Review – 10-33cm (ROOM40) 2008 – by Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes

i8u – 10-33cm (MP3 by Room40) 2008

Described by the press release as a “compelling meditation on the nature of sound in time”, this work by Canadian France Jobin was conceived by taking into account the “theoretical size of the strings that makes up the universe”. The impression is mainly one of morphing resonance, like someone manoeuvring an equalizer while a sequence of consecutive drones is unfolding. A chain of pretty static visions, some of them in fact engrossing, rarely presenting truly shocking elements yet effective, at least in spurts. Still, the compositional effort doesn’t appear extreme; this will probably determine a filing in the jam-packed folders of “good but not really memorable” near-minimalism, with the exception of “String 6” and “String 7”, whose impressive bottomless rumbles and subsonic purrs are something to be heard. Dulcis in fundo, indeed.

Touching Extremes
Massimo Ricci


Review – 10-33cm (ROOM40) 2008 – by Marcus Whale, The Silent Ballet

i8u – 10-33cm (MP3 by Room40) 2008

A part of the spat of new releases on Room40 over late 2008 and early 2009, this offering is produced by Montreal-based sound designer France Jobin, best known for her conceptually mind boggling sound experiments as I8U. This latest work, 10-33 cm, focuses on string theory, an attempt to adapt these tenets of quantum physics to a sound context.

Being unfortunately shackled to an intellect utterly bereft of mathematical knowledge, I have no way of interpreting the conceptual basis for the piece, but Jobin’s skill as a sound designer is undeniable. Jobin creates a seven-part, 46 minute long universe of mainly sine-tone based sound worlds that are remarkable in their focus and detail. Each track is assigned a different ‘type’ of string and the disparity between the contents of each section is marked. The most beautiful moments in the work come at the very beginning, where tiny, high frequency sounds move in and out of each other and take on a delicate form. Massive arrays of sounds subsequently provide counterpoint to this initial moment, but ultimately don’t match the atmosphere that it creates.

The most remarkable element of this release is the ability for such intellectual, difficult music to become as evocative, even on an emotional level, as much of 10-33 cm is. A criticism may be, for all of its intricacies, these experiments occasionally lapse into over-repetition, becoming reduced to its subject matter, rather than finding identity through the medium by which the concept is being expressed – sound. However, as a whole, the suite is tight and well constructed, finding moments of great intensity and poise.

Room40 are known for managing the compromise between the intellectual aesthetic of this corner of experimental music and its ability to ascertain a human reaction to it, beyond the arguably dry conceptual origins that often mark the associated releases. I8U is an example of this success; above all, a demonstration of the complexity of Jobin’s craft, an approach to sound design that is difficult to fault, in its strong intent and flawless execution.

-Marcus Whale

Review – 10-33cm (ROOM40) 2008 – by Textura

i8u – 10-33cm (MP3 by Room40) 2008
Two “lower-case” recordings by Asher and I8U make natural additions to ROOM40’s discography.

i8u’s 10-33 cm is as resonant as Asher’s Landscape Studies but wholly different in timbre. Inspired by ideas associated with String Theory, Canadian sound artist France Jobin (aka i8u) creates seven crystalline webs of shimmering, glistening tones and textures. Apparently, the measure 10-33 cm represents the theoretical size of the strings that constitute the universe, and, as Jobin explains,”Resonance is the vibrational pattern which determines what kind of particle the string is, and thus the type of particle is the movement of the string and the energy associated with this movement.” Don’t worry: listening to 10-33 cm requires no degree in Physics; one can experience it as pure sound divorced from its theoretical underpinning. Broached on purely sonic terms, the recording offers a wide-ranging series of explorations into microsound textures, rhythms, and tonalities with each of the spatial re-creations pursuing different pathways associated with the originating concept. Comprised of forty-six minutes of reverberant drones, rumbling tones, faint clicks, and softly crackling static, 10-33 cm could just as easily be a Line release as one from ROOM40.