Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A_dontigny – Geisteswissenschaften

Aimé Dontigny is a Quebec artist with a slippery aesthetic that wriggles free of easy classifications. Having begun with the “free noise” collective Napalm Jazz, his treatment of sound at its root informs later work; from electro-acoustic duos with Diane Labrosse, Chantal Dumas to a recent live performance under the direction of Francisco Lopez at this year’s Victoriaville festival. Dontigny accesses these muscles here, but also draws upon his work with Érick D’Orion in morceaux_de_machines, a project that force-feeds noise into the drum n bass paradigm. What Geisteswissenschaften offers is the rapid survey of a micro-managed patchwork landscape where many styles and ideas compete for space. It opens with the lazy hip-hop pulse of “Koons” that is eventually overturned by a chaotic collapse of competing beats, followed by the smooth flow of “Pruitt-Igoe” where the electric piano and syrupy strings are just a little too uncomfortably degraded to produce nostalgia. The album begins to describe the worm in the heart of cultural recycling. What many modern electronic albums undertake to preserve through mutation and adaptation Dontigny slathers with new layers of decay and distance-confusing disorder. The album especially succeeds by allowing just enough of the “known” to peek through while spinning through its disorienting cycles of hyper-detailed noise.

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