Jean-Claude Risset Music from Computer
Published Mar 14, 2014A composer/researcher at the leading edge of computer music developments from the mid '60s, Jean-Claude Risset simultaneously embodies an artist's aesthetic and a technologist's quest for new methodologies.
This five-track collection presented by GRM begins with the 1968 3-movement "Computer Suite from Little Boy," written for a play by Pierre Halet. Conveying mixed emotions from nostalgic to nightmare, the pieces echo the thoughts of a pilot who witnessed the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima. The ever-falling, never-ending Risset-Shepard glissando mirrors the dream-like inescapability of the protagonist's dread and despair. Jazzy 5/4 motifs on synthesized instruments keep things in motion in the first movement.
"Mutations" from 1977 is a beautifully paced evolving sound world, with celesta-like bells punctuating sustained crescendos and diminuendos in various registers and timbres.
"Sud" from 1985 is an electroacoustic masterpiece. Using nature sounds gathered south of Marseille, Risset incorporates electronic frog croaks and insect buzzes, so that eventually the natural and the synthesized sounds interpenetrate one another. This is strong, captivating music, well worth exploring. (Recollection GRM)