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Christine Ott — Chimères (pour Ondes Martenot)
(Bandcamp Nahal 008, 2020, CD / LP / DL)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2020-11-25

Chimères (pour Ondes Martenot) Cover art

The Ondes Martenot is one of the very first monophonic synthesizers, invented by Maurice Martenot in 1928. This keyboard instrument has a 72-note rail-mounted keyboard capable of producing vibrato via lateral motion and oscillating radio tubes that produce pulses at two supersonic frequencies. A later version of the instrument is the Ondioline, which Al Kooper played on “Meagan’s Gypsy Eyes” from the first Blood Sweat & Tears album, Child Is Father to the Man, as well as his infamous Supersession with Mike Bloomfield and Steven Stills (“His Holy Modal Majesty”). An Ondes Martenot performer is an ondist, which takes a special set of keyboard skills. French musician and virtuoso ondist Christine Ott teaches at the Strasbourg Conservatory and has often accompanied other musicians (Yann Tiersen, Tindersticks, Raphelson, Dominque A, Syd Matters, Oiseaux-Tempête, Foudre!, …). So Nahal Recordings asked Christine to record a solo album using her Ondes Martenot, the result being Chimères (Pour Ondes Martenots) or eight Chimeras of multi-layers of sonic waves and effects that demonstrate the vast range of the instrument and Christine’s talent. These Chimeras are timeless compositions without preconceptions or forcing Christine into a specific sound. To provide some context, the results are like what Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream sounded like before they started using sequencers, as well as Ralph Lundsten and Brian Eno at his most ambient. This is a wonderful album with instant appeal to any fan of analog cosmic electronic music, be it slow wavering sounds, delicate crystalline tinkling, low frequency rumbles, pulsating noise, string-like textures, amorphous movements, or slow burning electronics with an edge. You won’t be disappointed.

Filed under: New releases, 2020 releases

Related artist(s): Christine Ott

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