Pali Meursault
CD (E58)

“This piece was recorded live at Le 102 in Grenoble, France,
on 19 January 2007 as a site-specific composition rather than
a straight performance. I spent a week there with recorders
and microphones, gathering materials and objects to perform
with. Squealing chairs, resonating oil drums and unidentified
metal remains found on the spot were amplified and arranged
with field recordings of the space and its neighbourhood:
winter wind, planes passing over, street atmosphere, crackle
of the fireplace… I tried to become initimate with that sound
matter, to immerse myself in it and to let myself be led by it.”

Pali Meursault would hesitate to describe himself as an electro-
acoustic composer or a sound artist. He sometimes writes about
music and sociology, and is also working with a collective of
artists called Ici-Même whose activities straddle architecture,
dance and sound.

See also
Pali Meursault (E120)

Edition of 300 copies


In a way the piece is sketched like the curve of life itself:
starting from extremely reduced elements — although oddly
manipulated since the very beginning — it progressively
evolves into a well-shaped body whose muscles are entirely
delineated, reaching its conclusive phase in bitter, if expected
decay. The quasi-biotic character of the initial sections is
instantly accepted by the expert ear, preparing us for the
subsequent stages where — layer upon layer — the sonic
stratagems gradually increase their thickness and, with it,
the psychological impact, which at certain moments becomes
significant. The potential ability to discern sources and
mechanics doesn’t imply that emotions are not warranted:
in particular, a section of looped aircraft moans is alone
worth of the whole CD, even if each episode strikes as a
rational consequence of what had come prior. This is not
a “taped-in-town, stuck-in-the-mix” kind of joke; the fact
that Meursault managed to reach this level of attention-
gripping quality during a live performance impresses me
greatly. A distant comparison, exclusively in terms of
attitude towards research, might be Toy.Bizarre’s sound
art. Yet an individual personality is easily detectable here,
as this artist does not indulge in mere copycat-ism.

When enamelled emptiness leaves room to genuine diligence,
there’s a reason for celebrating. In a world jam-packed with
people who — being unable to get a different line of work —
literally reinvent themselves as manufacturers of sounds
(often making nice money out of inexpert audiences),
the freshness of [this] record is all the more welcome.

Massimo Ricci at Touching Extremes

Samuel Ripault is a field recordist as well as a performer;
the way he manages to square these two seemingly
incompatible disciplines is to spend a week or so preparing
materials (recordings as well as physical objects) that
relate to a particular location and then use these materials
in live performance. It’s the performative aspect of his
work that is noteworthy, going beyond the simple playing
back of recorded material as a component of an installation
that characterises most live sound art. un(zéro)deux has
a real hands-on feel, not just in Ripault’s deployment of
scrap metal (scraped along the floor of the performance
space or sounded with motors rather than bashed
Neubauten-style) but also in the way the recordings are
tweaked, layered and mixed into the sounds of activity
in the performance space as the piece progresses. The
documentary aspect is still important — indeed, the piece
would seem to lose a lot of its integrity and charm if the
material was simply treated as fodder for sonic manipulation —
but un(zéro)deux is very much a musical experience.

Keith Moliné in The Wire

I hadn’t realised this was a live (solo) performance until
after I’d listened a couple of times, which both surprised
and impressed me. Meursault has a lot of stuff going
on but, to his credit, it never feels crowded, the various
textures and sounds playing very well together (like
the combination of scraped tones and faunal-sounding
“whoops” some 15 minutes in. I take it there are a
number of off-Kilter mechanical devices set in motion
throughout, but however it’s accomplished, the matrix
that emerges is very alive and both busy and spacious

Brian Olewnick at Just Outside

Meursault is very, very good at making the best out of
all the sounds he has at his disposal. The CD presents
one track and I guess that it is an unedited version
(although you never know, of course). If so, I will
certainly want to be there should Meursault perform
in the neighbourhood. This composition is a journey
with an experienced guide. He knows where to start
and what the highlights are. Should be in everyone’s
collection! Listen in the dark.

Jos Smolders at Earlabs