AMN Reviews: Richard Bégin – Fragile Section (2022; Reverse Alignment)

These thirteen creations by Canadian professor Richard Bégin combine the ambient and electroacoustic genres with a fair dose of musique concrete. Bégin generates lilting waves of sound that echo and shimmer, and accentuates them with prerecorded sounds. The latter include bops, clicks, scraping, and rattling that are largely unstructured and provide a sense of uncertainty in terms of the direction that the music will take.

In addition, certain tracks, Mycoderma Aceti being an example, involve further joining these sources into sculpted sound art with waves distorted to match the character of the prerecorded sounds. Other pieces, such as Des Traces Evidentes de Métamérisation, apply loops to these structures, with slight modifications in content, textures, and/or intensity on each repetition. Further explorations hint at post-industrial influences, with recurrent mechanical rhythms in the foreground. Bégin even uses snippets of what appears to be traditional instrumentation that are processed to the point that the sources are difficult to discern.

The result of all this is a dreamy and complex set of soundscapes, not quite the stuff of nightmares but perhaps not far off. Hints of the past, present, and future are combined in a way that is directionless – the future influences the present as much as the past. Thus, Fragile Section is an unusually creative and quite welcome addition to the recently re-launched Reverse Alignment label.

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