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Océan à vendre / For Sale Jon Asencio, Sylvie Chenard

This CD is a keeper, to be investigated again and again. Recommended. AllMusic, USA

At its core, this record is an imaginative 66 minutes of out-there jazz… Splendid E-Zine, USA

Sylvie Chenard has been working on her new whale project, Océan, since 1999. In recent years we have come to know her duo performances on her 1999 CD, Hybride, and on her 2000 CD, Manifeste pour contrer la violence faite aux femmes.

Now in 2002 the whale will be presenting elements of her experimentation and improvisation with some of people who she has invited to improvise with her in duos.

In October, she will launch a follow-up to Océan, the Océan à vendre / for sale project, a duo with Jon Asencio with whom she explores the energies of anarchist, pacifist, and feminist resistance and pleasure. Everything is for sale; nothing is for sale. This is the territory of urban myth, between the waters of an imaginary libertarian and those of a little science fiction about totalitarian reality: a universe of sects, sadomasochistic cravatistes, saints-assassins-warriors of global politics and economics, daily crimes against humanity, rights deniers and dignity destroyers.

This sea-soaked meditation, Océan, urges us to stand up for a basic quality of life and for social solidarity, and to oppose state terrorism.

Océan à vendre / For Sale

Jon Asencio, Sylvie Chenard

In the press

  • Pierre Durr, Revue & Corrigée, no. 54, December 1, 2002
  • François Couture, AllMusic, October 12, 2002
    This CD is a keeper, to be investigated again and again. Recommended.
  • Réjean Beaucage, Voir, no. 812, October 10, 2002
  • Jay Breitling, Splendid E-Zine, October 3, 2002
    At its core, this record is an imaginative 66 minutes of out-there jazz…
  • JB, emoRAGEi, no. 17, September 1, 2002
  • Dolf Mulder, Vital, March 28, 2002
    No pompous political songs, but radical experimentation.

Disques

Pierre Durr, Revue & Corrigée, no. 54, December 1, 2002

L’édition presque simultanée de ces deux enregistrements nous permet de découvrir — en tout cas, nous, auditeurs du vieux monde — une musicienne québécoise, guitariste rompue aux techniques de la guitare sur table, mais aussi chanteuse et manipulatrice d’instruments électroniques.

Sylvie Chenard travaille en fait depuis plus de dix ans dans des domaines multidisciplinaires. Elle est poétesse (Chansons et chroniques de la baleine, éditions Triptyque, 1994), musicienne engagée, aussi bien dans le féminisme (CD Manifeste, en duo avec Hélène Boissinot, réalisé en hommage aux femmes rebelles d’hier et d’aujourd’hui), que la défense d’autres opprimés (du pain et des roses, titre céeé en 1995 dans le cadre d’une marche québécoise contre la pauvreté). Militante contre l’extermination des baleines, contre la disparition des cultures et des langues indigènes, elle crée une structure, les projets de la baleine, pour monter ses spectacles, éditer ses créations sonores, parmi lesquelles on note un triple CD Hybride, incluant des duos d’improvisation, de recherches musicales, avec la participation de poètes, de bardes, de déclarations politiques, de mentions des droits de l’homme, etc. Le musée des survivantes, autre réalisation est une célébration de la vie, ses joies, ses peines, ses colères, les cultures perdues, L’univers des machines…

Océan à vendre et Océan pour la suite évoquent, chacun un aspect du militantisme de la dame. Le premier dénonce, à travers dix-huit titres, la dérive commerciale du monde actuel (Cerveau à vendre, Amour à vendre, Nuit à vendre,Liberté à vendre…). Réalisé en duo avec Jon Asencio (basse, échantillonnage), il a été conçu dans le cadre d’un événement anarchiste Social self aid.

