Sul - to chris marker

the concept most at work here is that of "the zone", according to the sleevenotes "a space outside any dimensions of time, anchored therefore in a pure and eternal present from which any recollection tends to be gradually eradictaded." Like his friend and mentor Andrei Tarkovski and his literary counterpart JG Ballard, Marker sets out to explore this space in and through his work. Each of the works on Sul explore this space as well. The first track, Rail, by Atau Tanaka, is 12 minutes of modulated throb, vaguely remniscent of Pole both in its form and ability to suggest a spatial sense. Eric la Casa follows with a soundspace that sounds like the sighting nervous system of an airliner in flight. Marc Behrens minimal rumble suggests the purling and interminable space of cell groth. Vitriol's contribution, the eerie Suipsim, could be lifted from the sound design of Tarkovski's film Stalker, while Pimmon's Shadow, shade, a collection of electro-mechanical whines, was possibly sourced from the control rooms of various nuclear powerplants. ID's A!,+{88} is the disc's most extreme offering, a nerve-jangling barrage of unmediated eletroacoustic noise that makes no prisoners, and we fade out on the austerely beautiful Soleil by Oren Ambarchi, Sirr's answer to Radiohead's Exit Music (for a film). The Wire Magazine, october 2002

Excellent! The best tribute album to Chris Marker ever recorded! (Although Phil Manzanera's Listen NowLP might come close, by default). Seven bleeding-edge sound artistes were invited to contribute and. although some tracks are so minimal they're on the verge of disappearing into the same solar wind that brought them here - every recording has substance and weight, conveying effective semicinematic atmospheres, and the whole CD is the exact
opposite of lazy, non-specific, Ambient' music. Of course Marker's cinema work is, like aIl the best things, rather hard to come by; l've only ever seen the 'famous' one La jetée, and that was aired mainly because of its connection to the Terry Gilliam movie Twe!ve Monkeys. But suffice it so say the Marker man is a true 'maverick' of narrative schemas, transcending genres as easily as he works across multimedia formats. 'Chris Marker is a sculptor of memory', states Atau T anaka, speaking of this French-born film director, photographer and writer whose output includes Sans So!ei!and Leve! Five. 'He can make us reminisce of things we have never lived, to remember places we have never been'.
Some of these non-existent things and places - mostly very alien - are made real here, on the musical excursions created with great care and attention by the seven sound-artists hereon, using abstract noise, tonal washes, grubby static and other methods. Atau Tanaka's 'Rail' is a monorail journey into Ballard-esque zone of no return; a bleak quest, referencing Tarkovsy's Sta!keras much as Marker. Eric La Casa's 'L'air au fond du rouge' depicts strange atmospheric conditions on globe, threatening weather ahead...Marc Behrens, with 'Khabul rubble', depicts ghostly zone...thin feet on broken ice, edging towards ruined city. Vitriol uses sound of water and suggests strange aquatic trip across silvery lake. with unexpected outcome. Pimmon's 'Shadow, Shade' is visit to nightmarish hospital, observing scanning machine at work. i.d. uses interrupted radio signais from space and much heavy static; messages never decoded. Oren Ambarchi brings album to blissful close as astronaut slips into suspended animation and seals self in cryogenic chamber. But then threatening signal appears on life-support readout...ambiguous downbeat ending. fully in keeping with Marker spirit.
A remarkable record this, one that indicates sirr is becoming a notable presence - this should be reckoned as a diamond release in their catalogue. Not simply a celebrity 'name-checking' exercise (such as inviting big name artistes to cover the songs of Captain Beefheart), the sound-artists here are totally sympathetic; each one genuinely attempting to engage with the singularity of Marker's work, and largely succeed in paying an appropriate homage, if not expanding the scope of his agenda across into a musical platform. A more low-key, ambiguous version ofwhat Heldon's music is to Philip K Dick. Like Marker, each work starts in the realms of science fiction area, but winds up asking heavy questions about the nature of huma" existence, probing those metaphysical not miss this release. cybernauts aIl, 'tis a real Space Odyssey for 2002-2003!
ED PINSENT 20/11/2002 The Sound Projector E 11 eventh Issue 2003

