PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

Experimental Electronic Producer Automatisme Produces a Work of Sonic Cubism with ' Transit'

Photo: Marilyn Lamoureux / Courtesy of Constellation Records

On Transit producer William Jourdain a.k.a. Automatisme takes his avant-garde notions to the next level.

Transit
Automatisme

Constellation

24 August 2018

Constellation, the famed experimental record label from Canada might be known for releasing most of the monumental works from Montreal's post-rock scene, but surely and steadily they have also been putting out some intriguing works of experimental electronic music. An example was Joni Void's 2017 Selfless, an excellent specimen of the adventurous side of electronic music. Another artist that has found a home in Constellation is no other than William Jourdain, known from his project Automatisme.

With Automatisme Jourdan walks down a path paved by a long lineage of iconoclastic producers, including the likes of Mika Vainio and Carsten Nicolai. By finding a point of origin in the use of field recordings, Jourdain transforms these sonic landscapes into a range of different sceneries. Through the use of rhythmic glitch, noise, sonic collage, and slow drones, Automatisme carves out an avant-garde music ethic, which encapsulates ideas from dub techno to power electronics. Having released his debut album, Momentform Accumulations a few years back, and continuing to build a strong discography with his collaboration with Erinome in Post-Landscape and the self-released E.T.I Space, Transit Et Indivu, Jourdain now sets out on a new journey with Transit.

As the title of the album suggests, this is a record that does not stay still. It is always moving between different moods and areas with great fluidity. The kickoff to this work is intriguing as it introduces the ambient side of Automatisme with a mystical quality before the glitch element takes over in a most emphatic manner. But, despite the schizoid element, Jourdain navigates through, there is always a return towards this atmospheric edge in its different manifestations. "Bureau 3" presents a dense atmosphere, as the constant, piercing frequency carries over the deep sounding synth percussion building an alarming sense with its subtle increase in volume over time. On the other hand, "Bateau 2" sees a more serene viewpoint rise to the surface as the synths arrive like waves from an unknown point of origin.

The drone element is one of the key factors in creating such a strong and diverse ambiance for the record. Still, Jourdain does not offer a pedestrian rendition of drone music and performs some interesting sonic alchemy to achieve this result. "Bureau 1" sees this complicated quality come forth, as Automatisme lays down the foundation of the ambiance through the use of drones, with Jourdain causing the track to evolve through the incorporation of glitch elements slowly. The resulting ambiance is asphyxiating, radiating with a claustrophobic quality as if you find yourself trapped inside a submarine deep under the surface of the sea.

Where drone and ambient elements form the foundation of this work, it is the glitch and noise qualities that provide its inhuman heartbeat. The harsh quality of that scene gives a volatile and unpredictable characteristic to the progression. The opening track features such a wonderful field of sonic collages, with Jourdain pushing into the power electronics territory with his extravagant ideas. At the same time, this element interacts with the rhythmic aspects of the record, laying out some bizarre beats. "Bureau 2" sees the soft, palpable synth percussion adding to the movement caused by the glitchy synth, creating this illusion of conflict between the subtle quality of the rhythm and the electrifying presence of glitch.

While Jourdain investigates the experimental spaces of electronic music, he does not forget where the foundations of the genre lie. Producing interpretations of techno music with his own brew of post-techno and dub techno notions, he unveils the excellent "Registrariat". The monotonous beating of techno music meets with the droning background and the expressive sound design of Jourdain to create a sublime result, which gives rise to a blissful scenery. This perspective is also prevalent in "Bateau 1", which is one of the catchier moments of the record featuring vocal samples that aid in its urgent rendition.

The interpretation of the field recordings through this impressive barrage of drones, glitch, noise and sound design make Transit feel like a work of sonic cubism. While the shapes and edges of the original structures are still present and the overall offering displays many qualities of electronic music, the result is one of true avant-garde expression. Jourdain performs an extravagant process of transformation, one that mutates and, to an extent, mutilates the qualities of the original recordings, in a most fascinating way.

8

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Peter Frampton Asks "Do You Feel Like I Do?" in Rock-Solid Book on Storied Career

British rocker Peter Frampton grew up fast before reaching meteoric heights with Frampton Comes Alive! Now the 70-year-old Grammy-winning artist facing a degenerative muscle condition looks back on his life in his new memoir and this revealing interview.

Books

Bishakh Som's 'Spellbound' Is an Innovative Take on the Graphic Memoir

Bishakh's Som's graphic memoir, Spellbound, serves as a reminder that trans memoirs need not hinge on transition narratives, or at least not on the ones we are used to seeing.

Music

Gamblers' Michael McManus Discusses Religion, Addiction, and the Importance of Writing Open-Ended Songs

Seductively approachable, Gamblers' sunny sound masks the tragedy and despair that populate the band's debut album.

Books

Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.

Film

In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.

Music

The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.

Television

The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.

Music

The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller
Music

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.

Music

When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.

Music

20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.

Music

The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.

Books

Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.

Music

Kimm Rogers' "Lie" Is an Unapologetically Political Tune (premiere)

San Diego's Kimm Rogers taps into frustration with truth-masking on "Lie". "What I found most frustrating was that no one would utter the word 'lie'."

Music

50 Years Ago B.B. King's 'Indianola Mississippi Seeds' Retooled R&B

B.B. King's passion for bringing the blues to a wider audience is in full flower on the landmark album, Indianola Mississippi Seeds.

Film

Filmmaker Marlon Riggs Knew That Silence = Death

In turning the camera on himself, even in his most vulnerable moments as a sick and dying man, filmmaker and activist Marlon Riggs demonstrated the futility of divorcing the personal from the political. These films are available now on OVID TV.

Film

The Human Animal in Natural Labitat: A Brief Study of the Outcast

The secluded island trope in films such as Cast Away and television shows such as Lost gives culture a chance to examine and explain the human animal in pristine, lab like, habitat conditions. Here is what we discover about Homo sapiens.

Music

Bad Wires Release a Monster of a Debut with 'Politics of Attraction'

Power trio Bad Wires' debut Politics of Attraction is a mix of punk attitude, 1990s New York City noise, and more than a dollop of metal.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.