it all comes up as having to learn something, from experiences to informations, everything has to be stored and processed.) The noise-parts around minute 20-22 are definitely not for everyone, especially when listened to closely, but they are an important signature point in the work. At this point everything changes. No more layered sounds, the world has turned to noise. Stretched back to the thought about information and experience and combined with the distorted singing in the background, Id call this a comment on the current information overflow all of us in the western world have to endure. Every day we have to digest about 2000 advertisements (incl. logos, shop-signs, magazines, etc.) and I wont even start about the useless mass of political or economic information most of us think they have to store and keep ready at all times. To get half an hour to get out of this drag is a present more valuable than time itself.
This piece was produced to accompany a movie, but for several reasons, the label "movie soundtrack" is far from encompassing its worth in any way. Most important of all, the music was ready and done before the movie was even started. Arnoud Bologne, avantgarde filmmaker from France, listened to Harpagès "simple visions", then searched for and added visionary material to the sounds, producing a minimalist feature which was first shown together with the music on a festival in Lille in 2003. But even without this information, the visionary power of "simple visions" is enormous, because it evokes pictures in the listeners mind almost instantly. And even though this drone - like any drone - could definitely be called minimalist, there is quite a lot happening at all times. Only when certain lines of sounds start to fade into the back slowly and almost as faded by a ghostly hand, the intricate structures of the layers of sound apparent become visible. Funnily though, the recurring clicking noises do remind me a lot of old movie-projectors, but with the rise of VHS and MiniDV in every household the sound of a movie-projector might not be as common as I remember it to be. Anyway, the sound of beautiful, harmonious (?) drones like these is also sadly missing in most homes.
This little gem is provided to the world by autres directions in music, who have already given us the recommended EP by Depth Affect. And again you can either download the music and cover from the website and burn it onto a CDR yourself or order your very own copy for 5 Euros ppd. This is the future, get used to it.
Simple Visions is the name of the latest release on the Adim label, its moulin 004 produced by Harpagès.
They deliver a single track stretching some 28 minutes creating an amazing atmosphere with clearly cinematic characteristics. The visual associations are direct and enter as soon as you start playing the track, so its title "Simple Visions" is very fitting indeed. However dont be misled and assume that this is simple music, nothing could be further from the truth. Because even if the visions summoned by the music may or may not be simple the same cannot be said about the music itself. Its an intriguing piece of work that really fits on the Adim label as well.
As it turns out after reading the accompanied information this piece was originally ordered in connection with a festival taking place in Lille, France and resulted in a short film. The music was made before the film and should not be regarded as a soundtrack as such; its more than that. As usual the track and artwork (not the film though) is available for download at the Adim site or purchasable as CDR for 5 euros. Go and get it now!
This new release of this French label shows a different vein from the given by the Dudley and Melodium's melodic electronica and Depth Affect's hip-hop. Harpagès whose members are the brothers Antoine and Julien Harpagès offer minimal atmospheres in where few instruments sound: a guitar starts its timid chords in as much as a saxo pronounces almost in silence its delicate notes.
This work was broadcast during the Harpagès' performance at the "Rencontres Audiovisuelles" festival which took place in the city of Lille, north of France, opportunity in where along with the music it was projected a short film by Arnaud Boulogne. The music was composed independently apart from the images, which is something the duo wants to make clear.
In between of these atmospheres of depth and echoes we can listen to the Arab singings and processing glitch, after already 20 minutes of this CD, and then it continues with processed digital noises.
Esta nueva edición del sello francés viene a mostrar una veta distinta a las entregadas con la electrónica melódica de Dudley y Melodium y el hip-hop de Depth Affect. Harpagès compuesto por los hermanos Antoine y Julien Harpagès ofrecen ambientes minimalistas en donde unos pocos instrumentos suenan: una guitarra arranca sus tímidos acordes en tanto en el fondo un saxo pronuncia casi en silencio sus delicadas notas.
Este trabajo - de sólo un track de 28 minutos - se registró durante la performance que realizó Harpagès en el festival "Rencontres Audiovisuales" en la ciudad de Lille, norte de Francia, oportunidad en donde junto con la música se proyectó el cortometraje a cargo de Arnaud Boulogne. La música se realizó en forma independiente a las imágenes, cuestión que el dúo quiere dejar en claro.
Entremedio de estas atmósferas de profundidad y ecos podemos escuchar el procesamiento de errores de lectura digital y cánticos árabes cuando ya han transcurrido más de 20 minutos de este disco, para luego continuar con ruidos digitales procesados.
This piece, commissioned for the Rencontres Audiovisuelles festival in Lille, France, was originally accompanied by a minimalist film, but it works well on its own. The long, dark textures and soft beats remind me of Vladislav Delay. Over 30-minutes, a variety of sounds fade in and out, from spiralling clicks and static to dance beats, sampled voices, and subdued guitar. Most of the time a deep drone pulses underneath. This is music that rewards the patient listener. While its by no means complex, there is an elegance which elevates this composition above mere rambling noises. This is one of many short releases freely available online or on CD-R from Autres Directions in Music.
(This review was originally part of a longer article about Autres Directions In Music.) The 4th disc I got from Autres Directions In Music was the one true oddball of the group. While the other 3 discs play with various facets of electronic-based music, Harpagès' Simples Visions heads out into more obtuse territory, delving deeply into a world of harrowing drones and sound collages.
Originally composed in 2003 to be shown in conjunction with a minimalist film by Arnaud Boulogne, Simples Visions meanders through a wide range of sonic elements over the course of its 28 minutes. Serene, yet alien drones and hums open the disc, with unnerving little bits of glitch and aural debris nipping away at the song's periphery. It immediately puts the listener in a rather surreal environment; perhaps it's because I've been on an Andrei Tarkovksy kick lately, but I picture sagging powerlines and crumbling antennae stretching across Stalker's otherworldly landscape.
By the 8 minute mark, sparse guitars have begun creeping in, lending some semblance of structure and motion to the song, but doing so rather reluctantly. The song eventually loses interest and moves on to other elements, and by the time it winds down, has toyed with piping, sing-song synths, unearthly wails, fragments of glitch-folk, buffeting static, and middle-eastern chants.
It's amazing how this piece sculpts the listening environment around you. At one point, I thought I heard a plane pass overhead, only to realize it was the song's throbbing electronics playing a trick on me. Along with the Arkitechur disc I reviewed last month, Simples Visions is one of the more intriguing (and unnerving) drone-oriented pieces I've heard in quite some time. Fans of Silber's output would do well to check it out.
Harpagès bring a twenty-eight minute track that's not terribly original, as it reminds of Dome, TAGC, Fripp, Hillage, Heldon and many more experimentalists, but even so it's a fine exercise in mastering that 'golden section' which makes for a good aural journey. If the track sounds like an imaginary soundtrack to your ears, then wake up and try and get to see the movie short by Arnaud Boulogne for which this piece was written, as commissioned by Marc Lavigne of the 'Rencontres Audiovisuelles' festival in Lille (the 'metropolis' of the North of France). Great ending, incidentally.
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- 2004-04-01 01:33:59
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