Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Paris S'eveille

Paris awakens! But not to this music. The score to 'Paris S'eveille' is sleepy music, music to lull you back to sleep when you awaken in the early morning. Like the song goes, the newspapers are printed and the workers are depressed and it is your time to go to bed.

Immediately striking is the use of sound effects - rare in the Cale oeuvre. A rainstorm begins this one (I think the same that ends Fragments of a Cale Season), introducing a Soldier String Quartet mouvement. It takes a while to get going, but does a lot with the available voices, especially when the low strings speak up. There's almost a Low Side 2 feeling to it, though it never reaches those heights - though there's a bit in the bass that sounds just like "Subterraneans"...

Clattering delivery trucks open the second fragment, a synth-and-strings bit that I swear Cale reworked elsewhere. Very pensive and tense music that goes nowhere - music for the surgical waiting room. I don't mean that as an insult.

The third fragment, sans sfx, starts with synth xylophone and valueless drum machine wank before giving way entirely to the quartet. Cale's ubiquitous electric piano atonally interrupts their piece and starts a new piece in a different key entirely. An interesting effect, at least. Neither side will leave; they just keep going at their own things.

Street noise begins the fourth piece, which integrates synth and xylophone in a very soothing way, and even ends with birdsong and wind noise! Shades of Pink Floyd.

The final movement is a synth(-and-strings?) reprise of the waiting-room piece. It does more rhythmically than movement 2, but has less soul. It ends with the same rainfall it started with.

Like the movie it was written for, it's a minor work and nothing to get worked up over. Inspired? Not terribly (though the first movement is damn good). Pleasant? Sure. Granted, I don't listen to Cale for relaxation, but if I did I'd listen to this more often.

So the next time you find yourself singing

Il est cinq heures
Paris se lève
Il est cinq heures
Je n'ai pas sommeil


Put this one on and get some sleep.

1 comment:

jack said...

there haven't been any updates for a while - i hope everything is ok with you? i enjoy reading this blog and wouldn't like to see it fade into inactivity