essay by: Lorenzo Buj
Blow Up Magazine Issue 29, October 2000
Review by: Nicola Catalano
Rating: 8 out of 10
(Translated from Italian text:) Pillow Scenes Soundworks 1996 - 1999, faithful sound catalogue of the homonymous installation based on sound collages and b/w photos supported by Thames Art Gallery, is the promising CD debut of the multimedia artist Mark Laliberte. In the sleep portraits of this 29 years old guy, images of sleeping faces aiming at giving emphasis to body postures, we find the seeds of body-art and the influence of Wien Aktionists as well as that of artists such as Dieter Appelt, Joel-Peter Witkin and Cindy Sherman, and the suffocating assemblages of pure sound-art, uneasiness of industrial nature, risky concretism that give them sound turn out to be resolutely cool and free from embarassing ties, although they obey to a long historical tradition of ars acustica. In the end the work of Laliberte, call it mysterious, abstract, wandering, enigmatic, difficult to decode, leave here and there some moments of breath which take the form of twisted and lapidary expressionist songs (?!) like "Furnace (Dada Chemical, 1970)" and "Summer Heat (A Moment of Sadness)"; disquieting noir cadenzas like "Trace Stain (Exploding Back Room)"; and simple but effective pro-plagiarist cuttings such as "Comatone (In My Dream Machine)".
Rue Morgue Issue 17, October 2000
Review by: AL
Rating: four and a half out of five skulls
Mark Laliberte is a multimedia artist and has been performing his project Pillow Scenes for four years now. The show involves a series of photographs depicting various sleeping models, each accompanied by a unique recording emanating from a pillow located at floor level. The photos are eerie to say the least, concentrating on dark shadows, the surreal, and often, the grotesque. Yet for the concern of this review section, Laliberte's collection of soundscapes are bizarre and disturbingly haunting: 24 tracks of whispering repetition, ranging from noise to sampling and sometimes, even music. Laliberte's CD won't be played on your car stereo, but then again, it wasn't meant to be. Definitely for the fringe culture, Pillow Scenes is reactionary art against the mainstream, voluntarily joining the ranks of comic books, horror movies and punk music as a new historical artifact of the bizarre.
Broken Pencil Issue 15, Spring 2001
Review by Hal Niedzviecki
The twenty-four audio experiments on this CD span a three year period. They originally were conceived to be heard in an art gallery accompanying different photographs which Windsor based artist Laliberte calls "sleep portraits." In the gallery, the viewer puts their head on a pillow in front of the picture to hear the related track. On the CD, the pictures are absent (a portion of them are included in the 28-page booklet) and the sound creations evoke a less distinct din of murmured interchanges and haunted atmospherics. The bedroom scenes are like the taut, prolonged moments from a movie, as opposed to seperate narratives. Still, Laliberte's ability to evoke a scene simply through sound is stunning. At times, his project seems almost too successful: put this CD on, turn the lights off, close your eyes, put your head on your pillow, and you'll wonder where the hell you've got to.
All Music Guide (website)
Review by Ken Taylor
AMG Rating: three stars
Genre: avant garde
Developed as sound accompaniments for a photography exhibit, Pillow Scenes Soundworks 1996-1999 is a 74-minute collection of ambient noise-scapes, atonal instrumentation, found sounds, and intercepted telephone conversations. Photographer Mark Laliberte spent the better part of four years photographing subjects in different stages of sleep and recording the surreal sounds that he imagined may occur in their subconscious, thus creating the sounds that now comprise his 2000 release Pillow Scenes Soundworks. In the music's proper setting, speakers are sewn into pillows and placed at floor level concealing a tape machine that runs the separate soundtrack. A functionless wire extends upward to the wall-mounted photograph to psychologically link the picture and sound. In the room, voices, instruments, and noise overlap as viewers walk from picture to picture while the repetition of sounds merge and collide around them. The phases of sound shift and lock as patterns emerge. Laliberte's sense of color and composition is masterful and his visual training shines through in the arrangement of these components. Ghastly, animal-like moans blurt from a forest, reminiscent of the Smiths' "Meat is Murder," as Laliberte ties human nature to animal nature throughout the recording. Pieces like "News Story" evoke feelings of terror as a news reporter explains the damage done by a fire, while others such as "A Moment of Sadness" bring about complete peacefulness even though the dialogue is flecked with feelings of distrust and hurtfulness. Laliberte paints diverse pictures, from somber and creepy to settled and content. And considering the esoteric nature of the project - a compilation of audio accompaniments for photographs - Pillow Scenes is a brilliantly relaxed and fluid listening experience.