Vasco Viviani, of Old Bicycle Records, recently wrote a very nice review of the Les Rumeurs tape for Radio Gwen (in Italiano) in Switzerland. I’ve taken the liberty of translating it into English. Thanks to Vasco for this!
Stefan Christoff & Joseph Sannicandro – Les Rumeurs De La Montagne Rouge, En Chœur, Convergent
Edited by Fango Bianco (White Mud)
I received this tape (albeit in a completely incorporeal form for now) almost by accident, by a journalist to whom I regularly send my productions. So I’m pushed to open a door that I did not know existed and find myself in a strange place.
We are in Montreal, in 2012, within the student protest movement that has involved thousands of people throughout the area. What we feel takes us by the hand into the material with a disarming simplicity … a woman who initially seems to come from another era sings a melody in French (Sainte-Marie), then it is the turn of a man singing, over the shouting of the protesters. Then everything is quiet, with a substrate that seems like a broken record, and the only element of disturbance are the blades of a helicopter. Around them the most calm static … chimes and instrumental blocks follow each other distorting slightly as they loop, almost as if the mechanism offers no escape.
And in fact, the feeling you get is that of the calm before the storm, a light flurry that precedes the explosion. Then comes part of a sequence of piano crescendo that seems to hover two meters from the ground, such is its lightness, before it too mutates and cracks in a desperation that bites its own tail. Rhythmic noises, almost like pieces of glass covering the melody, that goes on to die suddenly. Les Rumeurs A is over.
Les Rumeurs B begins and we feel the icy wind whipping, overlapping with the voices of the cold onlookers, the omnipresent winged motor vehicles that surveil the situation, and the rhythm of percussive objects and voices depicting a festive atmosphere… but it is too soon to rejoice.
“Réaction Circulaire” throws us into a dark tunnel. It seems to be the recording of the sound deep inside a human body, with a beating heart that sounds sinister and fears the worst. As we continue it does not seem to change, but we discern a more metallic and gangrenous scent, dark and absolutely controlled. They are not circular reactions, but a spiral down and dig inside our bowels.
“Radio Is Dead” expands upon everything previously expressed in a compact version. This is not an easy job, but it is able to influence and draw listeners into its vortex after the first listen. Perhaps it is more simple and straightforward than it seems, provided one drops their defenses, giving oneself completely to the sound.
An intensely personal account of the situation, for a sound diary of full of charm and fascination.