Sketch for a portrait
« If you were about to file him under spectral you'd be on the wrong path. Into a train of thought contradicting certain of his deeper natural motives, and the somewhat static deployment of harmonic spectres, Philippe Hurel injected the structuring factors of polyphony of serial origin, and then dynamited it all with the rhythmic pulses that come from jazz, one of his younger pursuits. Prompt to collect the fallout that followed this explosion, he recomposed the matter according to his own dynamics, keeping his distance from the beaten track and renewing his method with each continuously-reinvented consistency.
He'll tell you he likes systems: observe, rather, the warmly exuberant voice, the zany vocabulary and the sparkling looks that shine from him while he's juggling with theories, and you'll learn a lot more about the bubbling excitement from which each of his composing projects draws its vigour.
He'll sing the praises of objectivity in art: get to know him, and you'll discover the intimately humane aspect, the poetic wonder and enthusiastic generosity which temper the harrowing vertigo that one experiences when faced with infinite possibles (now there's something that tends to make you talk rather about subjectivity, that inalienable part from which music draws its unfailingly personal essence, but don't tell him that, whatever you do!) Cheekiness is the elegant mask that this reader of Goethe likes to wear.
With Philippe Hurel, a taste for systems is a dream that stimulates the exploratory vein, not some desiccated dogmatism. Systems, computer-calculations and objectivity are merely the safeguards he uses to try and channel - precisely - that speck of madness which breathes the life of the unpredictable into the most skilfully configured combinations. This is why his music speaks to us... »