This is Luc Ferrari’s second disc for Mode and it features three pieces from different periods and for different ensembles, two of which are first recordings. “Visage 2” is for brass and percussion and was written in 1955-56. This is an early work for Ferrari and it is informed by his study of serialism at Darmstadt, yet is based on the confrontation between two sexual bodies (note the lovely nude woman on the cover with Ferrari as he looks over his composition on the page). The music itself is vibrant, intense and carefully balanced. “apres presque rien“ was composed in 2004 and commissioned by the legendary French progressive band Art Zoyd, whose keyboard player Patricia Dallio performs here along with the Musique Nouvelles Ensemble. The piece has evolved through a series of six different versions of "Presque Rien" and is performed here by two sampler players and fourteen musicians. The music has an intense, free-wheeling, spiralling spirit with sections of odd samples, like an orchestra tuning up and random noises not so easy to identify. It sounds as if two different worlds are colliding (the acoustic instruments & the samples) yet it remains connected underneath. As the piece evolves, the orchestra and samples become more integrated and complex. I get the feeling that the more I listen to this piece, the more will be revealed, the more it will make sense overall. “Madame de Shanghai” was composed in 1996 is performed by the Scottish Flute Trio with digital samples. The music is based on the idea of a mirror and the way an image is reflected and altered. There are samples of a young Chinese woman walking around Paris with snippets of parts from Orson Welles film, “The Lady from Shanghai”. Again, Ferrari does a wonderful job of weaving the samples with the flutes into a rich blend. What I find most fascinating about Luc Ferrari is that each of his compositions create a new world or place/space in our minds which always takes some time and consideration to explore fully. CD of the week? No doubt!
— Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery