(All Music Guide-May 2002)

Formanex "Treatise • Cornelius Cardew" (Fibrr 04 / 2002)

The disc begins in a state of quiet agitation. There’s a near-impossible to hear click, regular, about the tempo of a 45 rpm record but it’s soon swallowed in an only slightly louder rumble which, in turn, is overlaid by a quasi-rhythmic scratch, as of an electrical lead making periodic contact with its ground. This begins to describe the sound-world of {Formanex}, a French quartet which chooses to remain as anonymous as possible, wanting the listener to consider only the music, not the individual musicians or the particular technology they wield. They have worked with {AMM}’s brilliant {Keith Rowe} (see the superb album {[N:Q]}, also on {fibrr}) and that pioneering group’s influence is certainly heard in several aspects of this performance. One is the generation of a palpable aural space; the music breathes and has volume, filling the listener’s ears with all manner of detail. Another is a concern with time and scale. The sonic elements aren’t hurried or pushed but allowed to dwell in the foreground until they’re ready to move on, sometimes to be recalled later, other times to evaporate. {Formanex} is quite capable of interjecting rude noises into the proceedings and it does so as the first piece reaches its latter third, but they’re most effective when investigating subtler areas. The second track begins again with repeated brush-like strokes, this time eventually supporting a combination of percussive, echoing bangs and sine wave blips. A series of groaning, rubbed tones predominates for several minutes but that initial brush pattern always lingers and carries the piece off in an array of soft, keening whistles. The listener has a visceral impression of having “visited” a very real, if abstract, space. An impressive album by a still-young band, {Formanex} is highly recommended to fans of {AMM} and the post- {AMM}, electro-acoustic improvisation scene generally.

Formanex/Computers/Bass/Theremin/Guitar/Electronics/Percussion/Saxophone/Objects

1) Untitled~26:32~Formanex

2) Untitled~30:01~Formanex

Brian Olewnick