henri pousseur

Four Parabolic Mixes

2CD jewel case


This double cd proposes 4 unpublished tracks based on Parabolic studies (limited edition 4CD box set by Henri Pousseur/SR174) first one by the pioneer of electronic music Henri Pousseur followed by Robert Hampson/Main, Philip Jeck, Markus Popp/Oval.

In November 2001, we had just published Henri Pousseur's "8 Parabolic Studies" ("8 études paraboliques") in a box of 4 CDs - these electronic pieces have been created in 1972 at the WDR studios in Cologne. The idea was to ask other musicians, of different generations, to attempt a new mix on the basis of these eight studies. The first mix (and not re-mix) was a re-interpretation by Henri Pousseur himself - this laid the foundation stone of the edifice. Contrary to the mixes carried out thirty years ago, these were made digitally. The second mix was Robert Hampson's - quite nervous of the master's reaction, who was present during the set. Robert, who holds an exhaustive knowledge of electronic music from its origins and of all its aspects - even of the more obscure ones -gave a personal but faithful interpretation of Pousseur's studies. Another degree of alteration was highlighted by Philip Jeck, who created a massive and powerful set, adding sounds from other sources (which is totally allowed according to Pousseur's original concept). And finally, Oval - according to the process that is quintessential to his work, Markus Popp could only produce a piece far removed from its sources; since it is within sound itself that all sonorous source passes through the ovalprocess, thus becoming ovalmusic - that is, music having its very own properties. We already had an unstable timeline that spanned from the original to a radically different piece - engrossing intermediary stages of destructuring. It is precisely these stages that were reconstituted here. GMH

Sub Rosa's director, Guy Marc Hinant, explains in the liner notes that this project is the result of a desire to achieve trans-historicity: the blend of music and techniques from different time frames. 4 Parabolic Mixes documents an evening of trans-historicity based on Henri Pousseur's 8 Études Paraboliques (8 Parabolic Studies), a cycle of pieces created in 1972 and released by Sub Rosa in 2001 as a limited-edition four-CD box set. Four artists from different generations were invited to create their own half-hour mix of the work using digital means (whereas the original was an analog razor-to-tape affair). Hinant is quick to stress that these are not remixes and he is right to do so: Pousseur's studies are meant to be combinable for simultaneous playing, so the "mixers" are simply doing their own interpretation of the "score." Of course, it's not as simple as that. The two-CD set begins with Pousseur's own mix, a surprisingly ambient, smooth soundscape. Robert Hampson (aka Main) takes a different approach, creating a suite of short pictures, each one exploring a certain type of sounds from the original. Philip Jeck gets the award for the most surprising mix. He adds extraneous material from record players to create a lugubrious work (slowed-down voices and all) that steps far from Pousseur's music, yet remains intelligible in the context of the project. His "Third Parabolic Mix" is the undisputed highlight. Oval closes the proceedings with a slab of "ovalprocessed" music. The original input is rendered unrecognizable by his complex trademark process of transubstantiation, oddly soothing despite all the digital noise, but the piece remains rather static and uninvolved. If the objective of 4 Parabolic Mixes was to show how technologies and generations can intermingle, mission accomplished, even though the results are a bit uneven. ~ François Couture, All Music Guide




CD 1

1 HENRI POUSSEUR 1st parabolic mix 34:00
2 MAIN/ROBERT HAMPSON 2nd parabolic mix 32:00

CD 2

3 PHILIP JECK 3rd parabolic mix 31:00
4 OVAL/MARKUS POPP 4th parabolic mix 37:00