Review: Aymeric De Tapol – Méridiens

Méridiens utilises all of the impulse and ellipsis of a travel scrapbook; a slapdash account of personal experience that reshapes the sound through its cheap microphones like a memory rendered thin and hazy through forgetting. It’s rough, subjective – booming parades and voices in unison fade beneath the sound of crumpling footsteps and the plosive interference of a mild breeze, while bleating goats and woozy bouts of song peak like little nipples on a gently respiring body of background hiss and idle midday conversation. Paradoxically, it feels even more authentic in its lo-fidelity, as though the immersive, three-dimensional clarity of high-quality microphones would somehow suggest an attempt to dilute personal experience and the raw, unpredictable nature of the present tense; instead, I feel as though I’m hearing the dust collecting on the mic inside Tapol’s pocket, and the occasional rustle of the Dictaphone being momentarily obscured by a free-flying coat flap.

The recordings wander between public events (parades and celebrations, teaming with percussive booms, congregating voices and jostling bodies) and the sounds loitering on suburban outskirts (whistling gates, children playing enthusiastically on the rubble, winds catching on flimsy fences). Transitions are sometimes smooth – as though instigated by Tapol merely walking from one location to the other – while at others the recording cuts out and re-emerges with an awkward pop, as if I’ve just blacked out and awoken in a distant elsewhere. It’s a thorough and disjointed account of travels, dipping in and out of conscious in baited anticipation of event and in the midst of sudden, unexpected happening, reduced and obscured like a jumbled set of impulsively taken polaroids photographs.