**500 hand-numbered copies, gatefold cover, printed inner sleeves.** Avant-garde and experimental music belong to the great utopian projects of 20th Century; endeavors that, at their roots, sought liberation and collectivism through the acts of human creativity. Nowhere is this historically more apparent than within France during the decades that followed the Second World War. The country became a magnet for artists and musicians from across the globe - offering shelter, freedom, and support - while countless creative voices sprang from within, embarking on numerous discrete ventures, across multiple sonic disciplines, that sought these lofty aims. Among the most important of the later was unquestionably Luc Ferrari, who, in addition to his own widely celebrated solo efforts in the field electroacoustic music, founded the legendary collective, Atelier de Libération de la Musique, in 1975 with Martin Davorin Jagodic, Philippe Besombes, Alain Petit and David Jisse. Conceived as a means to harness the power and potential of collaborative improvisation, the project’s almost entirely unheard output was the subject of an incredible LP from Alga Marghen back in 2018. Now the venerable imprint returns with Labyrinthe de Violence, another astounding album of previously unreleased recordings, stretching across two LPs. Truly stunning on both historical and creative terms, it takes further crucial leaps toward revealing Luc Ferrari as he’s rarely been heard or understood. This one is wild, wonder, and not to be missed!
In the histories of electronic, musique concrète, and electroacoustic music, Luc Ferrari is nothing short of a legend; a visionary pioneer across the board. Initially a classically trained pianist who studied under Alfred Cortot, Olivier Messiaen, and Arthur Honegger, following a meeting with the composer, Edgard Varèse, in 1954, he radically changed paths toward the developing field of electronic music, co-founding, four years later with Pierre Schaeffer and François-Bernard Mâche, the legendary Parisian studio and collective Groupe de Recherches Musicales.
Arguably to the greatest degree among his peers, Ferrari saw avant-garde and experimental music as holding great potential for direct social impact, regarding it as a music of the people, activating arching collaboration, rather than something to be produced for a stuffy concert hall. In his own words, “To free music from the constraints of style and aesthetics; to free the arts from the abstraction to train him for comprehensible actions; to be rather a craftsman of imagination.” Nowhere in the composer’s output is this more transparent than within his work within the collective Atelier de Libération de la Musique.
Alga Marghen’s latest release of previously unreleased recordings by Luc Ferrari, Labyrinthe de Violence, captures the elusive sounds of the four tapes the composers conceived for his multimedia / audiovisual performances at Galiéra Museum and Cesi Point F in Paris between 1975 and 1977, also featuring slide projections by Brunhild Ferrari and Luc himself. Each side of this two LP set reproduces the sonorization of one of the four rooms in the Museum, automatically mixing in the central space and seeking in its totality to evoke the violence of contemporary society in reaction to the political situation of that moment, incorporating the themes: Power, Violence, Pollution, Mecanical, Landscape, Ephemeral, and Songs. The same recordings focus on questions of utopia through many of the same themes.
As a totality, the four sides of Labyrinthe de Violence present a fascinating juncture between Ferrari’s more well known electro-acoustic and musique concrète efforts and those illuminated by the labels previous release dedicated to the collective that verged far closer to free jazz than the composer had previously ever been heard. As such, not only is it astounding on creative terms, but it offers yet another thrilling window in the spirit of this great master and the root of his ideas. The sounds of Labyrinthe de Violence bleed seamlessly together, sculpting a total world or carefully calibrated chaos, interweaving vast ambiences, a cornucopia of tape fragments that capture non-instrumental sounds and voices, industrial drones, hums, and buzzes, wild synths, all rattling, droning, pulsing, and simmering within a dissonant whole.
Labyrinthe de Violence is a truly illuminating statement that takes us into the mind of one of the most important composers of the 20th Century, while deftly bridging the gap between us and the turbulent 1970s. Each of its works is brilliant through its ideas and imbued with a remarkable sense of directness, life, and feeling. They are human, open, and do everything which Ferrari set out to do in his grand project in sound. It boggles the mind to understand why these recordings have remained out of earshot for so long. Alga Marghen has done it again. Issued in a beautiful gatefold edition, these never before heard recordings are as essential as archival releases come.