When it comes to seminal efforts within the field of avant-garde electronic and electroacoustic music, it's hard to think of a name more important than Groupe de recherches musicales (GRM). Founded in 1958 by Pierre Schaeffer, this collective, studio, and center for creative research and practice, over the course of more than half a century of continuous activity, has offered shelter to some of the most notable names in 20th and 21st century sound.
For a bit more than a decade, as most will know, GRM has been producing a series of expansive CD box sets, surveying the efforts of some of the most notable names associated with it - Schaeffer, Luc Ferrari, François Bayle, Éliane Radigue, etc.
As incredible as each has been, for many the most coveted and loved was the 2008, 12 CD survey of Bernard Parmegiani. The subsequent feeding frenzy pushed it out of print as fast as it came. Now, at long last, after more than a decade, GRM has produced another run of this absolutely astounding object. If you missed it the first time around, your chance has finally come.
Two decades into the 21st century, few fans of avant-garde and experimental music will need introduction to Bernard Parmegiani. He is a towering name in the field of electronic and electroacoustic music. Particularly for artists and musicians working with synthesis, his work receives an almost unparalleled level of devotion. But, surprisingly, recognition came late to the composer. For most of his life and career, he lingered in the shadow of his more famous peers at GRM.
Even without addressing the remarkable and singular and body of music he produced, Parmegiani, who passed away in 2013, was a fascinating figure. Initially a student of theatre and mime, he shifted toward music during the 1950s, becoming one of the first students to study under Pierre Schaeffer at GRM, shortly after its founding, before joining its ranks.
Like many of his contemporaries, and arguably to the greatest degree of all of them, Parmegiani was devoted to the possibility of experimental and avant-garde realization of sound and music having a direct interface with everyday life. For this reason, a great deal of his music was created for film, television, and theatre, made over the course of his long tenure as head of the Music/Image unit for French Television (ORTF), very little of which saw formal release.
GRM's astounding, 12 CD survey - the first of its kind - gathers 33 of Parmegiani's compositions, created between 1964 and 2007, offering an expansive entry point into the composer's incredible body of work - an immersive free-standing world, filled with experimentation and adventure, not to mention the startling brilliant and unique sense of humor and whit that sets his work apart from the pack, within which strange sound sources and audio manipulations continuously play tricks on the senses, rethinking the possibilities and potential of organized sound.
A true visionary who, in many ways, outstepped his precursors and peers alike, Parmegiani's use of concrete, electronic, electroacoustic, and Acousmatic techniques, across the vast scope of this set, a remarkable diverse series of pieces unfold as one of the most significant bodies of work created in the 20th century and beyond, remaining hugely influential on a remarkable range of musical pioneers that followed in his wake, from Christian Fennesz, Aphex Twin, to Jim O'Rourke and countless others working today.
Absolutely incredible across the breadth of many hours it takes to devour, we couldn't possible recommend this one enough. It's just about as revelatory, essential, and mind blowing as they come. Complete with 92 page book, exploring Parmegiani and this seminal body of work, this first ever reissue of this long out of print box is sure to go as fast as it did the first time around. Don't miss you chance, it's an absolute bargain.
CD1 : Violostries. Jazzex. L'instant mobile. Capture éphémère.
CD2 : Bidule en ré. Pop'eclectic. Du pop à l'âne. Ponomatopées. Musico Picassa. Et après…
CD3 : L'œil écoute. Pour en finir avec le pouvoir d'Orphée. La roue ferris.
CD4 : Enfer.
CD5 : De natura sonorum.
CD6 : Dedans-dehors. La table des matières. Des mots et des sons.
CD7 : La création du monde.
CD8 : Exercismes.
CD9 : Litaniques. Rouge mort : Thanatos. E pericoloso sporgersi.
CD10 : Trilogie plain temps.
CD11 : Sonare. Sons - Jeux. La mémoire des sons.
CD12 : Immer/Sounds. Espèces d'espaces. Au gré du souffle, le son s'envole. Rêveries.