Alga Marghen proudly presents two sublime pieces by Eliane Radigue, 'Jouet Electronique' (1967) for feedback on magnetic tape and 'Elemental I' (1968) for feedback of natural sounds on magnetic tape. Both works, recorded at Pierre Henry's Studio Apsome in Paris, have not been published before. Between 1967 and 1968, Eliane Radigue was the assistant of Pierre Henry in his studio, mainly for the editing of 'L'Apocalypse de Jean.' He also put her in charge of organizing his sound archive according to different criteria. It was endless work -- there were incredible sounds, a true sound library! Eliane Radigue really enjoyed doing this work, even if it took a long time. So, sometimes she decided to set the machines of the studio to do some little work on her own. 'Jouet Electronique' and 'Elemental I' were born this way as a kind of recreation during her time as a studio assistant.
Working with feedback is something that Eliane Radigue learned through Pierre Henry. Do you remember 'Voyage'? There's that fluid part which is made of feedback constructed with a microphone. Everything had to be set at a precise distance from the loudspeakers because that is the specific problem with feedback -- you have to be at the right distance. Afterwards, these high tone recordings were slowed down in order to discover the deeper character of their color. This work with feedback was in the end quite limited and the composer preferred working with two reel tape machines to produce sounds. The first was set on the recording mode while the other was playing and it was the accidents happening in this phase that made the feedback richer. With some fine-tuning you could reach very beautiful results: low pulsations, very high-pitched sounds -- sometimes both at the same time -- or long sounds. All of these sounds could be slowed down or accelerated, which gave her a beautiful material to work with. With 'Jouet Electronique' Eliane Radigue had a lot of fun, hence the title. As far as 'Elemental I' is concerned, it was the first attempt at something which was very important to her based on the theme of the basic elements: water, fire, air and earth. Eliane had the chance to record in open air thanks to a small Stella Vox that Arman gave her in the beginning of the 1960s. At the time she was still living in Nice and every now and then she went for a walk to do some recordings of the sea, the wind, the rain, the fire -- Eliane Radigue continued this way to build her very minimal sound library, consisting of not more than ten reel tapes. This was the starting point and in 1968 she used these recordings for her work with two reel tape machines.
With a text by Emmanuel Holterbach and a photo portrait by Arman."