Skip navigation
Accessibility Mode
DMA Logo
Home Digital Music Archives Home - Electroacoustic Books Digital Music Archives Home - Logon
Digital Music Archives - Electroacoustic CD Catalog Digital Music Archives - Electroacoustic Events in the UK Digital Music Archives - Shopping Cart Details
Digital Music Archives - Download Electroacoustic Tracks Digital Music Archives - Electroacoustic Events in the UK Digital Music Archives - Checkout
blue white background
Welcome - if you are a returning customer, log-on to your account.  
Your current session
Cart Summary
Cart Empty
Amend Cart
My Account
Pages Visited
Les derives du signe
Other Pages...

About Us
Delivery Information
Sales and Return Policy

Top Sellers
3 CD Box Set: L'Oeuvre Musicale The complete works of Pierre Schaeffer, re-digitised and re-issued with newly discovered tracks.
Book and 3 x CDs: Solfege de l'Objet Sonore This book, accompanied by 285 tracks on 3 CDs of examples is a unique and indispensable resource work for all those interested in electroacoustic music. Examples by Parmegiani, Henry, Bayle, Xenakis, Luc Ferrari etc. illustrate Pierre Schaeffer's text.
Book: Audible Design by Trevor Wishart
5 CD Box Set: GRM Archive 5 CD Boxed Set containing music spanning half a century of GRM inspired compositions
12 CD Box Set: Parmegiani: l'Oeuvre Musicale The complete works of Bernard Parmegiani on 12 CDs

Trevor Wishart - Globalalia/Imago

Trevor wishart - Globalalia/ImagoA re-issue of Globalalia which explores human speech and the syllables common to all, and Imago, which is constructed entirely out of the sound of 2 whiskey glasses being clinked together. Classic Wishart at his best!

Wishart writes: "In Globalalia, I wanted to use human speech, but focus on what we hold in common as human beings. Although the world’s languages contain many millions of words, these are constructed from a much smaller set of sounds, the syllables. I wrote to several friends asking them to collect voices from their local radio stations, and also recorded voices from TV stations via satellite dish, assembling sounds from 134 voices in 26 different languages. I then edited these into their syllables, ending with more than 8300 sources."

Francis Dhomont - Etudes Pour Kafka

Francis Dhomont - Etudes Pour KafkaA new release from Francis Dhomont, who in the opinion of many is the greatest living composer of electroacoustic music. This CD contains 3 studies which were the seeds from which many of his other works grew. Behind major works of the scope of … mourir un peu, Sous le regard d’un soleil noir, and Forêt profonde, in these studies Dhomont experiments with the themes, tries out sound materials, and unveils glimpses of the final work. Dhomont at his best!

Denis Smalley - Sources - Scénes

Denis Smalley - Sources - ScénesrOne of our most popular titles is back in stock. Denis Smalley is one of the UK's best known composers of electroacoustic music, and this CD is a personal favourite of ours - definitely a desert island disc. The music is simply stunningly beautiful, the production and sound quality are as good as it gets. If you don't already have this CD, don't put it off any longer.
Parmegiani: l'Oeuvre MusicaleWe are fans of Bernard Parmegiani and so we now have all of his CDs in stock, including the newly released l'Oeuvre Musicale. If you don't know his music, we recommend that you make an acqaintence with it by listening to some clips and reading the comprehensive notes which we have on the site. Click here for links to his biography and all his CDs.
Pierre Hanry: Labyrinthe We now stock a selection of the best electroacoustic CDs from the GRM Catalog, both historic and new - Electroacoustic Classics from Pierre SchaefferPierre Henry Luc Ferrari and  Jean-Claude Risset are just some of the new offerings.

One of our most popular GRM titles is Pierre Henry's Labyrinthe - Pierre Henry says of Labyrinthe - "For the first time during my journey and ventures into the world of creation, I dreamt of a breath of fresh air deriving from the electronic realm." This CD is a real retrospective of this pioneer of electronic music.
New from Digital Music Archives - Download a continually expanding catalogue of electroacoustic music tracks!

You can now download a selection of single tracks of music from our website. All the tracks are encoded as top quality MP3s at 320k. All you have to do is go to our tracks page, add the ones you want to your shopping cart, and you will be presented with a webpage with links to the tracks as soon as your credit card payment has been authorised. You will also be sent an email with the links and a seven day period to download the tracks.
Our UK Event Listings service is now online....

We now have a listings page for concerts, festivals, conferences and workshops of electroacoustic music in the UK. We hope it will soon be the place to check up on whats happening and where. Its already up and running - click here! to check it out.
Looking for a course in electroacoustic composition? - Try our links page for some of the best places in the UK. You'll also find links to organisations and institutes all over the world.

