Biography

Sound engineer and composer Dominique Bassal studied electroacoustics at a time when this art form was at the forefront of technological artistry. Later, working as an arranger, producer and studio manager in the commercial music industry, he transposed the techniques of the avant-garde to the pop industry, which at the time was narrow-minded and conservative. Starting in the mid-80s, however, it was the music industry that began to surpass the avant-garde in adapting technological advances.

Returning to the electroacoustic community in 2001, Bassal once again found himself in a position to transmit the knowledge and techniques he had acquired, this time to a milieu that had become debilitated by insufficient financial support and academic isolation. Since that time, he has been recognized in the international electroacoustic community for his advocacy of a high level of professionalism in electroacoustic production: his introductory document, “Mastering in Electroacoustics” (in French and in English) and its multi-media follow-up, eContact! 9.3 — Mastering in Electroacoustics: State of affairs are without parallel in the field. Since 2004 he is the Mastering Engineer for Montréal’s electroacoustic label, empreintes DIGITALes, alone responsible for the mastering (in stereo and 5.1) of most of their new CD and DVD releases. Seminars based on his research have been given across Canada and in London’s City University.

His music is the combined result of two distinct approaches to creation. On the qualitative level, he applies production norms inherited through his experiences in audio production and mastering to the creative act and development of sound materials. Some of these norms are “production oriented” and help assure a rich spectral content, integrity of the transients, a balanced use of space and, above all, transparency of sound layers without compromising sonic density. Others are “reception oriented” and contribute to the creation of a narrative dynamism: a visually evocative vocabulary, free of conceptual precepts; conscious recourse to the spectacular and fascinating; maintaining the listener’s interest; and finding an equilibrium between comfortable development and the “element of surprise”.

On an æsthetic level, his music is based on polyphonic ambiances, intense spaces whose character ranges from cold and unforgiving to tense and anguished to strange and sumptuous. And not the slightest compromise in content is to be found here: neither messages of serenity or resignation, nor proclamations of the glory of some concrete or spiritual power, nor diluted depictions of a world in which cynicism and cruelty seem to have run rampant on a cosmic scale.

In 2002 he was awarded fourth prize in the CEC’s Jeu de Temps / Times Play (JTTP), and since 2003 has been a jury member for the project. His pieces have been played in concert on many occasions, most recently in the EuCuE series at Concordia University and in Cagliari’s Festival di interpretazione della musica acusmatica (Italy).