Review: Ghédalia Tazartès – Repas Froid

Repas Froid arrives like an incomprehensible flashback. Music samples, ritualistic/religious singing, spoken sections, rickety noises, and countless other sonic extracts are fragmented and chucked into the audio melting pot. Sounds are prised away from their source context, stripped of their motive or meaning, with an overwhelmed listener stuck in the centre of it all, caught between struggling to decipher the initial significance of individual snippets and trying to gather new significance from the new, amalgamative collages. It’s a dream-like experience, and is followed by the same post-awakening period of detangling and interpretation. What did I just hear? What did it all mean?

But Repas Froid reminds the listener that sound needn’t be more than just sound itself. Such a bizarre concoction of culture, location and time actually exists outside of all of these – samples are combined for their ability to aesthetically compliment, and not necessarily for any irrelevant correlation in context and meaning. And thus; electronic loops jitter alongside Arabic vocal workouts, the excitable yelps of children become entangled in morning birdsong, dull thuds of impact on loose metal punctuate melodic sways of accordion, and orchestra fragments are propelled into awkward rhythms by the patter of drum machine. For the untrained listener (dare I say it, such as myself), this work is a delightful lesson in taming the exhausting cognitive quest for profundity with the primitive enjoyment of simply listening.