These days, the word “awesome” has been slumming. You often find it dripping from the mouths of teenagers to describe anything from shoes to run-of-the-mill horror movies. Danielle Palardy Roger’s latest work, “Bruiducoeur, prieres des infideles,” is bringing back the “awesome” I enjoy– the biblical “awesome”, a pathetically human attempt to describe the terrifying mixture of fear and overwhelming power we feel when confronted with forces beyond our control.
It is in this unenviable position that we find the central character, “HIM” as he is dying; delirious, frightened, and without comfort. Although he is joined by “HER”, who matter-of-factly describes his deterioration; and the “CHOIR”, occasionally offering commentary on his (and our) fears– he is essentially alone. And, as the choir repeats: “Even when he was alive, he was not very courageous.”
As with all Ambiances Magnetiques releases I have encountered, “Bruiducoeur, prieres des infideles” is immaculately produced and recorded, and contains detailed liner notes. I am continually surprised at the label’s willingness to even attempt to render the incoherent glossolalia of “HIM” in type– in the original French, and accompanied by an English translation– where appropriate! (Lines like “Hhghaaaaaaa Hhgheeeeeee Hhghooooooo” are hardly translatable!)
This is a very challenging work, but unlike some works where a composer asks us to imagine a giant glacier, or an obscure electronic theory; Roger meets the listener halfway with the universal fear of death. With less luck, this could be any of us.
Bottom line is that this album is quite challenging. Fans of Robert Ashley’s recent work may find a darker, more European take on life’s end with this album. I’m definitely looking forward to hearing more of Roger’s work.