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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

PIERRE-JEAN LIEVAUX: Perception Totémiste (2010)

Updated: Jun 20, 2020

Perception Totémiste is a rather difficult musical experiment which has the half of Perception Analogique's charms

1 Dave's Near Vana 7:40

2 Indescente au Paradis 9:36

3 Le Sombre Héros Espagnol 10:42

4 Opuys de Montreuil 8:38

5 Rue Sale Hazard 7:50

6 Un des Nababs Revends son Éléphant 9:40

(CD 54:13) (V.F.)


Am I dreaming or do I hear the helices of a helicopter, or an enormous ventilator, chopped the too robotics voice of Dave (2001: A Space Odyssey) which filters through ethereal synth pads and noises of a water which drips in a metallic envelope? Am I still dreaming when I hear these distant industrial sirens a la Blade Runner infected the quiet sonic hallucinations of Dave's Near Vana? PERCEPTION TOTÉMISTE is the second part on the concept of perception that Pierre-Jean Lievaux began in 2009.

Sharply less audacious, and especially less charming than Perception Analogique, set apart some minutes stolen at the meter here and there, PERCEPTION TOTÉMISTE is a dying electronic symphony where the synth pads and layers are flying slowly, coiling some lengthened timeless and unfinished loops, over a swarm of voices and rustles as cybernetic as ectoplasmic. Rustles and voices which irritate more that they fascinate, and which had nevertheless their places in the first part of this quadrilogy. I imagine that it's all a question of perceptions and sound environments. Because what had made the charms of Perception Analogique are cruelly more difficult to assimilate on here, so much everything seems and sounds cold. So much everything seems to be devoid of passion. The ambiences are forged in lines of synth to the shrill colours which set ablaze a multitude of radioactive cracklings of which the imprints carve a sense of perplexity in the ears. I have to admit that there are rather difficult phases such as Un des Nababs Revends son Éléphant that I am always incapable to describe. But there are well some fine line of bass which structure some slow, but very slow, wave-like tempos, as on Dave's Near Vana, or the rather lascivious one of Indescente au Paradis, where, if we listen closely, we can hear a dark melody sparkling in twilights tinted of metal silk, or yet the somber wandering nomad and enigmatic Rue Sale Hazard and its cracklings which glitter on a line of bass at the agony. There is nothing to say about Le Sombre Héros Espagnol, if it's not that the somber hero looks for his shadow in a rather ethereal tumult with groans which are quavering among scattered clicks. Although quieter, it would have had its place on Perception Analogique. Crackling which drum in void, and of which the echoes pierce the skin of some long drones and hummings, are opening the first seconds of Opuys de Montreuil which rocks its structure between an aboriginal tribal approach and a cosmic vision. Bit by bit the tumult changes of skin while the title is switching into a rather ambient phase where faded voices and dissonant harmonies draw a sonic pattern too much abstracted in my ears to find an interest here.

You have understood that I have found the experience of PERCEPTION TOTÉMISTE rather difficult, even indigestible, by moments. I did not find this small spark that had literally set ablaze my interest for the first part of this quadrilogy. If the structures are a lot alike, it misses this little something there that have made all the difference on Perception Analogique. An unexpected rhythm, a sudden musicality and fragments of melodies buried here and there are totally absent in this 2nd segment which is completely dedicated to the sound experiment and the fruits of its dissonance. For lovers of totally abstracted music!

Sylvain Lupari (July 19th, 2014) *****

Available at Patch Work Music

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