Redolfi – Pacific Tubular Waves/Immersion (Recollection GRM-Editions Mego, April 2015)

With work from Beatriz Ferreyra, André Stordeur, the epic Pierre Henry boxset and more, April saw a wealth of reissues in early electronics. Michel Redolfi’s debut opus, Pacific Tubular Waves / Immersion, which dates back to 1980, is a welcome re-edition of a somewhat neglected piece made between Marseille and San Diego as a reflection in two parts of Redolfi’s encounters with the Pacific Ocean. Freezing and crystalline, full of circuitous sonic events, it’s a good introduction to the Frenchman’s later works, which continued (and continues) to research an idea of subaquatic music and underwater listening.

The A-side is a synthetic interpretation and ‘imitation’ of the rhythmic and textural dynamics of tubular waves, composed for and executed on an early, mesmerising digital synthesiser. The B-side, “Immersion”, consists of those same recordings remodelled by the sea itself, as Redolfi experiments with underwater transmissions of sound with the partial and full immersion of his equipment.

Overall though, the music doesn’t sound like an experiment. It glistens like a calm sea as repetitive tones are interspersed by rough, watery field recordings and moments of threatening drone, with white crisp atmospheres punctuating the sound here and there with a sort of science-fictional menace that suggestively drags you in underneath an imaginary abyss. Indeed, it’s a small ‘utopia of the senses’, which is what Redolfi said he wanted from his electroacoustic music. Pacific Tubular Waves / Immersion makes present a complex sonic world which you can somehow feel, and engages not only your ears but your body, your skin.