C'est à que s' intéresse Sul, qui est une suite d'hommages au cinéaste et vidéaste français Chris Marker dont l'œuvre est traversée par l'idée de zone, d'espace délimité. Il faut sans doute être familier de son oeuvre pour
comprendre l'inquiétante obscurité qui sourd invariablement de toutes les contributions. Mais chacune, dans les espaces (libres) qui lui sont accordées, semble dialoguer avec cette notion qui en appelle d'autres (comme celles du temps ou de la mémoire). Atau Tanaka construit ainsi une suite de séquences fondues, des moments sonores spatiaux qui se perpétuent dans une abrasion angoissante. Eric La Casa photographie sans les transformer des
environnements sonores, Vitriol ou Marc Behrens les radiographient, chacun y cherchant les résonances intimes qui fondent l'identité d'un espace autant que ses caractéristiques physiques. D'autres semblent se référer directement aux oeuvres du cinéaste, aux méthodes qu'elles engagent: Pimmon en multipliant les combinaisons et les entrelacs digitaux, créant un espace intime de métamorphoses possibles. Un peu comme I.D. dont la musique est néanmoins beaucoup plus tourmentée et urbaine. Oren Ambarchi enfin, cherche dans un lumineux travail de cordes évanescentes la présence fugitive des émotions fixées par la mémoire. Un hommage magnifié par des musiques dont la beauté dépasse le prétexte. J-L. D., Fear Drop Magazine

Those familiar with the films of Chris Marker (born in 1921 just outside Paris), notably "La Jetée" (1962), "Le Fond de l'Air est Rouge" (1977) and "Sans Soleil" (1982), might want to hunt for links to the seven pieces of music on offer here by, respectively, Atau Tanaka, Eric La Casa, Marc Behrens, Vitriol (Sirr label boss Paolo Raposo's group with Carlos Santos), Pimmon, I.D. and Oren Ambarchi. As I've only seen the first of these films (and that in a state of beer-induced hysteria only ever experienced by first year college students), I'll leave others to make such connections - suffice it to say that, on the strength of much of the music on this album, Marker's films must be even bleaker than my bleary first semester. Sensorband's Atau Tanaka writes that Marker is "a sculptor of memory - he can make us reminisce [sic] of things we have never lived". Liner notes that include phrases like "an understanding of the Zone as a domain of deterritorialization and an authentic sphere of possibility", though doubtless well-intentioned (João Nisa is nowhere near the worst culprit in this respect), tend to induce mild skepticism on the part of this listener, given that practitioners of what's become known as "electronica" have, for well over a decade, been dolling up unimaginative work with quotes from hip philosophers. Fortunately the music knows how to rise above the rhetoric, from Tanaka's increasingly claustrophobic "Rail", via Eric La Casa's exquisitely crafted music (here sourced from field recordings of wind) to the grey rumblings of Marc Behrens' "Khabul Rubble" (Behrens' solo album on Sirr, "Intégracão" is well worth checking out too). Vitriol's "Sulipsism" starts out with waves (washing against the proverbial jetty?) and is evocative but a little slow-moving.. perhaps a simultaneous projection of Marker's films would add depth (though personally I'd settle for their superb live show with computer-generated visuals by Jeremy Bernstein). The most striking piece on offer comes from Australia's Paul Gough, aka Pimmon (whose own Sirr offering "Secret Sleeping Birds" ought to be on your shopping list by now): "Shadow, shade" once more reveals Gough's singularly original conception of both overall form and small-scale structure. The ensuing six minutes of sonic scribble that make up I.D.'s "a!,+{88}" are as indigestible as its title is unpronounceable, but fortunately things calm down a little for Oren Ambarchi's closing "Soleil', which starts out with delicately layered shifting drones, but bursts into sunlight at the two minute mark. Or, rather, marker. Dan Warburton, Signal To Noise #27