REVIEWS (1990-1999)

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All-Music-Guide, review of vex CD by François Couture
Vex, Christof Migone’s second CD, is a cycle of three works, three 20-minute suites each inspired by a “shadow” (the composer’s word) and created with the help of a friend. “Marche Arrière” (“Reverse”) is inhabited by the ghost of French composer Erik Satie and features percussionist Michel F. Côté. “Cris-Cris” was inspired by French writer Antonin Artaud and created with the help of Gregory Whitehead. “Corps dans le Vide” (“Bodies in Emptiness”), a collaboration with Louis Ouellet, is impregnated with the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze. Each suite is divided into short interlocking segments (nothing over four minutes), a technique Migone displayed on his previous album Hole in the Head. The sound collages mostly use voices, as well as electro-acoustic and electronic sounds, alternating in the form of a cut-and-paste. The composer’s fascination with speech puts a new dress on: instead of accidental speech, he now uses excerpts from the featured ghost’s body of works to weave enigmatic strings of meaning into his piece. “Marche Arrière” is the more lighthearted of the three, while “Corps dans le Vide” gets very close to aural claustrophobia. All three have a more abstract construction, a less visceral delivery than Hole in the Head, but they feature a wider palette of sounds and techniques. It should be noted that the collaborators’ input did not leave a remarkable stamp: Migone’s touch remains the strongest one everywhere on this album.

New Arts Examiner, November 1999, review of Crackers in Site of Sound: Of Architecture and the Ear by Mark Schwartz
[…] Of all the sonic projects offered [in Site of Sound: Of Architecture and the Ear], none echoes Artaud’s sentiments about snake charming more than Christof Migone’s Crackers #4. Via radio ads and newspaper classified, Migone invited the citizens of Ottawa, Canada, to a sound studio where he recorded them cracking their knuckles, necks, jaws, etc. The resulting “portrait of a city” makes for fascinating if gruesome listening. You definitely hear this recording with more than just your ears.

The Wire, March Issue 181, review of vex CD by Andy Hamilton
“If you enjoy being vexated, you will not want to miss the grindings and gratings of Vex,” promises this electroacoustic disc Christof Migone is assisted by Michel F. Côté, Louis Ouellet and Gregory Whitehead. The disc is divided into three zones, designated Satie, Antonin Artaud and Gilles Deleuze respectively, with 20 minutes of short tracks in each. Satie was known for Vexations of his own, of course, and his zone is the most colourful, concluding with a splintering one minute “Satie Hardcore”. Artaud inspires more melancholic reflections with mournful sax prominent on some tracks. But there’s a minute attention to detail throughout this quirky release.

le stéréophile, #13, review of vex CD by Fred Landier
VEX est un disque qui se compose de trois zones. Des zones de remixes concrets autour de trois héros contemporains: Satie, Artaud et Deleuze. Humour et musique concrète, électronicité et jeux de mots rogilos, ce sont Christof Migone qui s’occupe avec Michel F. Côté du cas Satie, avec Gregory Whitehead qui calme Artaud et avec louis Ouellet qui ressuscite Deleuze. Les titres sont assez éloquents pour ne pas se perdre à essayer de raconter la musique : comme un rossignol qui autrait mal aux dents, satie hardcore, les amateurs professionnels, channel surf morpion, pour en finir avec la fin, défenestrer, parler sale, je fuis ce que je suis est excellent sur toute la ligne.


