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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Paul Wirkus - Discours Amoureux [Edition Beides - 2017]

Paul Wirkus is a Polish born electronic avant garde composer whose first released work came out in 1999.  He released two albums in 2016, breaking a 7 year silence, one of which was Discours Amoureux.  It is a concise, 34 minute work with 4 tracks, each 7-11 minutes in length.  Their titles are four digit numbers of unspecified meaning.

Opener "1982" begins with what I would call "digital gibberish", a circular undulation of mangled metallic noise and glitch, with subtle warps and pieces missing.  It's the sort of sound that would typically be generated by an error, some kind of degradation of signal.  Z'EV often employs such sounds.  Over the course of 11 minutes, the texture loses its coldness, swelling into a luminescent, ambient space, eventually becoming a shimmering, tuneful drone that could be sourced from guitar.

The 2nd piece "1499" is a short melodic fragment of synthesizer filtered into warm nectar, pleasantly contrasted with the rough, organic timbres of coins being dropped on a wooden table and rusty metallic objects being struck.  It's a marvellous use of field recording.  The 2nd half of the piece drops off into a desolate sparsitude analog delays and eerie granulated pianos, the notes elongated into sickly smears.

"2016" is an immediately inviting chordal swell, a nebula infused with unearthly glow, sketching a beautiful dramatic anticipation, a nocturnal romance.  Again, I hear metal objects being struck, and the rhythm of these contacts strikes me as ritualistic and intentional.  The sound of footsteps creates the sensation of movement from place to place.  We follow the holder of this handheld device, Paul himself.  A public place is nearby, a thick, sweaty shroud of bustling murmurs and conversation hangs over, adults and children.  To be the lone observer, hanging on the periphery of this, is a haunting sensation.

The final piece, "1888", has a fitting cinematic finality, another resonating chord that holds, and quivers, poignantly luminous.

This album is a beautiful marriage of field recording and digital synthesis / processing.  We, as listeners, are pulled to and fro from the world of civilization to the detached realm of the completely abstract.  It will be best enjoyed by those who are mesmerized by loops, as repetition points are audible for much of the album.  The music remains transporting and engaging with a variety of approaches and precise, ear pleasing timbres.  Its melodic elements are haunting and thoughtful.  It works very well as a complete suite, and tends to be over before I'm tired of it, making it easy to play it through again.

Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5

Josh Landry
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