Aurélien Dumont is a French composer whose highly philosophical music aims at understanding the complexity of our contemporary world. Stillness—released in 2018 through Odradek Records—is the result of a collaboration between the composer and Strasbourg based Ensemble Linea, under the direction of Jean-Philippe Wurtz. Influenced by both Western and Eastern music, it is an opportunity for Dumont to reflect on the world trough a well defined sound ecosystem and soundscape of fragile and ambiguous material.
Start the Dance, a strongly percussive piece—where extended instrumental techniques are primarily used—sets the tone of Stillness, and the ambiguity of the musical direction of the album. Succeeding, Berceuse et des poussières, one of the most rhythmical piece of the project, explores noisy musical combinations; in addition to the two clarinets, piano and string trio, Dumont’s instrumental choices feature tape and voice recordings. The starting point and main inspiration for the piece is Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3, whose musical material has been carefully extracted, dissected and reintegrated in this original creation. Another one of Dumont’s homage to past composers is Sérieux gravats, reminiscent of the work of Debussy—Ondine—who has acted as one of the composer’s most important influence. It is an opportunity for Dumont to reflect again on the idea of fixity around Stillness, and provides glances of his A.M.O (Aesthetically Modified Object). Fiocchi di silenzio is a piece for alto flute, bass clarinet, violin and cello. The strings provide most of the tapestry of white sounds while the winds add depth and melodic material. Punctuated by silences—fiocchi—the piece hides its melodic content behind Dumont’s effective and onomatopoetic writing.
With Stillness Dumont reorganises musical objects, and similarly to the Japanese concept of Tokowaka he recycles musical ideas and fragments. By shaping them into new material, the composer allows the past to merge with the present, the immobility to play with the movement. I admire Dumont’s purpose and musical explorations, and his constant research for musical progress. Stillness is a source of inspiration and a starting point for musical ideas and creativity.