Mana - Mana1
2 x 140g Vinyl LP, Reissue, originally privately released in 1987. 

Housed in a matte reverse-board gatefold sleeve with offset printing in an edition of 500. Includes a 16-page A5 risograph insert, with introduction and photography by Andrea Zarza, and a commissioned text in French and English by Pierre Mariétan. Insert designed by Matthew Kent and Gustavo Eandi and printed by Hato Press, London.

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Rose Des Vents. Action Musicale unfolds as a continuous musical composition across two LPs. Blending influences and his background in serialism, radio-art and field recording, Swiss composer Pierre Mariétan crafted this work from materials gathered over six years, in villages and towns scattered across France. Released privately in 1987, in an edition of 300, the LP is intrinsically a musical piece rather than mere documentation of Mariétan’s investigations into the sound of urban space. The recording, as re-iterated by the composer in a recent interview “… allows the possibility to ignore the sources to only listen to what the sound, in itself, is able to say, what is characteristic to its rapport with music.”

Commissioned by the French Government in 1981, Rose Des Vents. Action Musicale was conceptualised by Mariétan as a seven-day long exploration of the sonic heritage embedded in urban space. Described as a socio-musical action, its score comprised field recording, surveys, interviews and instrumental interventions; all to reveal, study, and musicalise the sonic existence of urban space. Mariétan along with a team of sound engineers, acousticians and musicians—all members of the Groupe d'Étude et Réalisation Musicale (GERM) he had founded in 1966—carried out the first of these actions in the Parisian suburb of Bezons in 1982; with successive actions taking place in Herblay, Albi, Montmagny and l’Isle Adam in 1983. 

On record, the listener hears fragments gathered from these environments: the lively sounds of a vegetable market, interviews with villagers about their surroundings, braying animals and the hubbub of a busy train station. Described as a documentary film without visual images by Mariétan, the radiophonic voice of Ana de Carvalho offers fleeting, poetic orientation with announcements of each titled scene, divining and evoking the sonorous qualities of each landscape coming into focus. Over an hour and forty minutes the album provides an ambient passage through these atmospheric and psychoacoustic urban narratives, each scene tangible yet non-specific; the artist arranging and signalling the influence of civic and pastoral space as a container for spontaneous, resonant interactions.

Explicit musical elements are woven into this structure and enrich it, carrying sound to the ear. First written into the score for saxophone, Mariétan's arrangements are fluidly adaptable to other instruments during the site specific musical actions, so long as they could be played outdoors. The musicians within the team produced different pieces based on the environmental stimuli. At the conclusion of an action, on the seventh day, a concert offered the chance for a montage made from fragments of the village’s sonic life to be played back to residents; ultimately aiming to reveal new sounds found in the inhabitants’ own familiar urban ecosystem, and to open up a discussion with them. The LP emulates this, with studio recordings involving many of the same instrumentalists in an unfixed overview of the process.

After this cycle of on-site musical actions had been realised, Mariétan produced two radiophonic versions of these experiences for Radio France Culture’s l’Atelier de Création Radiophonique (ACR) founded in 1969 by Alain Trutat and Jean Tardieu. ACR was set up as a laboratory for radiophonic experimentation for artists and researchers of diverse backgrounds within France, and this air time allowed Mariétan to transform the ideas and body of work from the commission into the experimental radiophonic programmes Rose des Vents - Action Musicale, broadcast in 1983, and La Rose des Vents - Albi, broadcast in 1984. Both of these broadcasts were precursors to the publication of the record in 1987, now presented publicly for the first time in 2017 by Mana.

Born 23 September 1935 in Monthey, Switzerland, Pierre Mariétan is a composer with a wide ranging catalogue of more than 200 works to his name. In these, the early imprint of serialism can be acknowledged to progressively branch out and embrace improvisation, radio art and acoustic ecology.

Having obtained a solid foundation in harmony, counterpoint and orchestration at the Geneva Conservatory between 1955 and 1960, he went on to study orchestral and choral direction at the Conservatory of Venice. Between 1960 and 1962 he was in Cologne studying composition with Bernd Alois Zimmerman and electronic music with Gottfried Michael König, at the time when the electronic music studio of the WDR was first being set up.

In Darmstadt (1960-1961) and in Bâle (1961-1963) he studied composition with Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen. In Cologne (1963-1966), he continued studying contemporary music with Stockhausen and also Henri Pousseur (1964-1965).

In 1966, having established himself in Paris, he founded the Groupe d'Étude et Réalisation Musicale (GERM), bringing together musicians Jean-Yves Bosseur, Philippe Drogoz, Gérard Frémy, Antony Marchutz, Louis Roquin, Philippe Torrens and Bernadette Val, with whom he would go on to produce numerous musical and radiophonic pieces throughout his career. He taught at the University of Paris 8 between 1969 and 1988, partaking in the foundation of its music department. He was the Director of the Conservatoire de Garges in the Paris region from 1972 to 1977.
As early as 1972 and up until 2002, Mariétan produced radiophonic works for Radio France Culture’s l’Atelier de Création radiophonique (ACR) founded in 1969 by Alain Trutat and Jean Tardieu.

In 1979, he founded the Laboratory of Acoustics and Urban Music (LAMU), initially situated at the National School of Landscape in Versailles and afterwards at the National School of Architecture of Paris-La Villette. LAMU enabled him to formalize nearly 20 years of pioneering and creative research into the relationship between sound and space. The sound archives of this organisation which provide evidence of its activities and research into the relationships between environment, architecture and acoustics, can be accessed at the videoteque of the National School of Architecture of Paris-La Villette.

In 1998, he launched the Rencontres Musique Architecture Ecologie (RAME) project in the Valais, Switzerland, acting as an international meeting point for researchers and artists interested in the interrelationships between music, ecology and architecture each summer. The journal Sonorités, led by Mariétan and philosopher Roberto Brabanti since 2016, is published annually on the themes which have articulated Mariétan’s more recent musical explorations: sound, urban space, architecture and acoustic ecology.

Pierre Mariétan’s archive of written and recorded works can be accessed at the Médiathèque Valais in Valais, Switzerland. Mariétan currently lives between Paris and Montbazin, France, where he continues to compose and write about sound.