Music Reviews

Henri Pousseur / Main / Philip Jeck / Oval

4 Parabolic Mixes

Sub Rosa

This two-disc set, recorded live in Brussels in 2001, presents four laptop artists reworking Henri Pousseur’s 8 Parabolic Studies from 1972 (re-released in a 4 CD box set in 2001). Pousseur himself opens with a panoramic half-hour long mix, carefully representing the fluid nature of the original, even in the piece’s most subtle parts. Silence and gaps are used to great effect, and Pousseur’s careful attention to details makes this a progressive and even fun summary of his own work.

Robert Hampson (as Main) follows, and while he seems overtly respectful of Pousseur’s work, rarely moving beyond the initially established framework, his is still a more hard-hitting and extroverted mix. It works great as a transitional piece between Pousseur’s brief summary and the remaining artists’ more experimental approaches.

Philip Jeck’s mix focuses on a number of selected motifs from the original, which he constantly revisits in various manners, adding sounds from outside sources as well. Where Main’s mix is linear, Jeck’s is spatial, attacking the motifs from a series of different angles. His build-ups are slow and patient, yet he manages to bring a wide perspective to his half-hour long set.

Nothing can top Oval (a.k.a. Markus Popp), though. Building on the various approaches of what’s come before him, he scars and hammers the piece into some twisted, angular forms. His version strays the farthest away from Pousseur’s original, but his playfulness and widescreen panorama pay close tribute to Pousseur. It’s a wonderful conclusion to a set that has transformed the 4 Parabolic Studies from its initial summary into something completely different, with the full two-disc set being infinitely greater than the sum of its parts.

Sub Rosa:

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