Frédéric Nogray ‎– Vaccabons Et Malfactours

kaon ‎– se13
La Rivière Série 3 – RIII#VI
CDr, Mini, Limited Edition, Numbered


1 Vaccabons Et Malfactours 20:30



Hand-numbered limited edition of 50 copies.

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March 21, 2016
Kaon imprint presents Vaccabons Et Malfactours, a 3” CD-R by musician, composer, and soundscaper, Frédéric Nogray. This entry rounds out the 3rd season of the la reviere project, a project based on field recordings of the Taurion River captured by Cédric Peyronnet. This disc came out in 2013, however 18 other artists have tackled this same source material prior to this particular release. Some artists have heavily manipulated the material whereas other have kept it relatively close to the raw recordings. Nogray’s offering falls in the later category.

I find it increasingly difficult to critique these types of releases as they are what they are. You pretty much know what you’re getting yourself into. That's necessarily a bad thing, but I find field recordings, especially those that are raw or minimally manipulated, to be a love it or hate it affair. I tend to like found sounds and nature recordings. Often when I go through a long periods of time listening to this type of stuff, I begin to wonder: when do field recordings cease to be experimental music and begin to become a sleep aid found in new age establishments?

What I can say about Vaccabons Et Malfactours is that it is a 20 minute piece populated with the sounds of: birds, the moving waters of a stream, crickets, rainfall, wading through water, ducks, perhaps the crackling of a fire (or crunching footsteps on twigs), cars, an airplane flying overhead, in other words, a whole panoply of outdoor and nature sounds. It is all expertly captured in crystal clear clarity and edited superbly by Norgray. I will say that there is a momentary sound dip at around the 5 minute mark that was kind of oddly placed, nothing really off-putting or too disruptive to the flow, just a strange stopping point. I have to admit this was a nostalgic ride for me as it conjured up memories from a recent vacation in the woods where I was surrounded by many of the similar sounds presented on this disc.

At twenty minutes, it’s a nice relaxing jaunt, not too involved, just enough to bring a little peace to your day. Think of it as a cat nap rather than an extended slumber. Returning to my question as to whether this is a piece of experimental music or a sleep aid? I put this on last night as after a long bout of insomnia and the sounds were an enjoyable prelude to a very much needed slumber. And there’s nothing wrong with that...nothing at all.

Hal Harmon - Musique Machine


March 21, 2016
There is a strong level of intention in the action of recording environmental sounds. This intention is expressed in aspects like the subject of the recording, the kind of microphones used, the place where the microphones are placed in the field, the hour of the day chosen to record, the time of the year where the recordings were made…etc…etc….

But at the same time recording environmental sounds is a very contemplative action; on every environmental recording we are capturing seconds, minutes and hours of incidental randomness.

But, what makes for random and organic textures, patterns and structures to be so potentially appealing? This is a good question that Psychoacoustics have in a way answered, linking for example the songbirds with the origins of human language. I personally think that the lack of communicating purpose and intention that we find in these random forms is actually what makes them appealing and even meaningful. The absence of ideas and words in their forms allows the listener to explore things in a different way, leading him to bear a more universal and yet personal sense of things.


‘La Rivière CD series…Using the sound bank designed by Cédric Peyronnet, who recorded the nuances of Taurion River and its valley for 3 years, in Limousin, sound artists offer their interpretations through a series of compositions. Artists were asked to work on the composition of a sound piece created using the provided recordings or on the composition of a sound piece inspired by listening to the sound provided and consultation of the accompanying documents.’
-From Kaon’s website

Frédéric Nogray has established today as one of the notable sound composers working with untreated recordings of wild life and other natural areas, but in ‘Vaccabons et malfactours’ (part of ‘La Riviere’ series) Nogray limited to equalize, edit and layer preexistent recordings captured by Peyronnet six years ago.

This is a very nice release that, despite of the potential layering, presents itself in an austere documental manner, sounding very realistic and believable.

The area around the Taurion river is probably very quiet and soothing as most of the recordings suggest but Nogray also included recordings that show a louder and harsher aspect of this location; the noisy captures probably belong to heavy rain or a fast-flowing part of the river and these sounds add a great sense of contrast to the piece. There is always a level of eeriness and darkness to a quiet place that, when taken into account, offers depth and mystery to the listener’s experience.

