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POUSSEUR, HENRI - Paysages Planetaires

Alga Marghen

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"2004 release. In 2000, Henri Pousseur was asked by Philippe Samyn, a Brussels-based architect who liked to work in collaboration with other artforms, to lend his support to the plan for the construction of a business complex by one of the most important building enterprises in the country. There were four low buildings arranged like different parts of a medieval castle-village, grouped around a kind of large open central court. Leaning on the suggested image, Pousseur immediately suggested that the first spinal-column be composed of an electronic carillon, sounding in variations every hour, thus marking the hours between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Henri Poussuer imagined then a connection between Nivelles-time (a city 40 km south of Brussels, where this large project would be situated) and the time of the entire planet and the more or less metaphoric sonic and musical realities attached to it. He made on the one hand the 16 hours of a theoretically complete day of work (from the cleaning service up to the last research in the office) correspond to the 24 hours of a complete terrestrial revolution. He then divided the globe into eight large north/south slices," themselves divided into three perpendicular "rings": north, center, south, with the understanding that only inhabited lands were taken into consideration. To each of the 8 "great hours" of the total duration, Pousseur associated three regions, one of each ring (north/central/south) set out as far apart as possible on the terrestrial globe. Over a background of a fairly continuous variety of noises which are perpetually evolving: sea, fire, city, swamp, industry, forest, etc., there are ethno-musical samples from one region or from several regions involved, more or less worked over by all sorts of numerical methods which vary their capacity to be recognized as quasi-traditional music. This work once finished (realized in the studio of the composers son Denis), Pousseur made a synthesis on three discs by superimposing the landscapes (a bit in the manner of the previous Etudes paraboliques) in 16 Paysages Planetaires. The titles of the landscapes express by their contraction the simultaneous or alternate presence of several regions; for example, "Alaskamazonie" is self-explanatory. Something like "Gamelan Celtibere" is a sort of play on something between the West Coast of Europe with the Indonesian archipelago and even the northern part of Australia. Continuing like this you could find it amusing to reconstruct the circumplanetary movement of the work. Michel Butor wrote the luminous prose-verse alternating poetic structure which accompanies these landscapes. His text is included in the 60-page documentation booklet, also featuring two long essays by Henri Pousseur: "Paysages Planetaires" and "Atmospheric and Cultural Sources for Each of the Landscapes." Finally, with this work, Henri Pousseur makes an homage to all the singers and instrumentalists, sound engineers, ethnic musicologists and editors who have either produced, or gathered and transmitted, all the marvelous musical invention which inspired and nourished the work and which, with the sounds of the world, of nature, of society and of industry, are supposed to represent a kind of formal summing-up of lifes multiplicity. All the images, obtained through extensive digital treatments, were conceived and manipulated by Henri Poussuer. Housed in a heavy cardboard slipcase with 3CDs and a 60-page booklet." -Alga Marghen.

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