Buiti Binafin. FRÉDÉRIC NOGRAY
Review by John McEnroe
Some times I want to listen to the sounds of the rain forest. Sometimes it’s be the best I can do to be fully or acousmatically transported away from the quotidian sounds that just potentialize the often boring and stressful character of my every day existence.
The cars, my house, people talking, the TV, the telephone…
Through the last three months I visited forest areas near my city way more often than usual. It becomes an incredible experience to be by yourself in the middle of all this nature, quietly listening to this multitude of sounds forcing the perception to multiple focus and finding some pleasure and meaning on that.
On the quest to visit the rain forest while in my house in the middle of a concrete jungle I found ’Buiti Binafin’ which immediately managed to transport me there. This is truly one of the potentials of field recording based music, the potential to transport the listener somewhere else whether it’s to the Antartica or to a shoes factory.
By recording the rain forest and the vast bio-diversity found there, the artist is addressing the power of nature in terms of is complexity. By playing back this recordings he plays the role of a distorting medium, a messenger of an ever- fading message. In a way the artist always mimics the nature but he is only successful when he ‘becomes’ the nature, when he finds ways to mimic the nature as a power, as a vector of strength and magnitude.
Why would the artist try to act as he was the nature?
Because only the nature and its forces helps establishing the sense of immeasurable magnitude and incompressible complexity that derive in an emotion we can refer to as the sublime.
The sublime seems to be an emotion that triggers many phonographic based works. This contact with the magnitude and power of the nature leaves a track, a void that the sound artist fills with his memory imprinted on the tape or the memory card.
In despite of its phonographic character the listener could ponder the artist’s craft in ‘Buiti Binafin’ at least through the fact that there is a rational and emotional structure throughout the work: the pice starts with loud sound of waves that later return through the end. All across the lengthy middle the listener enters a long fragment where he could hear mostly sounds made by animals. The artist’s craft can also be sensed on what seems like juxtaposition of sounds on some fragments of the release.
The formal results in ‘Buiti Binafin’ are quite compelling, the sounds are fully believable and the whole emotional atmosphere he manages to build has this ‘sublime’ character that sets up a scenario for sensible and intellectual craving.
In regard of the question ‘to edit and juxtapose or not to’ in phonographic based composition some can say who cares, but for some artists it can be a puzzling question.
The line that divides documental phonography and music concrete can be rather blur for the listener. Anyway the intention to document and the intention to manipulate material are very different.
Frédéric Nogray seems to have found a balanced point here: the listener can sense the derive and natural order of things. But when the edition is visible we can tell there is something he wants to say or point out to. Personally I think he is interested in the power of nature depicted in contrast: movement and the stillness, violence and the calm, harmony and the noise.
When one reads the ‘Buiti Binafin’ liner notes one can tell Frédéric Nogray spend long hours in the the jungle probably being very quiet while watching the nature do its thing. His role here exemplifies the role of the artist who feels that being a medium is ethically his only choice.
Then when he returned home, the forest stopped being the subject, now his experience, his memories of the forest became the subject, and in this process he also turns from being a quiet observer to be the action himself. He becomes ‘the creator’, he becomes a force in the universe.
‘Buiti Binafin’ puts on the table the metaphoric character of recording sounds as a way to capture time. Recordings sounds is a useless and yet essential exercise in order to poetically deal with the ineffable character of the universe and the emotional meaning we get when we have an experience with it.