Think we've missed out on something? Email us at and let us know.

CD Details for Francis Dhomont: Les derives du signe

Les derives du signe Francis Dhomont
The four works on this CD by Francis Dhomont play with diversion. The diversion: of musical discourse in Novars, of sound sources in Chiaroscuro, of sensory perception (synesthesia) in Météores (Meteors), and of nature in Signé Dionysos
In Stock
 Customer Reviews 
 Other Titles by Francis Dhomont 
 Audio Clips 
Track 1
Novars (1989)
Track 2
Chiaroscurio (1987)
Track 3
Meteores (1989)
Track 4
Signe Dionysos (1986 - 1991)
 Sleeve Notes 

About the Artist

Francis Dhomont studied under Ginette Waldmeier, Charles Koechlin and Nadia Boulanger. In the late 40’s, in Paris (France), he intuitively discovered with magnetic wire what Schaeffer would later call “musique concrète” and consequently conducted solitary experiments with the musical possibilities of sound recording. Later, leaving behind instrumental writing, he dedicated himself exclusively to electroacoustic composition.

An ardent proponent of acousmatics, his work (since 1963) is comprised exclusively of works for tape bearing witness to his continued interest in morphological interplay and ambiguities between sound and the images it may create.

The Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec has recently awarded him a prestigious carreer grant. In 1999, he was awarded five first prizes for four of his recent works at international competition (Brazil, Spain, Italy, Hungary and Czech Republic). In 1997, as the winner of the Canada Council for the Arts’ Lynch-Staunton Prize, he was also supported by the DAAD for a residence in Berlin (Germany). Five-time winner at the Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition (France) — the Magisterium Prize in 1988 — and 2nd Prize at Prix Ars Electronica 1992 (Linz, Austria), he has received numerous other awards.

He is the editor of special issues published by Musiques & Recherches (Belgium) and of “Électroacoustique Québec: l’essor” (Québec Electroacoustics: The Expansion) — for Circuit (Montréal). Musical coeditor of the Dictionnaire des arts médiatiques (published by UQAM), he is also lecturer and has produced many radio programs for Radio-Canada and Radio- France.

Since 1978, he has divided his time between France and Québec, where he has taught at the Université de Montréal from 1980 to 1996. He is an Associate Composer of the Canadian Music Centre (CMC, 1989) and a Founding Member (1986) and Honorary Member (1989) of the Canadian Electroacoustic Community (CEC). Great traveller, he participates in sevral juries.

He now focuses on composition and theory.

The Acousmattitude of Francis Dhomont

What is immediately attractive about Francis Dhomont, fortunately, apart from appearances, is that he posses nothing of the Cloven Viscount, the Italo Calvino hero whose two halves, misfortune and kindness, scatter along the way loss mixed with consolation. If that story has a happy ending—where, after a duel, both halves of the mini viscounts re-emerge as one reharmonized entity—and if this fable comes to mind at this moment it is because of a profound tendency towards this dichotomy characteristic of today’s composers, to which some do not escape, either by perverted coquetry— slandering and vituperating contemporary art while being in it themselves—or by naive proselytism—discrediting their work by making an irremediable gap between the ambition of their discourse and the aesthetical result.

In the case of Francis Dhomont, the process is out of the ordinary. We have with him the interesting double union of a composer whose work is constant with consistent quality, varied but with unity of style, colored but with great coherence. And, as a bonus, he is a teacher who produces numerous quality good students, devoted to listening to others and thinking about their discourse, a constant mover and continuous analyst of the theories of an art which remains experimental, who encourages an art allowing as much musical as human exploration, both abundant qualities of this composer.

Because each half may exist without the other—one nourishing the other—we can explain this remarkably balanced case of acousmattitude…

—François Bayle, Paris, June, 23rd, 1991

About the Music

Mouvances-Métaphores: 2. The Drift of the Sign

Les dérives du signe (The Drift of the Sign)

Mobility here is that of quicksand. One believes one holds the image but it sifts between the fingers, or allows itself to be covered, engulfed by a new image closing in upon it.

Ubiquity and ambiguity of signs inform us and lead us astray.

These four works play with diversion. The diversion: of musical discourse in Novars, of sound sources in Chiaroscuro, of sensory perception (synesthesia) in Météores (Meteors), and of nature in Signé Dionysos.

Under the title Mouvances~Métaphores (Mobility~Metaphors), seven works are united around the common theme of movement as with virtual displacement of sound in geometric space, or metaphorical transferences of meaning into the realms of imagination.

