Country : Canada Label : Joly Records Genres and styles : Ambient / Drone / Electroacoustic Year : 2024

Alexandre Tessier – Temps

· by Laurent Bellemare

Alexandre Tessier describes his work as the composition of dystopian soundscapes. It’s true that listening to his latest album, one senses the legacy of pioneers such as Vangelis on the Blade Runner soundtrack. But comparisons aside, Temps is a subtle, spellbinding work, adapted to today’s science-fiction imaginary. Temps seamlessly blends analog and digital work, superimposing the ancient on the modern. This recalls the inevitable return to a Lo-Tek (low technology) lifestyle foreshadowed by many dystopias, an imposed minimalism that would follow our era of infinite growth. Tessier thus invents a universe where the disintegration of nature by human enterprise is matched only by the organic renewal that silences technology. In all four pieces, synthesized sounds coexist with clear references to nature, accentuating this feedback loop.       

‘Amont’ opens with the naive, diffuse interactions of children, quickly swallowed up by the low drone of synthesized sounds. The music here develops slowly and in gradual changes, the composer’s preferred method throughout the album. The white noise of the technological world gradually takes over from the rain and birdsong of ‘Laurentides’. In ‘Fugit’, the roaring engine of a car gets lost in the contemplative evolution of the synthesizers, while a saturated, glitching noise tries to fight and supplant the quietude of the picture, a slow takeover which eventually happens. The album closes with ‘Aval’, the noisiest piece of the lot, but one that nonetheless plummets into the static of a minor chord, and then into nothingness.          

And so the album comes to a close with no clear winner, either in the natural or the artificial world. The liminal sound space created by Alexandre Tessier reminds us of the fragility of these concepts, as well as of man-made technological infrastructure. Chaotic and soothing, Temps allows one to dream of an epilogue to the cataclysmic troubles foreshadowed by our “mal du siècle.”

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