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POUSSEUR, HENRI: Paysages Planètaires: Ethno-electroacoustic Music. (3CD box)
An important pioneer of the new music, electroacoustic music and various cross-genre forms from the 1950's onwards, Pousseur undertook this major project in 2000, when he was already in his '70s. This limited Edition box collects a related body of materials into a single listening work. The original programme was developed as in installation for an architectural complex in Belgium, using environmental and documentary recordings from around the world, paired and superimposed in strange ways according to a complex time-space worksheet - sometimes raw, often processed, but always recognisable, collapsing the planet into a simultaneous, superposed continuous present. It is sufficiently idea- and process-driven (as opposed to purely aesthetically driven) that it doesn't really resemble any other electroacoustic or soundscape work I can think of; and the elements that appear are extremely broadly sourced, including much globally sourced musical material - as well as plunderphonic extracts from existing repertoire. In every sense, this work covers a great deal of ground. Arranged in 17 blocks, each of which stands alone, some - Etats Zuni, for example - are classics of breadth and brevity. The solid board box comes with a thick flat-bound booklet that explains without explaining (that may be the translation), and a set of verses (one per piece) in French by Pousseur's long-time collaborator Michel Butor.