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Pierre Henry; Prismes

Pierre Henry; Prismes

Creel Pone
CP 133 CD
Compact Disc-Recordable
AUD$14.00

Previously, Mr. P.C. C.P. had the wise idea to replicate the two “Corticalart” Pierre Henry titles, considered by many as the most wild & woolly amongst the French Musique Concrète master’s vast discography.

Personally, I’ve long been puzzled by the “Corticalart III” title ; was there a “Corticalart II” that we somehow missed? Lo and behold, here it is, in the form of a “Second” concert utilizing the system, again done in collaboration with Bernard Bonnier, assembled at the Studio Apsome then presented as part of a “Spectacle of Cybernetic, Spatio-Lumina-Dynamics” staged by Nicolas Schöffer & Alwin Nikolas at the Hamburg Opera in February 1973 under the banner “Kyldex I.”

I’ve seen the single “Prismes” excerpt show up on a few compilations of Henry’s era work, but the complete performance remains one of Henry & Bonnier’s most sought-after sides. Recorded a full two years after “Mise en Musique” (but only 7 months prior to “Corticalart III”) this takes a comparably nuanced approach to working with the system. While yes, the opening pulse-width grind of “Ouverture” is straight out of “Mise en Musique’s” playbook, the stereo-heavy electronic twang of “Sirène” is a rising swarm of tightly-controlled high-end synthesizer fury that drops out into a distant prepared-piano block.

The extremely minimal pointillism of “Continuum” wraps rattled percussion & sly oscillator pings into an inter-channel riddle. “Crépidance” clearly shows Bonnier’s involvement (the constant kick-pulse & tape-echo chime are clear links to his later “Casse-Tête”) & the two-part “Facettes” drops an incredibly dense Musique Concrète miniature before continuing in the mould of rising, hysteresis-heavy brainwave-induction before the zappy, aberrant pan-laws of “Manèges” close out the side.

Both “Crescendo” & “Perpetuum” (ditto, raw brain-wave inductions sustained in a thick morass of discordant overtones, then further ultra-minimal iterations) build up to the main-event of the title-track - 15 minutes of sublime rise / fall tactics, impeccably assembled waves of over-lapping automations & low, growling figures cut with almost imperceptible slices of taped-sound, erupting into a honey of a tape-speed munge-out. Of the three “Corticalarts,” this one definitely shows the most range & prowess (don’t get me wrong - I do love the brutal bludgeoning of “Mise” & the washed-out room-whirr of “III”) - amazing it’s taken Mr. P.C. C.P. so long to sort out the missing installment of this incredible trilogy.


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