Review: Fissures – Rituels (self-released, Jan 2)

Admittedly, I use the word ‘spellbinding’ quite often—it’s a great word. But with Rituels, there are few other words that better represent how much the music draws you in. Belgium-based improviser and field recorder Ludovic Medery, also known as Fissures, combines the synthetic, glinting rays of sound so often found in acousmatic music with a host of more recognizable, tangible recordings, creating a unique, varied sound world that is every bit as dark and mysterious as the underwater forest on the cover. The piece progresses and expands naturally; there’s definitely a central idea, with material sounds such as churning gears, dripping water, rustling leaves, and the creaks of old boats interacting with a set of more processed elements. It’s interesting that the composition is so firmly based in physicality; even in its most ethereal, withdrawn moments there is always a hint of concreteness. Above all, though, the beautiful soundscape formed by these recordings (collected in Perpignan, France in September 2015) is powerfully immersive, and conjures an abstract environment all its own, tied to but distinct from the source material.