Philippe Le Goff – Titakti (Empreintes Digitales, 1995)


Philippe Le Goff
Titakti

CD Empreintes DIGITALes IMED 9524 (Canada, 1995)

01. Étude 1: Meta Incognita
02. Étude 2: Nipinggit—La Parole
03. Étude 3: La Guerre
04. Étude 4: Plan Séquence

Meta Incognita realized in 1991 with the support of the grant Villa Medicis hors les murs. Premiered on November 29, 1991 in Arras (France) during the Prix international Noroit-Léonce Petitot.
Nipinggit — la parole realized in 1994.
La guerre (War) realized in 1995.
Plan séquence (Action Shot) realized in 1995.

All pieces composed at studio Canope (Lyon, France), with the support of Sacem, the Muse en circuit (Paris) and at the villa Médicis Hors les murs program.
Final mastering was realized at the Groupe de musique expérimentale de Marseille (Marseille, France).
Recordings made between 1988 and 1993, in Nunavik (Québec Arctic) in the villages of Puvirnituq, Kuujjuaraapik and Akulivik; in Nunavut (Northwestern Territories), on Coat Island and on Baffin Island in the villages of Iqualuit, Apex and Kimmirut.

FR Ces quatre Études sont le fruit de ma plongée dans la culture des Inuit de l’Arctique canadien; le pays où il n’y a pas d’arbre. En pénétrant ce monde, où la nature pèse de tout son poids sur la vie, où la frontière entre l’art et le jeu est ténue et la parole économe, c’est imposée la nécessité d’une ‘parole des sons’; la relation entre l’environnement sonore, le langage et la musique est telle, que le travail électroacoustique prend tout son sens, que les sons, inéluctablement liés à la vie se mettent à respirer d’eux-mêmes. Cette parole des sons génère ainsi un travail où se cotoient et s’enchevètrent: la musique, le témoignage des Inuit, les rires, le vent et la lumière. En cheminant à travers ces Études, j’ai cherché à tisser les sons en une matière vivante, dotée d’un souffle et d’une âme, comme le sont les humains, les animaux et les éléments. (…)
Le titre du disque Titakti est un terme qui appartient au vocabulaire moderne de l’Inuktitut, il désigne la musique des blancs et on le rencontre principalement sur la Terre de Baffin. Ce mot est probablement une onomatopée: titaktitaktitakti… serait la manière de chantonner la musique des baleiniers. Ce fait m’a été rapporté par Leah Nutaraq (107 ans) originaire du Cumberland Sound (Terre de Baffin).

ENG These four Studies are the fruit of my immersion in the Inuit culture of the Canadian Arctic; the country where there are no trees. Upon entering this world where nature bears down with all its weight on life, where the boundary between art and games is tenuous and words are used sparingly, the necessity of a ‘speech of sounds’ imposes itself. In this world, the relationship between the sonic environment, language and music is such that electroacoustic work takes on its fullest meaning. The sounds, inextricably connected to life, begin to breath of themselves. The result is that this speech of sounds generates a work where music, Inuit conversations, laughter, the wind and the light exist side by side and intertwine. In traveling through these Studies, I sought to weave the sounds into a living material, endowed with breath and with a soul, as have humans, the animals and the elements.The term ‘study’ (étude) underlines the speculative nature of these works. It is a line of work that, without being properly scientific, is nonetheless supported by investigations into Inuit culture and language. The result is a personal and poetic reading of this world. It should be understood as an autobiographical account. The form of this account is based on a particular trait of the Inuit culture in which one can create a new myth by the linking together of pre-existing myths. This is also characteristic of games and chants. These Studies are therefore an attempt to create an agglutinative and integrated musical form.
The CD title Titakti is a term belonging to moderm Inuktitut. It refers to ‘white music’ and is used mostly on Baffin Island. The word probably is an onomatopoeia where titaktitaktitakti… would be the way to sing the music of the whale hunters. This fact was told to me by Leah Nutaraq (107 years old) from Cumberland Sound (Baffin Island).

(Philippe Le Goff, liner notes)

Titakti is one of the unsung classics in the catalog of electroacoustic label empreintes DIGITALes. A cycle of four works ranging from six to 21 minutes, it was created after Philippe Le Goff spent five years in the Arctic, more precisely in Nunavik (Québec), in a handful of villages lost in the Northwestern Territories (Canada), and on Coat Island and Baffin Island. The composer immersed himself in the culture, language and daily lives of Inuits. The resulting pieces are passionate tributes to a culture still very much anchored in tradition. Speech, singing and field recordings are paired with acousmatic sounds and occasional musical instruments to create truly cinematic works, like the actual sound track to a hidden movie. The stand-out title is La Guerre (“War”), a beautiful solar piece driven by Inuit chants and enhanced by a delicate music score made of minimal contributions by a wide array of instruments, from tabla to electric guitar, Hammond organ, shinaï, and a trio of French horns evoking the sound of exploration boats. The other track featuring “music” is Nipingit—la parole, in which violin and viola dialogue with Inuit women. Meta incognita and Plan séquence (“Action Shot”) respectively open and close the CD on wide panoramic views. Laughter and joy of life inhabit all four works, making them feel like as many movements of a larger piece. Straying lightly from the more academic musique concrète to enter the realm of film-sound documentary, Titakti sits the listener in the middle of an Inuit village. Very strongly recommended, especially to persons who are looking for an easy introduction to tape music. (François Couture, All Music Guide)

FR Curieux de ne pas croiser plus souvent ce classique certifié sur la blogosphère (peut-être parce qu’à trop chercher des pépites on en oublie ce qu’on avait pourtant sous les yeux?). Une expérience d’écoute aussi précieuse que rare dans tous les sens du terme, et au casque forcément.
ENG And here’s a discreet masterpiece, not that easy to describe bute quite fascinating.

http://www.empreintesdigitales.com

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