SUAL Archives | 2013
Jean-François Laporte: Mantra — sound projection
Type: Source recording provided by the artist
Mantra is a single recording of 26 minutes length, [presenting] 6 huge compressors that serve to refresh ice skating rinks.
I spent many a winters’ evening in hockey rinks across Vermont, and the only air compressors in the joints were located inside the Zambonis. And upon first listen, anyone who’s spent those twenty minutes in between periods watching the grand machine make its rounds would immediately and justifiably jump to the same conclusion. […] In writing about his recording, Laporte states, “To be a mantra, a sound must possess certain qualities: it must have a fairly long duration, it must be a periodical sound or repeat itself in a cyclical manner, the progression of the sound events must take place almost imperceptibly, and finally it must have some kind of influence on our energy.” His examples of mantras are the sounds of refrigerator, automobiles on highways, or “the noise of the machines which are an integral part of our daily working life.” […] Mantra is a deeply moving piece of mechanical mysticism, like a lawnmower on acid. While the Zamboni keeps things cold, Laporte’s sound is quite warm, never harsh, and flows from timbre to timbre with a gentle fluidity. As the whir morphs from a deep zum to puréed clicks, you can imagine the Zamboni circling the rink, growing louder and clearer as it approaches, becoming sonically intense as it passes you by, then softening on its way to the opposite blue line. Near the mantra’s conclusion, a bolt comes loose somewhere inside the beast, causing an arrhythmic rattling, similar to something Autechre might dream up. Knowingly or not, Laporte’s Mantra makes perfect sense in the end. […] Mantra is a wonderful twist of the avant-concrete medium and reveals the beauty hiding in our wide world of din.
[Otis Hart, Dusted Reviews, USA, 2002]
Jean-François Laporte takes an intuitive approach to creating music, learning through concrete experimentation with sound. By actively listening to each sound, he strives to understand its reality and its underlying structure. His music is the result of working closely with the raw materials of sound. These sounds come from the everyday environment or from both traditional and invented instruments, with no form of hierarchy. Along with his activities as a composer, Jean-François has been developing and making musical instruments that produce unconventional sounds. The composer recently added robotic and computerized controls to some of his invented instruments (the Flying Can, the Tu-Yo and the Bowl), giving them new autonomy and increasing their possibilities (the Kyokkoufu visual and sound installation presented in 2007 at Centro Galego de Arte Contemporeania in Galica-Spain. Also the Khôra visual and sound installation presented in September 2002 in Montréal, produced by Fonderie Darling). In addition to works for invented instruments, since 2000, Jean-François has composed a large number of works for conventional instruments (Saxophone Quartet, String Trio, String Quartet, Piano, Cello, Contemporary ensemble, etc.).
[info as of 11/2013]