Eliane Radigue – ELEMENTAL II


The inaugural release on Kasper T.Toeplitz’s new label ROSA (Recordings Of Sleaze Art) is nothing less than a composition by Eliane Radigue, one of the very few artists who can really claim the copyright of the term “minimalism”. In a blindfold listening session, one could be fooled into thinking it’s a work for electronic tape, but it was recorded live at the Cités Soniques Festival in Paris in 2004 and the clouds of mystery thicken when you read that the only sound maker involved is Toeplitz himself, on an electric bass that I failed to identify throughout the piece – and that’s meant as a compliment. Elemental because it’s a representation in sound of the five basic elements, but also elemental in terms of the fundamental energy that’s been the essence of Radigue’s output for decades. As soon as the first waves start, an intense subsonic activity is at work purifying our nervous system, the protective barriers raised by these frequencies constituting a comfortable refuge during a continuously flickering yet slowly changing state of emergency, memories of early human activity evoked in a decaying 8mm film. This cocoon generates electricity, but it also attracts bewildering calls from beyond, purposeful indications of new ways of approaching the reeling holiness that only Radigue can depict. Elemental II is a fresh take on ancient literature, music that moves towards the centre of a gravitational architecture based upon the extremes of the audio range, but it’s also a spectacular reproduction of eternal sound, the mass of vibrations that probably gave birth to primitive forms of life itself. Being surrounded by Madame Radigue’s undying cycles of slow motion radiance is one of the most wonderful experiences a sensitive listener could aspire to.


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