Fuse, vol. 21 no.4, Fall 1998, review of Separate, with Kim Dawn, by Stephen Horne
[…] Last in my trajectory, but by no means least, was the fabulously viscous performance of Kim Dawn and Christof Migone. Those feelings of revulsion that so mark our fears of becoming fluid are given a very precise embodiment in this provocative and rigorous work. Presented in a small dark room into which electric light intermittently flickered from an almost dysfunctional single overhead bulb, Separate could disturb Kristeva herself with its evocation of dangerous fluidity, of flows, pollution and loss of stability. while one participant immersed himself headfirst into a bucket of slime which could only have been honey, the hooded co-performer sat mutely, slowly carving round and round a book-shaped piece of material with a large knife. equally obsessive, this same performer peeled fruit, perhaps plums, sucking and drooling the viscous body of the fruits. In slow time, this performance entirely permeated the space and the bodies of anyone watching. Separation was impossible; the persistence with which it oozed through pores, under my/our skin was an entirely captivating argument for ‘intersubjectivity’ as a way of understanding the reciprocity of relations between maker and made, of self and other. In fact, McFarlane’s and Dawn/Migone’s works manifested what I take to be the primary relevance of the ‘Counterposes’ event, that is, to open a reconsideration of the banishment of performance because of its emphasis on artistic presence, on the body as subjectivity. […]

Lola, No.3 Winter 1998, review of Separate, with Kim Dawn, by Jack Stanley
[…] One of the more enigmatic works came from Kim Dawn and Christof Migone. Separate was a surreal ritual-like performance where the artists engaged in infantile activities, like sucking, chewing, spitting, and smearing food all over their bodies. They sat on a blanket in the center of a darkened room with honey, molasses, milk, and fruit spread out around them. Both wore white hooded costumes and black makeup around their eyes, which gave them a toy animal appearance. Even though they didn’t interact with the audience or with one another, there was an acute sense of intimacy between the two –an embodied sense of companionship. There was also something extremely sensuous about their gentle and deliberate action, which appeared both repulsive and comforting all at once. Adding to this sensory experience was the smell of rotting food that permeated the room, making me palpably aware of the inevitability of impermanence and change. […]

Mix Magazine, vol.24.2 Fall 1998, review of Separate, with Kim Dawn, by Valérie Lamontagne
[…] Visitors returning from a final back room are warning me, ” Don’t go in there, it’s disgusting.” I determinedly move on towards the room’s gleaming lights and enter a psychedelic picnic where my olfactory senses are immediately assaulted. Two raccoon-eyed humans are crouched on the floor in a debauched display of consumption. They are breaking every table manner and rule of etiquette – playing with their food, eating with their mouths open and spitting it out again. Their menu consists of chocolate bars, fruit, milk, and a large bucket of honey that one of the performers occasionally dunks his head in. Kim Dawn and Christof Migone’s Separate embraces the fissure between animal and human, food and feces, where the body’s exterior and interior boundaries spiral into one.[…]

P-Form, No.46.2 Fall 1998, review of Separate by Aaron Pollard

Parachute, No. 92, octobre-novembre-décembre 1998, review of Separate by Johanne Lamoureux
[…] Au terme de l’exposition, sont inscrit deux projects plus près des préoccupations inter-esthétiques des conservateurs. Womens’ Rites: Sifting de tarin chaplin et Separate de Kim Dawn et Christof Migone délaissent la problématique du regard et de l’interaction au profit de mises en situation du corps dans sa plus troublante organicité: le corps consommable (le corps enfariné chez chaplin, corps-pâte, corps-pain) et le corps consommant dans la prestation de Dawn et Migone annoncée, dès le haut de l’escalier, par un odorama de miel, de fruits germentés et de lait suri. Les performers y transgressent, dans une espèce d’autisme jubilatoire et oppressant, un des grands interdits de l’enfance : jouer avec la nourriture. […]

Radio Feature on Radio Suisse Romande, producer Jean Nicole

Radio Feature on Danmarks Radio, producer Peter Kristiansen

Vital Weekly, 14 Dec 1998, review of vex CD by Frans de Waard.
From the active new music sources from Canada, a new CD by composer Christof Migone, who is helped by the voices of Gregory Whitehead, Michel F. Côté and Louis Ouellet. There are three zones, or themes if you want: Erik Satie, Gilles Deleuze and Antonin Artaud. “Vex is a series of accidents, problematic strategie, absurd tactics and misunderstood languages”. Like with schizophrenia, the music limps on many ideas. Some strong, and some weak. Much sampling of sounds, instruments, voices, short and witty at times, even rhythmic at times, but sometimes boring. A strange CD, not easy to capture in it’s intent. Closed like an asylum. If you are into improvisation, sampling and a strong concept: this is it.

