Review: Charles Barabé – La Révision (Archive Officielle Publications, Oct 25)

Ever since I fell in love with Charles Barabé’s 2016 double-tape opus Cicatrices I get tremendously excited whenever I see that he has a new release out. It’s a different kind of anticipation, however, than for most other artists, from whom I usually know some of what to expect; with Barabé, I have absolutely no idea what each album will sound like. Cicatrices II had a much heavier focus on collaging and sampling than the original, this year’s De la fragilité was totally unique in its use of classical music excerpts, and now La Révision is its own beast as well. Culled from sound experiments recorded fifteen years ago, the CD’s two pieces utilize a very focused palette, a far cry from the other aforementioned releases. Each builds into thin, fragile drones, floating through mechanical darkness, electric whirring and crackling, unsettling thumps and rattles, and airy gusts that sound like they were recorded in a giant ventilation shaft. Though the album is, first and foremost, a ‘revision’ (surprising, I know), Barabé’s sampling of his own recordings manifests as fluid, natural shifts in texture and ideas, a fascinating new direction for the seasoned sound artist. I obviously haven’t spent as much time with La Révision as I have with Cicatrices, I can see it becoming my new favorite of Barabé’s.

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