STM 268 - Bérangère Maximin

bérangère maximin music mix podcast

Photo from artist's personal archive

Bérangère Maximin’s latest mix puts us on a cinematic trip of minimal, acousmatic, and concrete pieces merged with sound poetry and ambience.


Bérangère Maximin is a French sound artist who creates textural electroacoustic soundscapes that are both abstract and intimate. Her dense and rich compositions speak to the listener with their utter emotionalism, depth and vivid colorfulness. While listening to Bérangère’s music, you sometimes feel like you’re looking at your mundane surroundings through a magnifying glass and noticing deeper layers that could seem charming and confusing at the same time. There are various manifestations of this throughout her vast discography. If No One Is An Island, released by Sub Rosa (featuring Fennesz and Richard Pinhas among others), is bristling with light, distorted haziness and organic murkiness, Dangerous Orbits is a much darker affair, filled with lower frequencies and bursts of uneasiness and disorientation yet maintaining an atmospheric coherence. Her last LP, Frozen Refrains came out on Craig Leon’s Atlas Realisations and it’s also a powerful offering that explores emotional dissonances, subjectivity, memory and their complexities. Its multi-angled compositions are like contemplations, providing as many questions as they do answers.

Secret Thirteen Mix 268 has a similar attention to detail as her own music. Over one hour Bérangère leads us across myriads of soundscapes, creating the effect of a kaleidoscope or a stream of film stills, with images of past and present intertwining. She divides the mix in three parts, the first part being more textural, the second more intensely expressive and political, while the third is a sort of mixture between the first two. The mix is somewhat collage-like in nature, with spoken word parts changing electroacoustic drones and mellow harmonic brushes overwashing noisier patterns. The mix floats like some avant-garde film - precisely edited, but with no linear structure. Or it could also remind a psychogeographical trip through urban surroundings, where hidden narratives keep emerging.

Artist on mix:

“I would divide this mix into several parts: the first part refers to music history, with composers revisiting it, editing and mixing it their own way. The influences and styles being various, from pure concrète music to instrumental and cinematic sensitivities, a good number of them strongly contrasted and articulated. Most of the pieces I’ve picked were composed within the last 20 years. I know some of the composers personally, but not all of them. There are just a few really renowned names, like Coldcut, but what I’ve inserted of them into this mix, with the promoter’s consent, is a personal bootleg I made in Toulouse (south of France) back in 1996, where you can literally hear them manipulating the material live, articulating it with vinyl scratches and cuts and adding samples.

The second part is more urban and political I would say. I’ve stuck works from noise artists or sound poetry pieces, then some more minimalistic and monochrome music, with tension and suspense, most of it being acousmatic composers of diverse styles. There are great acousmatic names from France, who are truly considered important, though I’m sure they don’t have that aura outside France’s borders and are kind of obscure, which is why I picked them (e. g. Michèle Bokanowski, Jacques Lejeune). For these two names I’d mention that their pieces were composed in the late 1970s but they found a label to release their stuff only decades later. Lionel Marchetti’s release on Monotype also fits into this category. I’ve also added a very rare Hector Zazou piece composed in collaboration with David Sylvian, an obscure one that only a few people have heard of.

I’ll finish with saying that my only interest here is to show the kind of textures and sound material I really personally dig, all instinctively put together, the third and last part being a tighter mix of the previous two parts.”

Bérangère Maximin is part of 2018’s SHAPE platform artist’s rooster.

01. Gregorio Paniagua & l’Atrium Musicae de Madrid ​​- ​​Anakrousis​​ [Musique d'Abord/Harmonia Mundi,​​ 1986]
02. Bérangère Maximin - Voyages Morphologiques [Tzadik, 2008]
03. Bruno Capelle - Tourbillon [Metamkine, 1998]
04. Michèle Bokanowski - Personnages dans les escaliers [Trace, 2003]
05. Farmers Manual - 364 [self-release, 1999]
06. Daniel Lopatin & Tim Hecker - GRM Blue II [Software, 2012]
07. Denis Dufour - Le petit oiseau va sortir [unreleased, 1997]
08. Antonio Russolo - Serenata [, 1997]
09. Rasmus B. Lunding & Phil Samartzis - Kurver, Rundinger, Former [Dr Jim’s Records, 2002]
10. Alexei Borisov & Anton Nikkilä - Automated Management System for the Seafood Industry [N&B Research Digest, 2004]
11. Myra Davies - Siren Calls [Moabit Musik, 2017]
12. Coldcut - live at Toulouse / Indestruktibles event, excerpt 1 [Bootleg, 1996]
13. Jean-Baptiste Favory - Big Ending [ Entr'acte, 2010]
14. Hector Zazou & Bernard Caillaud with David Sylvian - Matière pensante [Materiali Sonori, 2005]
15. Zavoloka - Vogelbeere [Nexsound, 2005]
16. Tomonari Higaki - Anxieuses étoiles [Motus, 2010]
17. Andrey Kiritchenko - Optical Illusion [Spekk/Nexsound, 2005]
18. Cecile Le Prado - Messages [IRCAM, 1996]
19. Jonathan Prager - Koala's Song [Studio Forum, 2000]
20. Lionel Marchetti - Kitnabudja Town [Monotype Rec., 2008]
21. Atari Teenage Riot - live in Philadelphia excerpt [ Digital Hardcore Rec., 1999]
22. Coldcut - live at Toulouse / Indestruktibles event, excerpt 2 [Bootleg, 1996]
23. Brown Wing Overdrive - Cryptic Syntax [Tzadik, 2008]
24. Los Amigos Invisibles - Asomacho [Luaka Bop, 1998]
25. Jonty Harrison - …Et Ainsi de Suite… [Empreintes Digitales, 1996]
26. Jacques Lejeune - Ramages [Motus, 2003]
27. Frédéric Khan - L'Animal du temps [Studio Forum, 2000]
28. OttoAnna - Federated States of Micronesia [P48Editions / Mudam, 2014]
29. Colin Johnco - Hazy Tights [Surrism Phonoethics, 2011]
30. Raz Mesinai - Sacred Warrior [Tzadik, 2003]

About Author

Paulius Ilevicius is a Secret Thirteen journalist, editor and occasional DJ focusing on more dreamy and melancholic soundscapes. Born in post-industrial town of Pavevezys, currently he lives and works in Vilnius, Lithuania.

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