The quality of the sound here is noteworthy, the fine sounds captured by Peyronnet were greatly worked by Nogray who managed to bring out the textures to a very bright and crisp level that I greatly enjoyed; a great work for those interested on environmental recordings with a little fictional twist.

David Vélez - The Field Reporter / Sonic Field


March 21, 2016
Frédéric Nogray‘s Vaccabons Et Malfactours concludes the third season of the La Rivière project, based on Cédric Peyronnet’s recordings of the Taurion River. Peyronnet’s sound mapping took three years to complete, and was first presented on kdi dctb 146 [e] (Gruenrekorder, 2010). In the ensuing three years, 18 artists have offered their own takes on the source material. Some presentations have been relatively unadorned (Nogray’s being one of them), while others have been manipulated by processing or additional sound material. 2013’s earlier contributors were Dale Lloyd, Artificial Memory Trace, Robert Curgunven, D’Incise and toy.bizarre; all are listed on the Kaon website.

At first glance, the cover image seems odd; isn’t this about a river? But of course a river is more than just a river; it’s part of an ecosystem, a web of irrigations and hydrations. The sheep need the river, as does the grass. To illustrate this point, Nogray’s entry begins and ends without liquid, focusing instead on crickets, birds, bees and the sound of distant trucks. This makes the rumble of thunder and rush of rain all the more surprising, as it seems to appear from a clear sky (1:54). But of course this recording is an impression, and toys with expectation. Peyronnet’s source material has been channeled through different ears; this is still what he heard, but no longer how he heard it. After a few minutes, one realizes that the rain is in fact the river.

A rooster crows, signaling the end of the first section. A dog pants while footsteps fall. At 5:23, a click ~ then sound stops, the piece’s only jarring moment. From this point forward, the recording becomes more active, with splashes, geese, cars, and a higher velocity of water. From 6:20 to 8:29, the landscape even seems to be burning, an aural sleight-of-hand. The mastering is incredibly crisp, even through the edits and layers. The finest segment, beginning at 10:24, is a waterfall torrent that engulfs all competition in its wake, fading only when two and a half minutes remain. At the end, all seems untouched, although this cannot be the case; the grass is growing, the animals have drunk their fill.

Richard Allen - A Closer Listen


March 21, 2016
I think the words in the title are intentional misspellings of the French for vagabonds and malefactors, but I'm not sure...This is a 20-minute composition using as its source field recordings made by Cédric Peyronnet of the area around the Taurion River in central France, near Limoges. The recordings themselves seem to be very straightforward, including insects, birds, rain, passing airplanes and, of course, the multiple sounds of the river water itself. As far as that goes, it's reminiscent, necessarily, of Annea Lockwood's various riverine studies. Nogray has assembled sequences into a piece, not an unusual thing in and of itself, but I get the feeling that he's generated a more interesting field than a straight reading of the recordings would have offered; Lockwood's work, for instance, often strikes me as somewhat attractive but ultimately bland as well as being something I could do for myself. Nogray begins with the fauna, moves through thunder and rushing water, moving naturally and seamlessly between sonic spaces. It's quite subtle; it took several listens for me to hear the gradations, to not just accept things at face value. The arc becomes more apparent and the sonic layers become clearer, the individual sound-types etched with precision. I still have something of a qualm with regard to the standard kind of elements in use here but, given these restrictions (this project was undertaken by 18 musicians, each using Peyronnet's recordings), Nogray has created an interesting and often captivating document.

Brian Olewnick


March 21, 2016
The human senses are highly dominated by the sense of vision, even those of musicians like me. When composing, performing or mixing music, there’s always a little movie running in the head, triggered by melodies and rythm. Each instrument has a color each sound a shape which dances before the imaginary eye. Thus it is not unusual, that some sonically addicted people try to capture the pure sound of the world and go out into nature to find the roots of it all.

Frédéric Nogray was benefitting from this search for the origin of sound, as he is one of 18 composers who did their very personal mix of a series of field recordings, recorded Taurion River and its valley in Limousin, France. Using the sound bank designed by Cédric Peyronnet (- toy.bizarre), who recorded the nuances of Taurion River and its valley (, for 3 years, the sound artists offer their interpretations through a series of compositions.