The Wire, February 1998, Issue 168, review of my participation in Recycling the Future by Phil England
[…] it was down to the artists to deliver the more interesting presentations. These included Quebecois radio interventionist Christof Migone, whose intelligent musings on wireless issues were conducted from a table illuminated by a single lamp and covered with a small number of props, which set the late night radio mood. […]

The Wire, January 1998, reviews of Hole in the Head, Rappel, Radio Folie Culture

Revue et Corrigée, June 1998, France, reviews of Hole in the Head, Rappel, and Radio Folie Culture CDs


CMJ September 28 1997, review of Hole in the Head CD by Robin Edgerton
A 1991-1996 retrospective of Migone’s sporadic but enticing sound/language pieces, Hole In The Head is made up of familiar sounds far out of their context. In these 61 fragments, mostly arranged into longer suites, buzzes, clicks and static nervously dart around voices of various kinds. The vocal components are texts and noises, mostly, but a lot of frightened, filtered snatches of conversation, like the kind Scanner picks up, or quick inhalations and sleep-sounds. Drier than sound-poetry contemporaries like Paul Dutton and Anna Homler, Migone works with (and tries to approximate) the language of the insane– repetition, dissociation, non-verbal words. verbal non-words – arranged in a purposeful, composed, arty way (many of these pieces were made for art contexts).

GAJOOB March 1997, review of Solar Plexus on Radius #3 CD by Mike Bowman
In the words of Monty Python, “And now for something completely different.” The Radius #3 CD compilation features the work of audio artists, and when I say artists I mean the fine arts Andy Warhol type, not the recording artist Michael Jackson type. Kathy Kennedy constructs an audio essay on gang culture and the pursuit of victims using a sonic collage of footsteps in the subway, victim’s verbal recollections and other associated sounds. Christof Migone’s “Solar Plexus” focusses on the minute, insignificant sounds of the world: people humming to themselves, clanking dishes in the kitchen, etc… According to the liner notes, the goal of these artists is to have their works broadcast. If you like the work of hometapers like Scott Davies and the band Inca, you’ll enjoy this departure from the world of rock.

fader, vol.001 1997, Japan, review of Hole in the Head

Montreal Mirror, November 13 1997, review of Hole in the Head CD by Chris Yurkiw
Students of psycholinguistics and sympathizers with Bertol Brecht’s ideas on interactive radio should recall Christof Migone’s sound breaking show on CKUT-FM, Danger In Paradise, whence a goodly chunk of this “schizophonic art’ is culled. Mics are misused, CD players skip, syllables are snipped and recognized languages lapse into what Allen S. Weiss calls in the liner notes “Migone’s oral and aural contortions, ruins, lacerations, abrasions and ruptures.” Great fodder for your answering machine.

Rubberneck, No.26 December 1997, review of Hole in the Head by Chris Atton
Christof Migone presents 61 tracks of close-miked vocal explorations in as many minutes, The shortest clocks in at four seconds, recalling Zorn’s hardcore excesses applied to the voice, though Migone offers much greater subtlety, variety and humour. An obvious comparison would be Henri Chopin, but whereas he prefers large-scale structures for his compositions, Migone’s strength is clearly as a miniaturist, focusing briefly but intently on particular vocal phenomena and semantics. It appears he does this on Canadian radio, too. Precisely why, he doesn’t say. You don’t need to be there, either.

