Francisco Meirino/ILIOS
CD (E181)

Francisco Meirino
Les oiseaux du lac Stymphale
L’Hydre de Lerne

Composed entirely from field recordings made
at Rue Sainte-Beuve in Lausanne, Switzerland,
between 2012 and 2013.

See also
Out of print

Edition of 300 copies
Out of print


The title gives a clue. As a matter of fact, both artists
utilised sounds and noises from the same construction
site in Lausanne, to create two contrastive tracks
manifestly characterised by the individual composer’s

Meirino’s Les Oiseaux Du Lac Stymphale is rather
in-your-face, privileging the direct ‘participation’ of the
workers in a number of acoustic close-ups revealing
the classic bedlam of voices, crumbling materials and
variegated clangors. The chemistry is improved by a
broad compass of captivating frequencies, pulses and
interferences: from huge subsonic bumps and hums
to bizarre electronic tones and unorthodox sibilance.
It’s an intriguing experiment in something that could
be defined “enhanced musique concrete”, without
ineffectual frills and special effects to perturb a listener
merely inclined to focus on the whole’s inbuilt

In L’Hydre De Lerne Ilios grants some space to the
aforementioned operational echoes, which at first made
us think about a slightly different assemblage of equiv-
alent factors belonging to the preceding episode. Fear
not, though: after 180 seconds or so, one of the “lead
singers” of the entire album — a monotone buzzing
drill — becomes the origin of a monolithic agglomer-
ation of electrically charged ‘oms’ progressively growing
in quantity of layers, quivering intensity and volume
as they depict a very gradual glissando (reinforced by
a strong low frequency from the nineteenth minute),
ultimately suggesting a majestic wall of heavily bowed
strings. The piece ends abruptly as we have just
reached the condition of intellectual standby necessary
to be sublimated by the arresting force of that giant

Massimo Ricci at Touching Extremes

Intense, abstract and superbly detailed compositions
crafted entirely from field recordings made in Lausanne,
Switzerland, between 2012 and 2013. It would appear
that both artists use the same, or at least similar, set
of recordings to realise contrasting perspectives on the
same set of circumstances. Of the two, Meirino’s Les
oiseaux du lac Stymphale is much more upfront, favour-
ing the louder dynamics and haphazard shock of builders
hammers, saws and clanking machinery to birth a deeply
resonant bass modulation at the core of his kinetic scene,
eventually tailing off to quieter, scrabbling electronics
before resuming the drone intensity at a different key.
ILIOS’ L’Hydre de Lerne is, by turns, quieter and more
subtle, creating the illusion of an everyday work site
scene morphing with aleatoric magick into a swarming
symphony of discordant, visceral drill tones and clangour.
A must for anyone who enjoys taking their lunch by a
building site (hand up here).


Both [of these pieces] are concerned with the stuff of
legend; L’Hydre de Lerne by ILIOS makes a connection
the mythical Hydra killed by Heracles during his
labours. ILIOS’ approach initially seems utmost hands-
off, allowing vague industrial recordings to continue,
seemingly untouched, certainly unhurried, for lengthy
periods of time. There are times when this drags a
little too much, but gradually one senses the movement
from dullness to deliberation, drones overlaid to produce
a complex pitch focus. This too is allowed to sit and
move ever-so-slowly, and just when one’s patience
reaches its threshold, a deep bass drone appears,
seemingly coalescing everything above into a harmony,
although this could well be a sonic illusion. I spoke
before of the benefits of allowing sounds time to speak;
here, it seems too much, an indulgence even, and what
it all has to do with the Lernaean Hydra is a little hard
to say. Francisco Meirino’s Les oiseaux du lac Stymphale,
evoking the mythical birds from Heracles’ sixth labour,
is wholeheartedly more convincing. In similar fashion to
ILIOS, it opens in blank industrial field recordings, but
in no time Meirino shoves into the foreground a huge
electronic drone that just sits there, glow(er)ing like
a red hot ember, the beating of its upper frequencies
speeding and slowing. This immediately establishes
a sense of competition between authentic and synthetic
sounds, one which Meirino keeps taut for minutes on
end, each element gradually upping the ante through
increases in density and/or dynamic. Both are abruptly
cancelled out, whereupon they recommence in a lower-
case environment, each almost trying to outdo the other
in terms of restraint. However, conflict without capitul-
ation or conciliation can only escalate, and what follows
is a wonderfully slow crescendo where noise and pitch
gradually accrete layers of material and momentum,
resulting in a dazzling display of drama from what are,
ultimately, very simple elements. If this is what it was
like coming up against the Stymphalian birds, serious
kudos to Heracles.

Simon Cummings at 5:4