Out of all the more academic experimental composers that I love, I often find it the hardest to talk about Eliane Radigue’s music. Works like hers are deceptively simple yet so gutturally affecting that it’s often hard to put into words why her music is incredibly powerful. Sure, there’s something to be said about the psychoacoustic nature of her sounds and the Buddhist philosophy that drives much of her composition, but ultimately, the spare beauty of her work and use of time is what’s truly remarkable. Radigue is fascinated with the worlds of sonority that each one of her drones create; as a result, her compositions are often monolithic in scope. There’s no way to truly experience her work, then, without completely submitting to the composition at hand. It’s only through experiencing and losing yourself in her compositions that one can even begin to grasp the hidden complexity and beauty of Radigue’s sounds.
Adnos is one of Radigue’s most epic compositions in scale. The recently reissued record features three discs that total more than three and a half hours collectively. That might seem intense to some listeners, but it’s absolutely worth it. Radigue’s work can seem simple at first, but each one of these pieces manages to go a number of places without feeling like they’ve actually gone anywhere at all. This constant ebb and flow of movement within stasis is unbelievably moving, so much so, that when Radigue shifts something just minutely within a slightly faster period of time, it feels like the grandest crescendo imaginable. At this point, I never want to fully understand how Radigue’s work unfurls; I just want to revel in the beautiful and subtly ever-changing drones she produces.
Adnos is available now via Important Records. You can watch a trailer with an excerpt of the record above.