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ELECTROMAGNETIC COLLECTIVE (2CD by Fibrr Records)
The sound world of Julien Ottavi is a conceptual one. He sets out to record an event and then executes that. Not necessarily he think in terms of a composition that pleases the listener. This is quite clear on this double CD. The first disc is an one-hour piece of music that explores 'inaudible sounds', those that can be picked up using very low frequency antenna, hydrophones, ultrasound device and such like, but in 2012 they (being Jenny Pickett and Julien Ottavi, making the Electromagnetic Collective) used their VLF devices to record man made electricity, those huge high tension electrical pylons. According to the cover, Electromagnetic Collective explored these recordings and discovered musical qualities in these recordings, but the average lover of say, alternative rock or hip hop might find this a definition of music too far. In this piece we hear lots of buzzing, high end, low end, of electrical currents. In the early bits of this piece very loud but in the second half this dies down to a more moderate level, with occasional cracks, which after the forty-fourth minute break are entirely gone and a single tone remains until the very end. This is quite some radical music.
And there is more to explore in terms of radical music on the second disc. Here we have five
pieces of electromagnetic waves, which are a combination of two 'disturbances', electric and magnetic, vibrating together. These can be made audible with copper induction coils, magnets and surfaces that capture charge or vibrations. These electromagnetic waves are everywhere and if you have the right equipment (which is not at all expensive), you too can scan the city for these waves. The five pieces are recorded in the collective's hometown of Nantes, at the train station, tramway and tickets machine at the train station, and sound at times more musical than the other disc, with repeated bleeps and waves that move like obnoxious insects around your head, or a cheap synthesizer left in a solitary buzzing position. Pickett and Ottavi captured some great waves and while this is anything but easy listening, I found this some fascinating stuff. Not that both discs should be played in a row, as I would think that is way too much, but a bit every now and then, makes up a wonderfully difference in an otherwise clean world. (FdW) - Vital weekly