Each note played by the horn is imitated by the ensemble of nine players after a varying time-lag: the work is, in fact, an instrumental simulation of the analogical studio technique known as the "reinjection loop". A sound played live is recorded by a tape machine passed on to a second machine which plays the recorded sound, then sent back to the first machine to be combined with a new recorded sound, which is in turn played by the second tape machine and so on. In the process, the quality of the recorded sounds progressively deteriorates into noise as the same tape is repeatedly played and copied. In Mémoire/Erosion, the ensemble not merely simulates the soloist's music but distorts it like the tape machines, pushing it towards disorder and noise. The soloists starts with the most orderly material possible - often, as at the start, a single note and, initially, the ensemble imitates obediently. Soon, however, the tuning goes away, the rhythmic contours are massaged, the timbres drift into non-harmonic sound and what began as a simple repeated figure has been transformed into a dense, chaotic texture. As the work progresses, the horn tries with increasing desperation to fight this entropic process, eventually launching into a wild, barking cadenza of whoops and glissandi - in vain, for this merely makes the texture still more chaotic. During a final moment of noise, the composer himself intervenes by switching off this imaginary tape machine!
1 CD Accord,
Mémoire/Erosion - Ethers - C'est un jardin secret, ma soeur, ma fiancée, une source scellée, une fontaine close... - Les Courants de l'espace
Alain Noël (horn), Ensemble l'Itinéraire, Charles Bruck (conductor) - Pierre-Yves artaud (flute), Ami Flammer (violin), Geneviève Renon (viola), David Simpson (cello), Joëlle Léandre (doublebass), Christian Marchand (trombone), Jacques Mercier (conductor) - Sylvie Altenburger (viola) - Jeanne Loriod (ondes Martenot), Orchestre National de France, Yves Prin (conductor)