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Chris Meloche - Recurring Dreams

Reflections on Long-Duration Soundworks and Radio

by Chris Meloche

Time Flies

Although it happened 25 years ago, I can still recall it with great clarity...

It was just after midnight on a Friday night and I was scanning down the FM dial listening to Detroit radio stations with a pair of headphones strapped on. Amidst the rock, country and MOR music I suddenly stumbled across something very odd. It was a steady stream of strange electronic whirs and whistles. As I sat transfixed to the sounds filling my head, I heard the some real-world images amidst the sonic collage... jet engines, deep breathing and, most obviously, fragments of various national anthems. For an impressionable teenager, these sounds came as a revelation.

I kept on listening... awaiting an ID of this sonic delight. At one point, a few faint clicks reassured me that I was, in fact, hearing something playing from an LP record. After 2 hours of anticipation, my patience had been rewarded when the announcer from the Detroit NPR station identified the piece as Karlheinz Stockhausen's "Hymnen" and adding some precious details. At that point, I realized that I had been taken around the world though the magic of musique concrete. Not only was this work particularly "non-musical" to my ears but, it had kept my attention for two hours. To me, this was a revelation.

After that experience, I hurriedly special ordered a copy of the record album and anxiously awaited its arrival. Upon getting the LP home and reading the liner notes, I realized that proper listening would require an entire evening devoted to this specific task. No problem. This would be my first venture into the appreciation of a serious long-duration work.

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Chris Meloche (b. Windsor, Ont., 1957) is an independent composer and performer of electronic, electroacoustic and computer music. He began creating electroacoustic works in 1980. He has persued independent studies and followed the work of such composers as Stockhausen, Reich, Cage, Berio, Riley, Feldman, Subotnick, and Hamel.

In 1982, Meloche collaborated in the formation of the group M104 with Werner Albert. M104 released 3 independent packages and played numerous live concerts, often as accompaniment to classic silent films (Nosferatu, Metropolis, Potemkin...). Since the demise of M104, he has continued to compose and perform solo material and contributed works for release in Canada and the U.K.

Meloche has also worked on commissioned compositions featuring acoustic instruments (cello, double bass, trombone) in conjunction with synthesizers, electronic sound processing and interactive electronics.

He has also been a proponent of "Radio Art" having diffused works such as "LINK": A Radio Music Performance Without Borders, "Loop2" - a 7 hour radiophonic installation work - and Philip Perkins' "Toronto Remote" performance.

Meloche has produced 2 releases by Canadian poets bill bissett and Karen MacCormack for Nightwood Editions as well as continuing to play live electroacoustic music concerts. International attention was gained with the presentation of "LINK" (produced with the assistance of a grant from the Media Arts Section of Canada Council) which was premiered at the Aeolian Hall (London) and broadcast on CHRW-FM (London). This event attracted international attention and led to interviews and features on Radio France International (Paris), Voice of America (Washington, DC), Radio Budapest (Hungary) and CFPL-TV (London). In January of 1990 his composition "Moscow Calling" received its international broadcast premiere on Radio Moscow, USSR.

Meloche has also recently completed the projects "Ionospheric Soundwalk" (a composition featuring naturally occurring radio waves), "Private World: A Wireless Public Access Audio Installation" and the 6-hour radiophonic work "Recurring Dreams of the Urban Myth." His environmental recordings of Scottish Stone Circle sites was installed at the Royal Museum of Scotland (Edinburgh) for 2 months in 1998 in conjunction with a photographic exhibition by Scottish artist Mark Johnston.

His work has also gained more international attention in 1994 with the signing of a CD recording contract with the FAX label of Frankfurt, Germany. These CDs have international distribution via N.E.W.S. of Belgium (distributed in Canada via Cargo Records, Montreal). He has released 2 CDs on FAX - "Recurring Dreams of the Urban Myth" (1994) and "Wireless" (1995). His latest releases are "Distant Rituals" (1996) on Silent Records (San Francisco), "Urban Myth 2" (1996) on Etherworld Recordings (San Francisco) and "Document '90" on Staalplaat/Korm Plastics (Amsterdam, Holland).

Chris Meloche's work has been supported by grants from the Canada Council and Ontario Arts Council. He is a founding member of the Canadian Electroacoustic Community and the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology. He is the host of the weekly contemporary music radio programme WIRED FOR SOUND (on CHRW-FM, London) and also a freelance music writer currently published on a regular basis in both Canada and the USA.

Chris Meloche

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