Limited-edition CD that also contains work by Orjan Hendriksson, Zbigniew Karkowski and Andrew McKenzie. Certainly one of the most beautiful in Duncan's career, in the 'acusmatic' direction (recall in fact any productions on the Empreintes Digitales label). The CD has it all: rythmic loops, fax sounds, superimposed Morse code, exceptionally deep bass. Sharp interruptions give a little comfort to the timpanic membrane, providing yet again a brilliant example of dynamic iridescence. The space for the sound is assured with a long electronic wash not distant from a Hafler Trio that's more developed, but at the same time the electric buzzes confine the listener in a center of white noise. And then another polyphony of alarms -- or telephone signals? -- put in a long dark disruption in which percussions and crackles act as an alarm clock... Motors? Bells? Synthesizers? Who would be able to recognize such a range of acoustic sources? And, in the end, why care about it when the result is so interesting?

-- Massimo Ricci, DEEP LISTENINGS


Here again is McKenzie, but only as the author of a brief text in the booklet accompanying the disc. DELTA is a dreamlike humming that introduces the work hypnotically. KLAAR alternates electroacoustic sources between loud and soft, with heavy use of ambient recordings; we're not long in an "o'rourkian" atmosphere before the sound becomes something worthy of Extreme. We also find loops of circling electronic mixed with voices and found sounds that smooth out the road into a sort of mantra... THE IMMENSE ROOM: radio frequencies immersed in a sea of clicks, pops and explosions of a desparate mob for a piece that's almost... calm; radio sounds come in and out to drive the final part of the composition, giving the rapport of the sound a sexual character; the sensation that pervades the listener is that of falling asleep in the middle of the night in front of the TV with a porn film on! MASS, with with its electronic treatments and usual circling radio, is disturbing on a level that's psychosomatic! Excellent.

-- Massimo Ricci, DEEP LISTENINGS

John Duncan is an experimental genius, whose vision is of a bleak, nihilistic sort which is frighteningly relevant.


John Duncan's RIVER IN FLAMES ~ KLAAR is a fine example of pure electronic music, harkening back to the 60's and especially artists such as those found on the INA / GRM label. Gentle sounds are juxtaposed with those jarring, pure, pristine sonorities butted up against screeching, distorted tones yielding a panoply of colors and textures. The accompanying booklet is certainly most disturbing, if not sick and nihilistic.

-- Dean Suzuki, i / e

RIVER IN FLAMES consists of one electroacoustic piece in five sections, including a live pirate FM broadcast in Amsterdam with Andrew McKenzie of the Hafler Trio. The booklet that comes with the disc provides some clues to the meanings behind Duncan's sounds. There are stories of poisonous snakes that bite their own tails, women fighting men in carnal and primal battles, and photos of everything from molten metal to women being 'fisted'. The music is a good collage of ambient, found, mixed, and modulated sound, but not as good as KLAAR.

-- Neil Strauss, New York Press