Robert Hampson – VECTORS


The days of Main are long gone, that project having introduced receptive listeners to the delights of drone-informed guitar modification with several spellbinding milestones, Hz being perhaps the most praiseworthy. But Robert Hampson’s music keeps radiating an enigmatic aura which is all the more perplexing – yet always most welcome – given his recent work’s increasing use of concrete sounds. Vectors, arriving after a long silence, gathers three fine electroacoustic episodes from 2006-2008, two commissioned by Radio France, the third created for a festival in Poitiers. “Umbra” recalls the composer’s past glories, a splendid piece that makes the room quiver with sympathetic frequencies, as unintelligible pseudo-biotic interferences induce a feeling of helplessness in the listener amidst miasmic damp and nocturnal doubt. “Ahead – Only the Stars” opens the lungs a little, luminous electronic wakes introducing elements of hypermodernity systematically intercut with sporadic intermissions of digital energy and subsonic threat. “Dans le lointain” is a succession of snapshots in which polychromatic figures are filtered by computer-generated settings, transforming everything into a black-white-and-grey nerve-racking unease. Impressive stuff, and the worthy conclusion to a tremendous record that testifies to Hampson’s status as a master of the genre.


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