The title of the 20 minute composition is lend from the old French words for vagabonds and crooks. Asked about the title of the track, Nogray says:

I was looking for a title around the idea of roaming because this is the best word to describe how I came on all these sounds I received from Cédric. I first took a sound from this huge quantity of sounds and after I let me be driven from sounds to sounds in a hazardous way like a vagabond. This is a kind of sonic roaming along this river I never visited. Actually in France there are great debates about Sinti and Romanies and other non-sedentary people. Many people think they are all thieves and criminals … This is not my point of view. That is why I used these two words together, as a kind of provocation of thinkings.

It is worth to visit the two homepages to learn more about the field recording project by Cédric Peyronnet and the dreamlike sonic composition by Frédéric Nogray. Vaccabons et Malfactours by Frédéric Nogray is a new work from, and inspired by the series of recordings made around the Taurion Valley.

Frank Meyer - Darage Bang


March 21, 2016
Frédéric Nogray is a French composer and musician living in Paris who works in the field of electroacoustic music and sound installations since 1999. Nogray works and with crystal singing bowls.
The music in this mini-CD-R is limited run of 50 copies based on sounds recorded in the river Taurion (Limousin, in the center part of France) by Cédric Peyronnet. This composition is part of a series called La Rivière ('The River') in a 18 mini-CD-R's released over three years by 18 international artists. All these artists have to compose with sounds recorded by Cédric around the Taurion river in a period of three years. This CD-R is the last one (sixth) of the third season. It's entitled 'Vaccabons et Malfactours' and lasts 20 minutes and 30 seconds.
You can hear a wide range of birds, flies buzzing noise, chickens clucking in a peaceful environment when suddenly emerges a thunder of a storm producing inmediately a heavy rain that come to an end and beautiful bird songs sound again the beautiful bird songs while come across the engine noise of a plane. Again the rain pervades all space and calm returns sound with crickets and birds.

Guillermo Escudero - Loop


March 21, 2016
It was quiet for a while with Kaon's ongoing series of 3"CDRs using river sounds recorded by Cedric Peyronnet in 2005 and 2008, but here continues with a twenty minute piece by Frederic Nogray, who is an improviser (having worked with Stephane Rives, see Vital Weekly 802) and a field recording composer - see Vital Weekly 862 for an example of his more quiet work. It seems to me that Nogray doesn't alter the material as such - I might be wrong, I know - but cuts and collates various events on top of each other in order to create a narrative with these sounds. Sudden changes keep the piece alive and one moves easily from one quiet part of the river to a wilder part. Maybe it does electronic coloring of the sounds I was think at the seventeenth minute break, but maybe that's just overload from the original recordings? I am not sure. In terms of say 'field recordings becoming music' I couldn't say this was entirely original, but nevertheless it sounded great.

Frans De Waard - Vital Weekly 901


March 21, 2016
edited over 5 years ago
Il y a quelques mois, j'avais déjà chroniqué un album de d'incise qui appartenait à cette série de mini-CDR basé uniquement sur des field-recordings de Cédric Peyronnet, réalisés autour d'une rivière limousine et de sa vallée. La série continue, au rythme d'une publication tous les deux mois, par un artiste sonore à chaque fois différent, et c'est de la proposition de Frédéric Nogray que je parlerai ici.

De ce dernier, je n'avais jamais entendu de travaux basés sur des field-recordings encore - je ne connais que son installation à base de bols en cristal de roche, et son duo électronique aux côtés de Stéphane Rives. Il n'est pas question d'abstraction sonore ici, ni de manipulations électroniques. Le son est simplement équalisé, et monté. Un son tellement pur et figuratif qu'on se demande si l'objectif n'est pas plus documentaire que musical. Nogray assemble certains enregistrements à la manière d'une chronique journalière de cette vallée limousine. Quelques coqs évoquent le lever du jour, un orage éclate, des grillons et certains oiseaux évoquent ensuite le coucher du soleil, la rareté des moteurs comme le côté rustique des barques et des rames peuvent aussi rappeler l'aspect déserté de cette région, tandis que les cris et les bruits animaliers évoquent au contraire la richesse de la faune locale. Et bien, sûr, c'est de l'eau, beaucoup d'eau qu'on entend.

Sur ce mini-CD Nogray propose une pièce ultraréaliste et précise qui joue principalement sur l'évocation et la figuration. De la musique très concrète (au sens premier, pas au sens esthétique) au caractère rural et naturel. Les sons sont très beaux, très précis, mais ils ne m'ont pas plus enchanté que ça. C'est propre, naturellement évocateur, très linéaire et narratif, une pièce plus proche du documentaire sonore (même le format de 20 minutes rappelle ces petits reportages télévisés) que de la musique concrète.

