REVISIO: Mireille Kyrou / Vox Populi! | Experimental Lineage

Life is full of choices. If you’d not been delayed at the train station, you never have been walking down the road at the time and bumped your old school friend – and a million other variants stream out every single living breathing moment. A vast series of ping pong bounces in the universe have somehow inextricably led you to this tiny slither of the internet, on this page, reading this passage of text right now.

Of course, having an interest in the music you like and the music that OBLADADA covers is again a unique story for all of us. It’s also interesting to think that behind all the great music we attempt to spotlight here is real people that exist beyond the wonderful worlds their music has carved into our ears and minds. So the very corner of Elaine Radigue’s kitchen were her mythic ARP500 sat, quite probably doubled as space were her children played. John Cage may well have bought mushrooms on a trip to the supermarket as well as enthusiastically foraging for them. Normal everyday life and other welcome distractions getting in the way of, and inspiring work. As well as an audience being impacted, those held near and dear also must also absorb the creative and mundane reality of these good folk just living their lives.

So touchingly, this exact joining of dots is were Experimental Lineage shines a light over a concise 30 minutes of music. A fascinating and heartfelt grouping of the only two recorded pieces by Mireille Kyrou and a later companion piece by the amazing  Vox Populi! which just happens to include Kyrou’s son Axel.

Mireille studied under Messiaen before joining the pivotal GRM musical research centre created by Pierre Schaeffer placing her at the very heart of the vibrant French avant grade, and the birth place of Music Concrete. However, she quit music to devote herself to motherhood and family life welcoming Ariel in 1962, and Axel in 1964.


Etude 1 opens out like a huge metallic shimmer that immediately belies the original sound source of a comb and a feather. A sea of tumbling vibrations were time is amplified and magnified literally pulling the listener deep into the tape. The second half of the piece forms into a droning choir before a sea of morse coding splinters branch of the rising weirdness.  

Film Musique is a soundtrack to an experimental film of which no information is known other than Mirelle originally insisted the soundtrack wasn’t meant to be separated from the film. However, she did finally agree and its very much a seamless extension of Etude 1 over its pulsated 11-minute duration. Growing out of a fluttering chirping cloud, a propulsive bullet grows… only to cut abruptly like it’s mapping out space. A curving, almost Serge Lione harmonica floats by as more chirping floods in before growing into a forest of bells. Quite how the music sits along the visuals, remains a mystery but the piece violently snakes between huge dynamic elbows and sinuous silence. An alien landscape described in otherworldly glyphs that’s made all the more engrossing by the fact everything is thoughtfully placed. Nothing here is by accident as much as nothing makes sense. Totally wonderful stuff.

Decades have elapsed in the split-second transition to the final track, Koro Wild by Vox Populi! building out of the very same fluttering cloud of his mother’s work. Slowly the underlining monolithic looping background gentle drags the piece forward, as the bird like desensitise appear rising like dawn sunbeams. Recording over almost 15 years culminating in 2007, gathering field recordings from France, Japan and Burkina Faso, it’s a beautiful unhinged response to his mother’s work. And ultimately, in a move that’s both heart wrenching and heart-warming a piece Mireille loved and identified with so much, she insisted was played at her funeral.

In many ways the Mireille’s brief discography grows out of a similar school to that of her contemporaries.   It’s a music that feels galaxies away from more normal forms, and it easy to almost forget the human touch anywhere in its complexity. A music that seemingly grows out technology and science. But as Koro Wild fizzes of into silence, its hard not to feel the pull of a deeply personal space between a mother and a son. A hugely private dialogue gloriously and generously offered to anyone that cares to listen. Proof, in the midst this huge weirdness is two people sharing a vocabulary, love and connections in abundance. A legacy in action…

Experimental Lineage is out now on nostalgie de la boue

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