Eliane Radigue, 1980

Back at the very end of 1980, Eliane Radigue performed a lengthy concert on the radio station KPFA. The nearly two hours of music included the world premiere of her Triptych, a work of trenchant drones that originated as a piece for choreography. The second of its three parts had premiered two years earlier, in 1978, as part of Dancehall/Theatre of Nancy production. (I know little to nothing of Dancehall/Theatre of Nancy. If anyone has information to share, I would appreciate it. I’m assuming the Nancy is Nancy, France, and this is related to Jack Lang’s work there in the arts.)

That original composition was, as of 1980, now bookended by two other pieces, similarly built from tones whose slight variations yielded intense beading, patterns, the minimalism of which didn’t even make an effort to belie what was, in fact, a quite forceful sonic presence.

And those Triptych recordings have now, thanks to Important Records, been remastered for the album 11 Dec 1980. Also included is “Chry-Ptus,” a piece for synthesizer originally composed in 1971, and the sounds of which are slightly more varied, ranging from white noise to metronomic pulses to high-pitched whirs to warbling wave forms that sound like science-fiction effects, à la the BBC Radiophonic Workshop — but all still held tight and close, exhibiting Radigue’s refined control. This is exhilarating music, at once static and energizing, meditative and fierce.


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