Monday, January 26, 2009

Murcof – The Versailles Sessions

Knowing Fernando Corona mainly from compilations and remixes is to know a versatile electronic artist with a talent for marrying dubby minimalist beats to varied acoustic instruments. The rest of the picture has been gradually revealed, as in last year’s darkly epic Cosmos and this even more complex commissioned piece recorded for Les Grandes Eaux Nocturnes festival in France. To suit the history of the Chateau de Versailles, Corona employed 17th century instruments exclusively. The harpsichords, violas, flutes and occasional mezzo soprano vocals have the sharp and polished presence of concrete sound documents. The fanfare and opening of “Welcome to Versailles” crashes and spirals, with the sound often stretching into long echoes. A sense of foreboding and displacement is seeded throughout the six pieces, especially later pieces like “Spring in the Artificial Garden” whose long harpsichord sustains bleed in the open air. Capping the event is “Lully’s ‘Turquerie’ As Interpreted By An Advanced Script,” a piece that draws a fife and drum squiggle into an increasingly electronic timeslip. As anachronisms go this recreation lives up to the grandeur of its inspirations.


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