Manafonistas

on life, music etc beyond mainstream

  

Michelle Mercure: Eye Chant

 

 
 
 

Michele’s true image is sound, and Eye Chant, as a whole, offers meditations of sound as material. You can listen to her melodic electronic album as background or intimately. Her main instruments are voice and synthesizer. The voice follows the machine’s language of patterns: repeated until they dissolve or become concrete or both. Loops and undulating rhythms build up a particular kind of surface, one that orients the listener to the present moment, to notice and extend that time of being here.

On some tracks you will hear the same sounds repeated with different distortions – to better appreciate the economy of means. It’s as if you can touch the tones or see each unit of sound. This seems to be part of Michele’s intent. There’s a tactile quality that might have everything to do with reconfigurations of bodies and machines. Machine sounds become abstract words. The human voice is pulled apart, dislodged from context, textured. The natural and the mechanical elements commingle with the casualness of a musician well versed in the social-material entanglements of life. As her electronic kin, Eliane Rodigue and Suzanne Ciani would attest, it’s all raw material for the musician to give form. Dana Haroway and Lucy Suchman must have been listening.

To get a sense of the space her work occupies: compositions on this album were part of a PBS special and an artist’s performance. Michele offers a tender mechanics to get attuned to. The atmospheres expand and contract within a song and from track to track. At their most narrative, “Proteus and the Marlin” and “100% Bridal Illusion,” are hyper feminine tracks made up of choirs of birds, breath, baby cries, waves, and poetry read just above a whisper. The title track, ‘Eye Chant,’ is a single vocal sample of one word that’s sequenced and layered upon itself. A perfect minimal composition, where there’s no excesses blurring how it was made and the final crystalline form it takes. ‘Too Much’ closes the album with some danceability. We have traveled far from the start — “Tour de France,” where the synthesizer resembles a faucet drip and we reset — to the pace of our heart and breath.

When focused on the moment the mind wanders as it likes to do. Might it be a collective and urgent need to decelerate, or to find our time in continuum with others’ what motivates some reissues? One way to interpret the name, Freedom to Spend, is an abundance of freedom that needs to be shared. In that spirit, the free thinking/art of Michele Mercure is put back in circulation.

 
(Flying Out HQ)


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