Hathor (1973) replaced most of the symphonic bombast for a teaming of radically mutated synthesizer programming and ominous spoken word declarations. Here, industrial atmospheres and doom-filled electronic textures lend Wakhevitch's minimalist etudes a nightmarish quality that must have been his own personal soundtrack for tripping. The overall effect is stunning, even as Wakhevitch's near total lack of subtlety will be too much for many listeners. Contrast this with 1975's Les Fous d'Or, which seems a much more ambient work, similar to concurrent efforts by Tangerine Dream and Wakhevitch's former teacher, Riley. Rather than scare his audience to death, Wakhevitch opts for calmer electronic soundscapes, interspersed with often nonsensical improvised vocal outbursts. Released in 1977, Nagual takes the textures of Les Fous d'Or but distorts and elongates them in a manner typical for someone enamored of hallucinogenic drugs. However, in the middle of the record, Wakhevitch changes modes into a relatively restrained piano and keyboard-based programmatic piece, with titles referencing both Peter and the Wolf and Cinderella. His final album, Let's Start from 1979, features both his most refined synthesizer work and strange use of the human voice. The lengthy title piece ends with a group of reverberated voices stating "Let's start" over and over, eventually morphing into a larger group chanting "Let's get high" and then back to "I say let's start." It's not exactly the most profound sentiment ever expressed by a composer, but along with the rest of Wakhevitch's work, it's far from the least interesting.
Letter from Michael GIRA (Swans) - November 10, 1998
The most astonishing music I have heard in some years is the new Box Set of Igor Wakhévitch - 6 CDs, from 1970-79. Amazing approach to sound, from classical to experimental, psychadelia to film music. Ominous and beautiful, then clamorous and Wagnerian. At some points it sounds like contemporary electronic music, then shifts seemlessly into a full classical orchestra. You must buy this.
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