ND Magazine, No. 20 Summer 1997, review of Hole in the Head CD by J.F
Migone exploits the technological possibilities of sound poetry with much emphasis on simple, linear editing over sound processing.. This, and the almost strictly verbal character of Migone’s sound poetry (word meanings are often unimportant) make me think of him as the polar opposite of Henry Chopin, another tech-dependent sound poet. Like Chopin’s work, Migone’s exhibits a kind of restraint that keeps the primary focus from being obscured by indulgent effects and clutter. In feeling. ‘Hole in the Head’ seems akin to sound artists like IOS Smolders and Ryoji Ikeda, whose work expresses a technological attitude that is post-heroic and which belongs to the blasé mood of the communication age. Quite intriguing and recommended.

ND Magazine, No. 20 Summer 1997, review of Rappel CD by J.F
Compilation of telephone related sound works by Christof Migone, Daniel Leduc, Sylvia Wang, Algojo)(Algojo, Pierre-André Arcand, Chantal Dumas, Kathy Kennedy, Jean Routhier, Gregory Whitehead and Doyon/Demers. There’s a lot of French speak here, making me ill equipped to understand or judge these pieces, but I’ll mention that they tend to remind me of the works by some of these same artists on Nonsequitur’s Radius compilations. Here they dwell on the sounds and mysteries of the telephone world rather than the possibilities of radio art (lots of beeps, busy signals, answering machine messages, etc.) to pretty interesting effect.

Exclaim!, September 1997, reviews of Hole in the Head, Rappel, Radio Folie Culture CDs by Richard Moule
That Quebec has always had a strong tradition in electronic and electro-acoustic music is a given; what continues to surprise is the wealth, depth and scope of the work being created. The Quebec label OHM/Avatar seems interested in exploring sound sources and found sounds. At its core, OHM/Avatar seems to be following the esteemed traditions of people like John Cage, Pierre Schaeffer, Brion Gysin, and more recently Robin Rimbaud’s project, Scanner and Panasonic, in creating musique concrete and sound collages. Radio Folie/Culture uses samples from field recordings of nature, radio or random conversations and matches them with industrial noises that are carefully constructed to form sound pieces. If Radio Folie Culture‘s pieces serve as aural snapshots of fleeting real world moments, making the ordinary seem extraordinary, Rappel is about the art of voyeurism. Produced in collaboration with Radio Canada’s ‘Chants Magnetiques,’ Rappel is a collection of recordings from a little Bell branch office, and from answering machines. Sound experimenters have dropped in on people’s phone conversations, capturing their innocent exchanges with one another. The effect is at once banal and disturbing, catching these transmissions and monitoring them much the same way someone would from security services. In a world of instant communications and yet unprecedented surveillance, Rappel tackles issues of privacy and appropriation, and the lines that are drawn between the private and public self when you try to reach out and touch someone. Jocelyn Robert’s La Theorie Des Nerfs Creux is no less manipulative, but its intentions are more in creating waves and frequency-based glitches, similar in style to the German duo, Oval. Robert’s sound collages appear to come more from the electro-acoustic side of musical experimentation. Christof Migone’s Hole In The Head is a little more ambitious. Migone’s audio inventions are centered around the human voice, in particular the inner voice and how it haunts our thought and speech. Through piercing acoustics, Migone exposes the vocal accidents of speech: moans, screams, sighs, cries, chokes, slurps, wheezes, stutters and other imperfections. This is abrasive and at the same time humbling stuff. We often like to think of ourselves as sophisticated and enlightening conversationalists. But at base have we progressed as far as we think? Are we not, in the end just apes with haircuts? The mind reels.


