XENAKIS: Electronic Music I, “La Légende d’Eer” (2005)

by | Oct 30, 2005 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

XENAKIS: Electronic Music I, “La Légende d’Eer” (2005)

Film by Bruno Rastoin
Studio: Mode Records X-5 148
Video: Enhanced for 16:9 widescreen; Interview: 4:3
Audio: Dolby Digital & DTS 5.1, PCM Stereo 96K-24bit
Region: None
Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish
Extras: Interview with Xenakis by Harry Halbreich (67 min.); Essays by Makis Solomos and Bruno Rastoin in 2 printed booklets
Length: 1 hours, 55 minutes
Rating: **

In 1977 and 78 noted mathematically-centered composer Iannis Xenakis
staged a multimedia piece in the streets of Paris for the opening of
the Centre Georges-Pompidou.  It was a giant suspended
architectural construction of his own design which appeared to me to
have been inspired by the pods in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The
visual component – synchronized exactly to the electronic score created
by Xenakis – included 1680 electronic flashes, 400 mirrors and 4
lasers.  The combined experience of the curvaceous structure and
the electroacoustic multichannel tape was designed to suggest a
departure, journey, and a final return.

Evidently no one thought to preserve the experience on motion picture
film or video after all that work, and all that remains are about 350
color slides shot by M. Rastoin – which with simple dissolves and frequent segments of a
completely dark screen, make up the film. Included are not only views
of the Diatope (as it was called), but also closeups of the engineering
drawings and scribbles of Xenakis in designing the presentation. The
new 96/24 DTS 5.1 mix was mastered from Xenakis’ original seven-track
analog tapes.  The fidelity and surround component are excellent,
but those used to much of today’s high-tech electronic music may find
the narrow range of timbres used by Xenakis to become rather tiring.
“Bodies of sound and cataclysmic noises” are some of the descriptions,
so don’t say I didn’t warn you. The long interview with Xenakis is
apologized for in advance of viewing; it wasn’t designed for commercial
issue. And it truly  is a technical disaster.

– John Sunier

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