artist: Mireille Capelle
title: Anello. Naga. Sunyata
released: 2009


CD-1. Anello
CD-2. Naga
CD-3. Sunyata


Review in Vital Weekly 757 by Frans de Waard
Obviously I can't review this 3CD by the for me unknown Mireille Capelle. Let me explain. Each CD has one piece of music, but to play the complete piece you will have to play two CDs on four speakers at the same time. Such elaborate set up is not allowed here in the Vital HQ building, but I understand that each can also be heard individually. Phew, that's a relief. From the extensive booklet I gather Capelle, who has a training in classical music, in singing, as well as appearing in various films and she composes her 'Sonic Architectures' with natural elements and this three (two?) works are part of that. It all sounds very zen inspired, both the music and the written aspect of this. I'm not sure how her compositional techniques work, but on 'Naga' I think she uses mainly laptop and perhaps some sort of Max/msp patch, in a very tranquil way. A bit like Christoph Charles on his Ritornell CD. On 'Anello' the sound sources seem to be more of an acoustic nature, but also treated with the aid of the computer. It has, like 'Naga', a fine open sense of open space. 'Sunyata' is on the other hand a very closed work. It takes a long time before one hears anything at all, and it slowly turns out to be a work for flute and cello. Each of the three pieces has an entirely different length, so I'm not sure what the idea is when you are playing these together, but I could very well imagine that playing all three at the same time might bring further enlightenment. Nice one.

Review in Gonzo Circus
Ik ben de bezitter van een wankele slaap. Ik zoek houvast en regelmaat en ben toe aan een kruidenthee die ik niet eens graag drink. Het smaakt me niet en ik worstel na een jaar nog steeds met een dijk van een koffieverslaving. Ik ben aan de winnende hand. Alleen hoe lang nog voor ik het onderspit delf? Ik heb mijn principes aan de kant geschoven en heb een nacht gereserveerd voor ’Anello–Naga–Sunyata’ van Mireille Capelle: zonder twijfel een van de belangrijkste Belgische zangeressen of kunstenaressen tout court. Capelle schitterende in opera’s van Purcel, Bruckner en Mozart en werkte intensief samen met Jos Van Immerseel. De laatste jaren maakt ze de bocht naar de klassieke hedendaagse muziek, John Cage, Henryk Górecki en Maxwell Davies om er slechts enkele te noemen. Voor ’Anello–Naga–Sunyata’ liet ze zich bijstaan door een uitmuntend en vooraanstaand gezelschap van muzikanten. Marc Tooten op viool, Karin Defleyt speelt fluit en Arielle Valibouse speelt harp. (De namen van de rest van dit uitstekende gezelschap staan vermeld in de uitgebreide hoesnota’s.) ’Anello–Naga–Sunyata’ bestaat uit drie cd’s, drie composities die elk afzonderlijk kunnen worden afgespeeld, maar ook samen op twee cdspelers en vier luidsprekers beluisterd kunnen worden. We hebben de platen eerst apart beluisterd. Ze bleven overeind staan, als een degelijk huis, gebouwd op een stevig fundament, in weer en wind, de tijd trotserend. Ik heb een nacht gereserveerd. Heb slaapdronken in mijn zetel plaatsgenomen en ik heb de verschillende composities in verschillende combinaties doorgenomen. Het was een sacraal moment, nog het meest toen ik eerste zonnestralen, het ochtendgloren, mocht aanschouwen. ’Anello–Naga–Sunyata’ is een meesterwerk, boeiend en verrassend van de eerste tot de laatste noot. Ik heb vaak gedacht aan het werk van Morton Feldman, vroege Cage, de korrelige ambientsound van Deathprod en de donkerste kant van Diamanda Galás. Het middaguur lonkt. Ik zit aan de ontbijttafel met een kop kruidenthee en de zoete herinnering van een nacht die ik nooit vergeten zal.

Review in Foxy Digitalis
An ambitious collection of three contemporary classical music CDs composed by Mireille Capelle, an actress, opera singer, and professor and director of the singing department at the Royal Conservatory of Ghent, there are hours of material here, often composed of bleak tones and atmospheric chimes. Although well-packaged and intellectually engaging, the music and project can be weighed down by a sense of abstraction and vagueness within some of its ideas.
The strength of these recordings comes through Capelle's creation of an expansive mood and the slowing down of the changes within her music so that the listener is able to focus on small, specific aspects of sounds, and is therefore in a sense able to become aware of the passage of time and the idea of passing time (the concept of time appearing to be the subject of the project).
Liner notes written by Belgian art collector, curator, and designer Axel Vervoodt mention that "[Capelle's music] symbolizes an osmosis with the universe" and "knowing that one will never reach ultimate knowledge," although I'm not sure what to make of these ideas on their own terms or in relation to the music itself. Similarly, Capelle writes that the pieces "are constructed geometrically according to a mathematical scheme which is based on the symbolism of numbers. On the basis of whatever drives my senses, I gather together a great mass of recorded sounds from everyday life: the street, the wind, streams, the noise of cars, of conversations, of birds, of singing... [and] I compose thematic phrases which are interpreted by musicians." The last idea seems to make more sense than the first, which seems overly complicated and confusing. As a subject time is a difficult, although, if properly approached, rewarding subject for art, but it is difficult to tell if Capelle's project matches up to its aims. Music is a temporal form and should be able to express ideas of time, but it is also such an abstract type of art and thought that it would be extremely difficult to express these concepts formally in any case, although the music here does seem to achieve an expression of this idea. One problem with Capelle's mathematical approach seems to be that, for her method to work, there would need to be an intrinsic connection between geometry and the symbolism of numbers, but this seems to be a value added between the two by Capelle. It is arguable, for example, that the "symbolism of numbers" is not particularly meaningful in itself. Aldous Huxley once described James Joyce as having an extremely problematic "magic view of words"--"an approach to words as having some intrinsic value apart from their references"--and it seems as though there is a similar problem here. 7/10