Julien Héraud - Improv-sphere

Julien Héraud20 novembre 2013 à 08:45

Suite à cette chronique, Frédéric m'a fait part de quelques remarques intéressantes et pertinentes au sujet de ce disque, de sa démarche et de l'utilisation des field-recordings en général. Je les recopie ici :

Frédéric : Pourquoi si l'on ne met pas d'effets ou que l'on a pas la main lourde sur le dénoisage et l'équalisation ce n'est pas de la musique mais du reportage ? Je suis étonné de lire encore ce genre de propos plus de quarante ans après le "Presque Rien" de Luc Ferrari par exemple.
Que penser de certains Francisco Lopez (relire le livret du CD La Selva) ou les albums à base de field recordings de Dave Phillips (pour n'en citer que 2, et je ne me compare pas à eux) ? Sont-ils à visée documentaire ?
De plus je t'invite a réécouter la pièce et tu te rendras compte (je pense) que rien (ou si peu) est laissé tel quel. Les prises de sons sont (au minimum) superposées les unes aux autres afin de jouer sur les matières, les volumes, l'espace sonore, les mouvements de flux et reflux, les illusions, les dynamiques...
Personnellement je n'aimerais pas écouter cette pièce comme quelque chose de documentaire ou informatif sur cette rivière. Je sortirais de l'écoute bien frustré. Pour moi il ne fait aucun doute que ce travail (parmi beaucoup d'autres productions actuelles issues des champs du field recording) rentre dans la continuité de cette histoire de la musique qui a vu passer des John Cage, des Pierre Schaeffer, et beaucoup beaucoup d'autres.

Julien : Je ne suis pas sûr que ce soit une question d'effets ou d'équalisation Frédéric ; c'est plus l'aspect narratif et scénarisé - et cette pièce je l'ai entendu comme ça - qui m'a fait pensé à un reportage. Bien sûr, ç'aurait été plus abstrait, j'aurais seulement pensé que c'était narratif et je me serais certainement plus concentré sur le son lui-même, mais ce que j'ai ressenti avant toute forme de traitement, et de travail sur la matière sonore, c'est son aspect narratif , et j'ai eu du mal à me sortir de l'aspect purement figuratif des sons après...

Frédéric : Je n'ai aucune intention scénaristique dans cette pièce si ce n'est le voyage (dans le sens abstrait) que ces sons me procurent, c'est à dire la musique. Pendant le temps de composition que ces sons soient issus de prises-de-sons naturelles, qu'ils sortent d'un violon ou qu'ils soient créé de manière électronique m'importe peu voir pas du tout (je parle bien à ce stade là). Je les prends pour ce qu'ils sont : des informations sonores de grains, d'espaces, de durées, de timbres... Je n'ai donc aucun problème à dire qu'ils forment une composition musicale. Avec la particularité d'utiliser des paysages sonores comme des sons-matière. Comme je le disais plus haut il n'y aucune visée documentaire sur le sujet de la rivière. Cet aspect quelque part Cédric l'avais déjà fait au début du projet. Encore que là aussi je l'écoute comme une composition musicale même si il reste plus dans l'approche de juxtaposition de ses sons. Mais la juxtaposition n'est-elle pas déjà une forme de composition... ?

Julien Héraud20 novembre 2013 à 08:46

Frédéric : J'ajoute : Avant de composer ma participation à ce projet je connaissais déjà les 17 autres propositions qui avaient été faites. Certaines ont un fonctionnement radicalement abstrait et/ou conceptuel... D'autres ont gardé l'aspect plus naturaliste des sons originaux. Ce qui créé une grande variété d'approches par ces différents compositeurs, qui fait aussi que j'étais déjà très intéressé par la série en tant qu'objet artistique et conceptuel. Mais aucune de ces propositions (dans mon souvenir !!) n' a gardé les qualités de ces sons dans (même presque) l'état dans lesquels ils étaient proposés. J'ai beaucoup aimé les qualités des prises de sons de Cédric (très différentes des miennes que j'utilise sur mes autres disques utilisant comme matériaux de base des field-recordings). J'ai voulu jouer et composer avec elles comme elles me sont arrivées. Même si parfois 5 ou 6 prises de sons peuvent se retrouver superposer par exemple...