Phantasmic Radio, Duke University Press, discussion of my live radio years at CKUT-FM Montréal (1987-1994) by Allen S. Weiss
[…] Villier’s antitheater, Artaud’s theater of cruelty, Cage’s imaginary landscapes, Novarina’s theater for the ears, Wolfson’s radio solipsism, Whitehead’s forensic theater, Migone’s radio contortionism: can the heterotopia of radically experimental radiophony lead to a linguistic utopia, or are its results necessarily dystopic? I wish to end this study with one further selection from [Migone’s] Describe Yourself, which might serve as a coda, perhaps even an allegory, and certainly a warning: CALLER 7: The wires. Hello Host: Yes, What is your shape? C7: The wires. The wires for the electricity. It’s the power. The wires. You know what I mean? H: Yeah. C7: When I stand near the wires and the tower of the powers. H: What does that have to do with you? C7: Interesting things. Short circuit feedback. Here, loss of self paradoxically entails the most weighty presence of selfhood and self-consciousness. Indeed the precondition of the “wireless” apparatus is precisely the wires, the dynamo, the power, the institution -reason enough to be paranoid. Is this an expression of anxiety or fear? Or is rather the case, as Migone suggests that radiophony “is a pleasure grounded in the insecurity of its grounds, a certain danger in the paradise of unbalanced inputs and dizzy spells.”


Radio Feature on Radio Dos, Madrid, producer José Iges


Inter 55/56, Québec, review of Transpiring Transistor performance at Galerie Articule on November 4, 1992, by Sonia Pelletier
Dans Le transistor transpirant, Christof MIGONE ressuscite les correspondants d’écrivains célèbres et impose une traduction signalétique par un micro-montage de leurs lettres (littéralement l-e-t-t-r-e-s) sur bande magnétique. La présentation de chaque t-r-a-d-u-c-t-i-o-n revêt celle d’une conférence classique dans un salon somptueux où certains invités iront apostropher les passant, rue Mont-Royal, puis dans l’obscurité du bureau nouvellement aménagé, interpréter des circonférences de grincements envirevoltant sur une chaise.

Open Your Mouth and Let the Air Out for Radio Rethink INTER No. 54, review by Jocelyn Robert
Un travail questionnant les relations qui s’établissent entre l’auditoire et l’animateur radio, cet étranger admis partout mais dont on ne connaît pourtant que la voix.

Open Your Mouth and Let the Air Out

Art Research Center In Budapest, review of Radio Rethink by Içagnes Ivacs
[…] In his work écrit bruts, Christof Migone translated writings by the insane into a subjective aural reading. Speech fallen apart, sounds cut off from the words, stammers, silences and cries evoked the fragmented and disembodied sounds of Radio Thanatos. The utopia of identity either personal or that of the community broke off in this Artaudian schizophrenic theatre – where the voice strives against the body to get free – and radio manifested itself as technological presence. An installation by Migone presented as a part of Radio Rethink project was centered around the same topic. “The radio booth resembles an inanimate brain rather than a great communicator”, he says. “And radio stripped off its hardware, without a transmitter is like a confessional.” He installed a “confessional” feigning a radio booth in which a computer was talking to the audience. The sequence of questions and answers did not make up a conversation and the words spoken did not reach anybody but immediately disseminated as there was no transmitter. The person interviewed did not understand his position: he did not know where he was – in the ether or at an exhibition – and to whom he was talking. These fragments of “conversation” that lacked a context belong to the theatre of the absurd and join in the parody of communication.


High Performance, Winter 1992, Los Angeles, review of Squeaky Clean by Josh Hartley
Migone and Toy have created a playful and hilarious experimental soap opera that they describe as a “romp through the apparatus of the popular culture product”. The concept for this collaborative CD originated from a series broadcast on Canadian Radio. Sampling from the dialogue in soap operas, it sticks to no one narrative, mixing voices and plots into a complexly layered, wonderfully ridiculous and ironic package of entertainment.


Site Sound, June 1991, London, Ontario, review of Horror Radia Vacui by Sandra MacPherson
Gregory Whitehead and Christof Migone explored the disembodiment of the radio voice. Whitehead attempted to re-enter his “dead” or pre-recorded voice. Christof Migone, who delivered the second annual report of the CRTC (Center for Radio Telecommunication Contortions), managed to get all the voices in the gallery to enter the same body – a body which believed that “learning to speak well is an important and fruitful task.”