In a way the piece is sketched like the curve of life itself: starting from extremely reduced elements — although oddly manipulated since the very beginning — it progressively evolves into a well-shaped body whose muscles are entirely delineated, reaching its conclusive phase in bitter, if expected decay. The quasi-biotic character of the initial sections is instantly accepted by the expert ear, preparing us for the subsequent stages where — layer upon layer — the sonic stratagems gradually increase their thickness and, with it, the psychological impact, which at certain moments becomes significant.
The potential ability to discern sources and mechanics doesn’t imply that emotions are not warranted: in particular, a section of looped aircraft moans is alone worth of the whole CD, even if each episode strikes as a rational consequence of what had come prior.
This is not a “taped-in-town,
stuck-in-the-mix” kind of joke; the fact that Meursault managed to reach
this level of attention-gripping quality during a live performance impresses
— Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes
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[Pali Meursault] is a field recordist as well as a performer; the way he manages to square these two seemingly incompatible disciplines is to spend a week or so preparing materials (recordings as well as physical objects) that relate to a particular location and then use these materials in live performance. It’s the performative aspect of his work that is noteworthy, going beyond the simple playing back of recorded material as a component of an installation that characterises most live sound art. un(zéro)deux has a real hands-on feel, not just in Meursault’s deployment of scrap metal (scraped along the floor of the performance space or sounded with motors rather than bashed Neubauten- style) but also in the way the recordings are tweaked, layered and mixed into the sounds of activity in the performance space as the piece progresses.
The documentary aspect is still important — indeed, the piece would seem to lose a lot of its integrity and charm if the material was simply treated as fodder for sonic manipulation — but un(zéro)deux is very much a musical experience.
— Keith Moliné, The Wire
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I hadn’t realised this was a live (solo) performance until after I’d listened a couple of times, which both surprised and impressed me. Meursault has a lot of stuff going on but, to his credit, it never feels crowded, the various textures and sounds playing very well together (like the combination of scraped tones and faunal-sounding “whoops” some 15 minutes in. I take it there are a number of off-Kilter mechanical devices set in motion throughout, but however it’s accomplished, the matrix that emerges is very alive and both busy and spacious simultaneously. Fine recording, growing on me each listen.
— Brian Olewnick, Just Outside
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Meursault is very, very good at making the best out of all the sounds he has at his disposal. The CD presents one track and I guess that it is an unedited version (although you never know, of course). If so, I will certainly want to be there should Meursault perform in the neighbourhood. This composition is a journey with an experienced guide. He knows where to start and what the highlights are.
Should be in everyone’s collection! Listen in the dark.
— Jos Smolders,