qulet Parls street. Outside it's a fine morning, but as you pass through recent Philips relssue of Messe P w r Le Temps Pesent, the work that made Henry a the front door of Pierre Henry's house the present seems to vanish in a household name in the late 6 0 s as well as a remix version of the album featuring haze. Even the dlm llghting in his studio seems expressly designed to Coldcut, Funki Porcini, Tek 9, Dlmltri From Paris and others. But Inteneur/Dneneur is preserve the traces of the past that linger in every corner. On the walls the project that has prompted Henry to look back over his long career: "When you are Henry's sculptures: complex assemblages of plano strlngs, wires, reach the age of 7 0 and have been maklng music for 5 0 years and have created a ancient electrical components, daubs of paint -visual traces of a life spent immersed new, strange and different type of music, there comes a time when you ask yourself in sound. On a shelf which overlooks rows of Telefunken tape recorders, files jostle for why you did all that. My conclusion is that it didn't come from outside Influences, but space - handwritten manuscripts contalning lists of sounds, which are in turn stored from me, from my education and my childhood." on the magnetic tapes that fill most corners of the house "These sounds are my memory," comments Pierre Henry, a white-bearded, still sprightly 7 0 year old. "They correspond to different periods of my life and enable me to remember the past."
Pierre Henry was raised in the French countryside; the first sounds he was exposed to were the nolses of nature and distant, passing trains; they were to leave a lasting
Henry's muslcal life spans 5 0 eventful years, stretching back to the beginnings of impression. He was taught piano and percussion, the most unmusical of musical muslque concrete and electroacoustic music - those radical and controversial genres instruments, and recelved a formal musical education at the Paris Conservatoire where that were always looked down on by the classical music establishment because they he studied under Olivier Messlaen and Nadia Boulanger.The notions that he was to put used neither traditional musical instruments nor a score. Electroacousticsmight have to use in musique concrete came to him early on: "I used to play in an orchestra, and I calcified into an inflexible academy of its own, but Plerre Henry isn't only the most was struck by the fact that depending on where you were placed, you would hear the prolific composer of electroacoustic music differently. And if you selected music: he also broadened ~ t sscope 66 We had eight turntables and we used to run short extracts and listened to them, and appeal by composing music for they t ook on a completely new choreographers, painters and the frOmone to the other. We'dselect e,xklctsfrom meaning, because they were out of cinema, and organising spectacular context." musical happenings. the &CS and fade the d i f f e n t inputsh and out, Pierre Schaeffer, the founder of -
The r ecent performances of
/nteneur/&eneur, ha latest work, are just likeTechno DJs 39
muslque concrete, composed h ~ sflrst works In 1948, baslng them on a proof that he hasn't lost ha touch Last slrnllar d ~ s c o v e r y he was autumn thls plece was presented In the small, narrow rooms of h ~ shouse, draw~ngthe experlmentlng wlth the sound of a bell, and In a moment of Inattention, he recorded crowds over a period of five weeks Speakers were placed in each room, and the bell without the attack, obtaining a sound resembling an oboe. In other words, members of the audience lay on his bed and squatted h ~ skltchen and staircase, while sounds opened up Immense creatlve poss~b~lit~eswhen they were divorced from their t; Henry orchestrated the concert from his studlo. "There were sculptures for people to orlg~nalcontext.
look at, the acoustics were different In every room, there was the feeling of being in Henry had heard Schaeffer's first musique concrete pleces, created by manipulating 2 someone's house, and they could look around and move about durlng the phonograph turntables, and went to visit him In his studio at the French Radio. That g performance," he says. "Now that's what I call an event." encounter was to be the start of a long and fruitful collaboration. Henry brought with 9
Conceived as a musical, visual and participatory experience, this hour-long work him a recording of strange, percussive sounds "When Schaeffer heard my recording z 2 merged gasping voices, tinkling bells, unearthly shrieks and yells with lilting guitars and he said it was slmilar to what he was doing and he showed me how to speed i t up,
mysterious percussive noises Into an explosive collage. Its preoccupation with death slow it down, reverse it and record sounds on locked grooves [a technique similar to Gl and the unconscious, and the richness of its sound textures are typical of many of the tape loop that created a repetitive pattern by recording a sound on a groove that V E Henry's compositions. The new piece has been overshadowed somewhat by the formed a closed circle]."
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