Berangere Maximin

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Primary Instrument: Composer/conductor

Berangere Maximin

Berangere was born on the remote French colonial island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean and moved to France at the age of fifteen. A resident of Paris since 2002, she has performed as a singer in rock and world music bands around Perpignan and also studied electroacoustic music with Denis Dufour at the conservatory of this town. 'Working out of her own Home Sweet Home Studio in Paris, she creates landscapes that pull you in and hold your attention with a keen sense of detail and subtle sense of surprise. A seductive and beautiful debut CD from one of the most personal and passionate new voices in electroacoustic music.' Tzadik


1997 & 1998: Sacem- Award for best student electroacoustic composition 1999: Honorary Mention, Russolo-Pratella Foundation - International Composition Competition. 2003: Honorary Mention, Ear - Hungarian National Radio network - International Composition Competition. 2007: Award for the best music for multimedia @ Synthèses International Sonic Art Competition, Institute of Electroacoustic Music (Bourges, France).
Henry Smith / / February 2009

It is little surprise that French electroacoustic composer Berangere Maximin's musical path has consisted of both conservatory studies under Denis Dufour and stints in rock and world bands. Her solo debut consists of six works that expound upon the tape manipulations of Pierre Schaeffer, but whose sense of drama maintains her contact with the popular musical forms that she has partaken in.

Maximin clearly has a knack for making the most of her tools. Using only tape and voice, she displays a highly mature sense of patience in her composition, allowing each piece to unfold into its own entity that is ripe with morsels of surprising humor and effect. On the opening title track, she begins by working with water sounds that bubble calmly beneath frozen melodic lines that spread out across the piece as small bits of rhythmic insect chatter emerge from the background. The amount of sound at any given moment is impressive, but more impressive is the fine management of those sounds as Maximin never lets the work become claustrophobic, allowing each individual noise its own space in the mix. As birds come in, a catapult sound initiates an increasingly bustling world that goes from serene New England forest to steaming swampland without a hitch. It is as much James Ferraro as it is Luc Ferrari.

“Boudmo” further explores the organic take that the composer displays. Once she has created her own sonic landscape through field recordings, she concocts a pulse over which guitar strums are allowed to reverberate and punctuate. As assorted hollow sounds and clicks return, the piece exhibits an affinity with the results of chance operation pieces; each moment is given its place and allowed to become an event of great significance.

Maximin herself speaks on the following “Ce Corps Vil, Part one and Part two,” reciting sensual French prose beneath metallic caresses and echoed water drops. As her vocal recitations come and go, the background remains near stagnant in mood despite its ever changing makeup. “Voyages Morphologiques,” the most overtly songy piece on the album, sees Maximin's world music affinities come to a fore as African style acoustic guitar is melded with snake charming hornlines and folk fiddling, building in momentum as each bit hastens its immediacy to near fever pitch before harp enters to close the work with a wink and a shrug.

Despite the vast accomplishments of previous electroacousticians, Maximin manages to carve out her own corner of the sound. “Si Ce N'est Toi” begins with minimalist rhythmic movements as covered by nearly cheesy synthesized horns as bellows of vocal resonance bounce in the background. With great energy the piece plugs along before slipping down into a furrowed world of industrial static and dissonant pulse before Carl Stalling-like riffs briefly interrupt before allowing the work to subside under its own endless beat.

“La Mecanique des Ombres” closes the album with its longest track, a sprawling entrance into the hull of some ship. Using her sounds in a distinctly musical manner, Maximin uses a Varesian noise-as-compositional tool to create a percussive work whose end result is one of great energy despite the often minute sounds that are used. That the composer can utilize these sounds to create works of strong individual character and impressive emotive depth is a testament to her achievements and further potential as a sonic collagist.
The Wire | 297 | Unofficial Channels | November 2008 

 Bérangère Maximin is a Paris based acousmatic composer, formerly a student of Denis Dufour, who in turn studied with defining figures in the electroacoustic field such as Pierre Schaeffer and Claude Ballif.
The essence of acousmatic composition and its reception is severing of visual links between sound materials and their source in order to prioritise ear above eye as an instrument of consciousness. Nonetheless, Maximin's declared aim is to preserve in her tape music the spirit of live performance. Far more easily said than done, especially when constrained by stereo CD format, although her presence on John Zorn's uncompromisingly energetic Tzadik label in itself suggests a degree of success. Certainly her music is vividly direct.
(…) This music enacts the coming together of sounds found and contrived. Maximin's light touch and discreet dramatic effectiveness bear comparison with Luc Ferrari's deft musical essays on relationships between incident and intention. Tant Que Les Heures Passent also offers a lively jingle made for some global music radio show ; a patchwork of texts read in French against low-key electroacoustic backdrop ; syncopated minimalism reminiscent of trumpeter John Hassell's take on Aka Pygmy chants ; and an ominous soundscape packed with nautical creaks, tolling bells, heavy footfalls, bursts of orchestral melodrama and drums.
Altogether a nourishing selection.
 Julian Cowley
Spiritual Archives / Oct. 14th 2008 /
First of all, this is a beautiful work, captivating because of its sonorous themes, its refined sound constructions, its hypnotic passages. Bérangère Maximin is native of the island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean, lives in Paris since 2002, has been a singer in various bands and now inhabits in the acousmatic world. “Tant Que Les Heures Passent” is her first collection of compositions, despite some musical works released in the past years. An absolutely astonishing album made of six pieces filled with ingenious solutions found by the aid of a tape recorder. Each of these shows an accurate assemblage of sound objects managed, what produces awesome effects. So, the title track is a strange mixture of water gurgles, chirps, mechanical noises; “Boudmo”, the second piece, starts with a dripping overlapped by a percussive rhythm and sweet sounds of strings as long as new crunchings come on. The subsequent fifteen minutes (”Ce Corps Vil, Part One And Part Two”) consist of recordings combined with modulated words of Bérangère which trace out the patterns, waving in the air, then a little dive into an ethnic dance (”Voyages Morphologiques”) before coming back to the tape music. A nice surprise for people who loves the avant-garde side of Tzadik.

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Featured recording “TANT QUE LES HEURES PASSENT”

Tzadik (2008)

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