A student of both Pierre Schaeffer and Eliane Radigue, since her emergence during the 1970s, the French composer, Michèle Bokanowski, has carved a fascinating trajectory with the fields of electronic and electroacoustic music. Working primarily for film, television, and dance, over a discography of works that span the decades, she has built a singular world of profound sonic densities, colours, and depth. In the words of GRM’s artist director François Bonnet ( Kassel Jaeger), Bokanowski’s immense talent lies in her particular ability to “find the right development for each sound, letting it blossom before altering it, adapting the musical structure to let the sounds 'be', even if it sometimes means returning to the most basic form”, truths that are impossible to avoid across the two sides of Recollection GRM’s LP, Rhapsodia / Battements Solaires.
Only the second time Bokanowski’s work has ever appeared on vinyl, Rhapsodia / Battements Solaires comprises two works of astounding scope, honesty, and artistic sensitivity. The first, Rhapsodia (two movements and one interlude) was created in 2018 in the composer's own studio and is dedicated to the choreographer, Marceline Lartigue, with whom she worked. An electroacoustic effort of striking restraint built around subtle cycles and pulses threaded by shifting long-tones, the composition’s gracefully interlaced elements form into stunning expanses of meditative ambience that seem bound to the recent loss of the composer’s calibrator and friend.
The second work, Battements Solaires, composed in 2008 for her husband Patrick Bokanowski's film of the same name, delves even deeper into astounding expanses of brooding, electroacoustic ambience. Rubbling lows form a root for near imperceptible tonal shifts and layers of textural intervention that seem to bend temporarily and be lost in time, forming a radical rethinking of terms and definitions of drone.
Unquestionably one of the most engaging and exciting efforts of electroacoustic music we’ve heard all year, Michèle Bokanowski’s Rhapsodia / Battements Solaires is a truly stunning accomplishment that remains locked in the mind and ear long after its last sounding has rung. A truly singular voice that leaves you longing for more, it would be impossible to recommend this one enough. Among the best of Recollection GRM’s releases, it’s bound to blow minds and fly off the shelves.