edited by) François J Bonnet, Bartolomé Sanson – Spectres #1, Composing listening

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Shelter Press, INA GRM, ISBN-13: 978-2365820318, English, French, 228 pages, 2019, France

There’s bravery in starting a new printed periodical publication on experimental sound, even in a manageable paperback book format. ‘Spectres’ is a small but dense effort, meant to be an annual bilingual publication in English and French about the ‘attitude’ of experimental music, expressed through short writings of outstanding musicians and sound artists. This first issue is a pocket-sized shiny object, made of pure text and no images, embellished with a mirror cover. It is formed by different contributions from people like Jim O’Rourke, Eliane Radigue, Chris Watson, François Bayle and Daniel Teruggi among others. The texts narrate personal sound experiences, often small gems, sorted in the traditional “arc of electroacoustic composition (listen–record–compose–deploy–feel)”. Their essential nature is coupled with a careful editorial process. Musique Concrète’s patterns and archetypes are often emerging, but filtered and enhanced by conceptual twists and theoretical takes. The chance and the uniqueness of an event, the questionable perceptual universe of listening, and the very intimate way of visualising music in our mind, are a few of the many fields whose related ideas are explicitly meant to seed the mind of the reader, as the editors states. In the future, this series might inspire and nurture artistic or applied research.