"Opus 17" marked a major turning-point in the sonic oeuvre of Eliane Radigue. Finished in 1970 it was the last work composed with feedback materials. From that experimental period "Opus 17" preserves the plastic character: a music made of rough sonic phenomena, at once harsh and granular, possessing a quality of materiality and tactility. Its vibrations structure the air surrounding the listener with densities, thicknesses, indeed with palpable movement. Her compositions are frames which let us hear these phenomena, open frameworks from the sonic installations of her Endless Musics and here reinserted in the five scenes making up "Opus 17".
In 1970, in her studio of very rudimentary means, she developed a completely unique body of work centered on sounds produced by feedback. "Opus 17" has the quality of showing off the sum of the achieved techniques and methods. Eliane Radigue's music has never been rooted in ideas but in practice, the intimate experience of things in the wild which she has known how to tame. This dialog both intense and poetic which she keeps up with the solid matter of sound finds a remarkable concretization in "Opus 17". It is to be underlined that with "Opus 17" Eliane Radigue inaugurates a technique of composition which will be her footprint, her trademark: imperceptible transformations. For that she has developed a technique of meticulous mixings, based on the slow passage from one section to the next. Imperceptible, all during the piece, we pass, ceaselessly and without noticing the changes, from one frequency flux to another. Time is suspended, smoothed out, stretched. It is this technique which Eliane Radigue will be essentially using for all the electronic works to come and which she will never cease to refine and render always more subtile.
"Opus 17" is the great panoramic voyage through material sound, its electronic phenomena detailed as if in a microscope. Could feedback really contain such a universe? "Yes", the work of Eliane Radigue answers, but that exploration was not that easy: one had to learn to listen. It required Eliane Radigue's great demands on listening which led her to the discovery of such treasures. Unknown wealth in a material often rejected as trivial. "Opus 17" was created at the artistic center of Verderonne on May 23, 1970, for the Fête en blanc (i.e. White Festival) organized by the visual artists Antoni Miralda, Joan Rabascall, Dorothée Selz and Jaume Xifra.