Dusted Reviews

Luc Ferrari - Far-West News: Episodes 2 and 3

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Luc Ferrari

Album: Far-West News: Episodes 2 and 3

Label: Blue Chopsticks

Review date: Oct. 26, 2006

Birds. Crickets. The slight but natural echo of a huge space. An almost near absence of wind. A gradual tightening and focusing of the air – something coming, relentlessly … Plane? Water? … The car carries all other sounds in its wake as it whooshes past, the highest frequencies even more quickly augmented by an alien buzz, a sheened multi-octave hum cresting just before all subsides.

The late Luc Ferrari was a master at conjuring such moments from the world of sound, a constantly evolving universe that we all take for granted far too often. A master of many media, Ferrari could engender unique sonorities from orchestral players and “found” sounds with breathtaking results. This disc, combining the second and third parts of his Far-West News trilogy, was recorded as he and his wife, Brunhild Meyer, traveled the South-Western United States in the autumn of 1998. It’s not a travelogue, not specifically anyway, as chronology is constantly skewed in favor of a series of associative moments, presumably programmed for environmental contrast.

The disc moves inexorably from relative quiet toward the thrum of a Universal Studios tour, venders and fans speaking at higher volumes just to be heard over the barrage of advertisements and machines. By that point, the listener is wistful for the huge vistas of silence surrounding composer Philip Bimstein’s house in Springdale, Utah, where Ferrari and Meyer’s feet are “lit” large against the comfortable emptiness as they walk up his drive.

The disc’s connective tissue – blurts, honks and rattles of electronic music – evokes similarly constructed passages in Zappa’s work, and Ferrari’s take on travel is not without a gentle humor. As someone with the name Jerome Kerns is paged to an anonymous front desk, a bystander is heard: “The guy that wrote all that music – I thought he was dead.”

A bit of narration – sometimes from Ferrari en route, sometimes from Meyer, apparently in retrospect – sets the stage for such a tableau. Reminiscences and foreshadowings abound throughout, but the juxtapositions are never uneasy or forced. The entire trilogy is a beautiful vision of the U.S. as micro- and macrocosm, from the down-home gentility of a sandwich shop to the inclusive political musings of Bimstein. Very few could manipulate sound with Ferrari’s grace and attention to detail; he is sorely missed. This disc is both essential for fans and a wonderful way to begin exploring his work.

By Marc Medwin

Other Reviews of Luc Ferrari

Presque Rien

Read More

View all articles by Marc Medwin

Find out more about Blue Chopsticks

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.