Normandeau DVD on Empreintes Digitales

Subject: Normandeau DVD on Empreintes Digitales
From: David Prescott (
Date: Sun Mar 20 2005 - 18:52:03 EST

Dear CEC-list members:

I hope it's OK if I mention Robert Normandeau's new DVD, "Puzzles" on
Empreintes Digitales. With 15 years separating me from my last
composition, I can no longer claim to be a member of any musical
community, but I am an avid fan and listener, and appreciate the works
of many who post to this list. Although I enjoy EA in all forms, my
personal bias is toward the Montreal scene. I listen most to Dhomont and
Normandeau, but imagine that this is partially due to the volume of
their available work. I keep hoping that many of the E.D. artists
(Calon, Young, Schryer, Bouhalassa) will find more work published.

I'm sure many, if not most, are familiar with Robert Normandeau, whose
work is particularly cinematic and well produced. To my ears, Normandeau
is as challenging as he is focused. If Dhomont brings to mind the
vastness of human experience and the history of EA, Normandeau always
brings to my mind the complexities of human experience. Having been a
psychotherapist for the past 22 years, I am always amazed by
Normandeau's use of the human voice. I have spent two decades listening
(and connecting) to people who have extreme difficulty expressing
themselves. Many have difficulty understanding, discovering, and
re-building themselves after tragedy. The forms of voice that Normandeau
uses in his pieces "Chorus" and "Hamlet" (on the "Puzzle" DVD) and
"Erinyes" (on the "Clair de Terre" CD) call to mind the profound
difficulties that people can have in self-expression.

This is E.D.'s first DVD, and it sounds incredible. It's done with 24
bit/Surround 5.1 stereo. To my knowledge, it's a first of its kind, and
so I thought it deserved mention to those who might not have become
aware of it. For those familiar with Normandeau's releases, you will not
be disappointed. While "Chorus" has been previously issued on a
"Metamorphose" compilation, the rest (to my knowledge) hasn't been. Part
of the DVD's brilliance is that each piece has different qualities and
is distinct from the others while the entire set comes together as a
complete whole, reflecting the current state of the composer's work. And
as one might expect from Normandeau, it's visual to the very end,
intense, and walks that difficult line between being challenging,
irresistible, provocative, and engaging. Thanks to the folks at
Empreintes Digitales for putting it out!

-- David Prescott, listener-at-large in Central Wisconsin

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