Track 1 Novars (1989) | 19m07s

To musique concrète and Pierre Schaeffer, its ‘ill-fated inventor’

“… one moment transported in beautified memories of the first ‘concrète’ illuminations of my childhood […]. Perhaps I was the only one to be so moved by the sound of these last ‘measures’…” —Marie-Claire Schaeffer-Patris, personal letter to the composer.

Novars salutes the birth of musique concrète, the Ars Nova of our century, by calling upon the resources of the computer. The intention is not to create a pastiche but, on the contrary, to testify that by the most advanced means a language has been passed on. It may also be possible to suggest, without establishing a simplistic symmetry, that there exists a link between these two theorists of a new art: Vitry and Schæffer.

The ‘classical’ ear will perhaps recognize fragments from Schaeffer’s Étude aux objets (1959) and Guillaume de Machaut’s Messe de Nostre Dame (1364). These quotations, along with a third sound element—a sort of homage to Pierre Henry and his infamous door—are the sole materials giving birth to multiple variations.

A sign of change: ‘spectromorphologic’ (Denis Smalley) mutations give to sonorities of the Ars Nova and to ‘new music’ (as Schaeffer named it in 1950) the sound of our time. A sign of continuity: something from the original works (their color, their structure…) remains present, indestructible.

François Bayle writes about Novars:

“In listening to the works of Francis Dhomont, one senses a unique voice.

One finds traits and signatures: long ‘breath-like’ trajectories, masterful alternations of deeply engraved forms and light refined lines, play with proportions and moving masses. Like in Chiaroscuro—one of his most successful —a baroque taste for timbral richness and shadowy contours, interrupted by identifiable fragments, often with vocal qualities, always alive.

There is a sense of accentuation and deep breathing, leading to a finely heard silence, framed and placed with the meticulousness of a photographer for whom every background detail counts as much as, and maybe more than, the foreground musical intentions.

Novars contains refinements that add fresh color and new light to the work’s main purpose. The rhythmic cellular element is that of a slow dance based on a complex note, a pegged quotation (taken from the Étude aux objets by Pierre Schaeffer) and, detaching it from the ‘moiré’ vocal timbres (‘stirred up’ à la Machaut) projects on the work an evocation from the Pavane (for loved ones, certainly not dead!).

The breaths, thrusts, and ‘jetés-glissés’ (thrown-slid) of well choreographed gestures counterbalance the rhythmical accumulations forming a third sound character to this tale; a tale of time and contretemps, in riddle form.

Indeed, as the tale proceeds, it slowly unveils its sources of inspiration. Or rather: this unfolding comprises lengthy placements into perspective, of a distance towards quoted sources, with Tanguy-like otherworldly colors, of the beaches where this homage to the ‘revival’ evolves in “metal sky” (Giono) tonalities.

Dedicated “to musique concrète”, this piece gently illuminates its references and leaves us under its profound charm. As with … mourir un peu—is it its timelessness?—we are offered a strange yet beneficent moment of reflection.” (Paris, June 16th, 1991)

Novars was realized at Studio 123 of the Ina-GRM (Paris, France) and at the composer’s studio and was premiered on May 29th, 1989, as part of the 11th GRM Acousmatic Concert Series at the Grand auditorium of Radio-France (Paris). This piece was selected by the 1990 International Computer Music Conference (ICMC’90) in Glasgow (Scotland), and by the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) for the 1991 World Music Days in Zürich (Switzerland). The jury of the 1991 Stockholm Electronic Arts Award also selected it for performance at its award concert in Stockholm (Sweden). Special thanks to Pierre Schaeffer who has kindly allowed the quotation of a few sound propositions, now historic; and to Bénédict Mailliard, Yann Geslin and Daniel Teruggi without whose patience it would have been impossible to domesticate Studio 123 and the Syter real-time sound synthesis system of the Ina-GRM (Paris, France). Novars was commissioned by the Ina-GRM.

Track 2: Chiaroscuro (1987) | 17m30s

To François Bayle

Plays of ambiguity. Of course, this ‘chiaroscuro’ is one of shadows and light, of opacity and transparency of sound, of the incertitude between one and the other. However, beyond this, it is the ambiguity, the hesitation between spoken and suggested, between face and mask (warning: a sound may hide another), between manifest and latent, enactment and illusion. ‘Trompe l’oreille’ music.

As in much of my work, certain sound elements come from earlier pieces and are developed anew here. I like the fact that the discourse is continued, completed. Besides— and in homage to the composers of the Montréal concert organization Les Événements du Neuf (1978-89): José Evangélista, Denis Gougeon, John Rea and in particular to the memory of Claude Vivier—I gave in to musical larceny (with the unwary complicity of its victims) which, I hope, creates an iridescence here and there, a voluntarily enigmatic contrivance.

