Frédéric Tentelier’s Silences

As exhibited on On Établit un Temps, On Creuse un Épais

There are numerous elements in “Du clos de l’ouvert” and “Se pencher sur la forme d’un fil, I,” the two tracks made available for streaming from Frédéric Tentelier’s On Établit un Temps, On Creuse un Épais. The album was released earlier this month by Hitorri, a label from Tokyo, Japan. The accompanying text lists its contents, “field recordings, Fender Rhodes, organs, banjo, objects,” and judging by these two pieces, “objects” should come first in the list, so flush is the album with sounds that while not identifiable are contraindicatory of any sort of standard issue instrument. Instead there is a subtle chamber music of cracks and thwaps and creaks and knocks, with drones and bell tones and bits of melodic suggestiveness in between. And higher still on the list of materials should be “silence,” because beautiful as the source audio scraps are in combination, what really makes them work is how much space there is between them and within them, how the slightest sound is allowed full center-stage presence, and how any two bits might be separated by a significant lull. The silences are so prominent that even when they are absent, the music is heard against them as a backdrop. When sounds quiet down, they aren’t merely quiet. They are exposing the silence around them.

Album originally posted at

Disquiet Junto Project 0029: Count Zero

The Assignment: Make music from running water, inspired by William Gibson's novel Count Zero.

Each Thursday evening at the Disquiet Junto group on a new compositional challenge is set before the group’s members, who then have just over four days to upload a track in response to the assignment. Membership to the Junto is open: just join and participate.

This week’s project makes use of field recordings, a not uncommon source of sonic material in the Disquiet Junto series of weekly music projects. The particular idea this week originates in the following description at the start of chapter 17 in the 1986 novel Count Zero by William Gibson. I selected this version of the book’s cover, because it’s the paperback I own:

This idea of running water as music, in particular as “one of the oldest songs,” is highlighted in various ways in the chapter, which is titled “The Squirrel Wood,” and in the book as a whole. In the next paragraph of the chapter there’s an implied contrast to an artificial canopy in a forest, with its “mimetic approximations of leaves and branches.” More broadly, this is a novel in which there is an ongoing concern about possible Voudoun spirits running loose in cyberspace. The console jockeys make their money, and their names, reading signals: gleaning meaning from perceived noise.

I’d had the idea for some time of using running water in a Disquiet Junto project as the proposed source of a track, so my imagination was primed when I came across this notion in the novel when I recently reread it for the first time in many years. I was rereading Count Zero because of all Gibson’s novels, it lingers with me the most, in part because of its themes of corporate espionage, which I find fascinating, but also because this is the book of his that I found most difficult to pierce when I first read it. One interesting final note: This chapter holds special meaning in the broader novel, because it is the only chapter whose title is repeated. “The Squirrel Wood” is also the title of the book’s final chapter.

In any case, that’s all backdrop to this week’s project.

The assignment was made late in the day, California time, on Thursday, July 19, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, July 23, as the deadline. View a search return for all the entries as they are posted: disquiet0029-countzero.

Bonus: In advance of the project’s announcement, I tweeted some information about it from the account, and William Gibson himself (aka retweeted it not once but twice: Continue reading “Disquiet Junto Project 0029: Count Zero”