Mutation of the musical instruments: mobility, relief, colors among the shadows…

Chiaroscuro was realized at the composer’s studio and was premiered on April 10th, 1987 in Montréal. This piece was awarded the Prize of the 1st Magisterium of the 16th Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition (France, 1988) and was first released on the Cultures électroniques 3—Magisterium compact disc produced by the Groupe de musique expérimentale de Bourges (GMEB) on the Le chant du monde label (LDC 278048). Chiaroscuro was commissioned by Les Événements du Neuf and realized with the assistance of the Canada Council [for the Arts].

Track 3:Météores (1989) | 12m43s

3rd movement of “Chroniques de la lumière” (Chronicles of Light) (1989)

To Annette Vande Gorne

These Chronicles are an impressionistic sonic version of visual elements—an undoubtedly metaphorical act—a personal daydream of light based on a concept by Montréal visual artist Luc Courchesne.

With sound transpositions of luminous phenomena, natural rays or multiple artefacts, Chroniques de la lumière is comprised of three movements: Miroitements (Shimmers), Artifices, Météores (Meteors) or, if one prefers: adagio, allegro, presto-finale. A progression is articulated, not only from slow to fast, but also from calm to agitated, from somber to clear, from piano to forte, from static to mobile, from simple to complex.

Météores proceeds by a progressive increase of elements, by slow accumulation, an increase of density, and a reinforcement of the sensation of speed and kinetic energy.

Chroniques de la lumière (thus Météores) was realized at the composer’s studio and was premiered on April 26th, 1989, at the “Doppler Concert” of the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (SMCQ) at the Spectrum in Montréal. Chroniques de la lumière was first released on the Halogènes compact disc produced by the Université de Montréal on the UMMUS-Actuelles label (UMM C 101). Météores was selected by the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) for the 1990 World Music Days in Oslo (Norway). Many of the sounds were realized at Studio 123 and with the Syter real-time sound synthesis system of the Ina-GRM (Paris, France). Special thanks to Bénédict Mailliard, Yann Geslin and Daniel Teruggi for their invaluable advice. Chroniques de la lumière was commissioned by the SMCQ and realized with the assistance of the Canada Council [for the Arts].

Track 4:Signé Dionysos (1986-91) | 28m22s

operacousmatic between nature and artifice

To André and Paule Gribenski, the voices of the frog and the songs of these musicians

There is a small lake in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence (France), a poetic and intimate site located deep in the Alpilles. On full moon evenings, after the heat of the day, the sensual pleasure of contemplation is exceptional. In May and June—when nature is expressive— the frogs burst forth.

Jean-Étienne Marie, then director of the Centre international de recherche musicale (International Music Research Center, CIRM, Nice, France), to whom I had described those barbarian love songs, commissioned me in 1984 to compose a lakeshore opera— parodical, no doubt—in which all of the roles, from the diva to the choir, would be assigned to… frogs.

This is how Signé Dionysos (Signed Dionysus) was born. The title makes reference to the character of Aristophanes who, in The Frogs, hears the song of these “daughters of the bog.” As a matter of fact, aren’t the exaltation and ecstasy of these nocturnal singers somewhat Dionysian?

As with any respectful opera, this work has acts, scenes, tableaux. The plot: “A small Provence lake. After a warm day, the strollers leave, thus returning the lake to its natural hosts. The frogs return, taking hold of the stage and will ‘perform the opera’. Unheard-of, surreal, dilated songs. Naturally, after love, the drama will conclude with death…”

However, it is only entertainment. But what pleasure to play with this given sonorous generator of innumerable morphologies and also, once again, with the ambiguous ‘music- of-nature/artifices-of-the-studio.’ Truth or lie? Found, processed or constructed sound? All of these delusions confound the ear and, as with wine, alter the senses.

This brings us back to Bacchus!

Signé Dionysos was realized at the composer’s studio and was premiered on February 1st, 1986, at the festival Musiques actuelles Nice/Côte d’Azur (MANCA, France). The definitive version, reproduced here, was realized at the composer’s studio in May, 1991. Most of the recordings were made at night in May and June of 1984 and 1985. Some sound processing was realized at Studio 123 and with the Syter real-time sound synthesis system of the Ina-GRM (Paris, France). Thanks to the enlightened and indispensable advice of Bénédict Mailliard and Yann Geslin. Thanks also to Marc Jaquin for his authorization to use some of his recordings for this piece. Signé Dionysos was commissioned by Jean-Étienne Marie for the CIRM (Nice, France).

 Artist Email
 Artist Website