Review

François Couture, AllMusic, October 12, 2002

Released three weeks after Sylvie Chenard’s Ambiances Magnétiques debut Océan pour la suite, Océan à vendre/For Sale raises the ante considerably. A set of duets with bassist Jon Asencio, it has more character and simply sucks you in. The work of these two Montréal artists is steeped in political commitment. Inside cards and press release mention feminism, anticapitalism, pacifism, anarchism, and more — quite a heavy program for an album of instrumental music! You can choose to ignore this “wrapping” altogether or to interpret this “radical” music as its extension. On this album, Chenard plays her electric guitar in more conventional ways than on the Keith Rowe-influenced Océan pour la suite. Riffs and soundscapes occupy center stage together with Asencio’s bass. It may be more musical in essence, but no less challenging, thanks to well-integrated electronics and a sense of discovery and re-invention reigning throughout the 66 minutes. Sometimes you think of René Lussier, at others of Silvia Ocougne, Robert Fripp or Nick Didkovsky — a wide palette to say the least. Sampled percussion and Chenard’s air-born humming vocals complete the picture. This album goes further in redefining a form of expression than Chenard’s previous album and the synergy between the two musicians, their shared creativity yield more exciting and unexpected results. This CD is a keeper, to be investigated again and again. Recommended.

This CD is a keeper, to be investigated again and again. Recommended.

Disques

Réjean Beaucage, Voir, no. 812, October 10, 2002

Le second disque présente apparemment une “fable urbaine anarchiste féministe et pacifiste” (mais surtout instrumentale…). La production y est bien meilleure que sur Océan pour la suite et l’approche plus rythmique et mélodique de Jon Asencio (électroniques, basse) donne un tout autre ton à l’ensemble, beaucoup plus convaincant. Le travail sur le son semble avoir reçu ici l’attention qu’il exige.

3,5/5

Review

Jay Breitling, Splendid E-Zine, October 3, 2002

In the context of all that hoopla up Canada way about Quebec seceding, not to mention the huff over which language to use, it is no surprise that a record produced by Québécois, casting itself as an exploration of “resistance and anarchist, pacifist, feminist joy”, is a challenging listen. If you are going to explore politics in the Great White North, you must make it difficult, even if you are a musician.

For Océan à Vendre/For Sale, Montréal-based avant-garde guitarist Chenard is up to her waist in collaboration with bassist Asencio. The politically themed electro-jazz-cum-space-rock compositions, all of which — by their French titles — proclaim that something is for sale, are dressed up with mechanistic noise and buried beats, so there often isn’t an organic vibe to the guitar and bass jams. In fact, some numbers, including Sommet à vendre, focus primarily on feedback, tape static and glistening bleeps, obscuring almost all of the guitar and bass work. Océan à vendre is occasionally so noisy it approaches Einstürzende Neubatenish levels of clang and clamor.

Although Océan à vendre can be a very disorienting listen, by its sheer nature there seems to be something for almost everyone here. Sommet à vendre offers a bit of electro-noise and buzzing amps, while the loopy bass-driven jam Planète à vendre gives Asencio an opportunity to tinker with a funky, Victor Woottenish aesthetic — he creates a bed of loping bass notes, over which Chenard slithers various guitar noodles. Rouge à vendre showcases a set of Chenard’s noodles, reminiscent of Bill Frisell’s, laid over a wavering, Tones on Tail-esque bass figure.

At first, Océan à vendre seems a bit intimidating. However, if you ignore its political jargon (which is easy if you know as little French as I do) and approach it as a collection of abstract musical sketches and explorations, it is more readily digestible. Though Chenard and Asencio make a point of wearing their political leanings on their sleeves, it is debatable whether their art suffers at all when separated from their ideologies. At its core, this record is an imaginative 66 minutes of out-there jazz, and that is something we can all get behind.

At its core, this record is an imaginative 66 minutes of out-there jazz…

De zéro à disque

JB, emoRAGEi, no. 17, September 1, 2002

Mademoiselle Chenard était plutôt tranquille depuis quelques temps, il fallait s’attendre à de nouvelles choses précipitamment. La nouvelle artiste de Ambiances Magnétiques nous offre donc deux albums expérimentaux, parfois un peu plus accessibles que ses précédents «Projets de la baleine». L’artiste multidisciplinaire (peinture, dessin, photo, musique, etc ) aime bien travailler en équipe, elle le fait souvent avec le même entourage mais avec Jon Asencio (Pest 5000, Starbean) ça semblait être une première. L’album qui regroupe Poulin, Tétreault et St-Onge s’avère être moins accessible, plus «noisy», il y a beaucoup moins de narration que ce qu’a l’habitude de nous offrir Chenard. Le projet en duo avec Jon comporte plus d’éléments électroniques, des percussions par exemple, et la guitare de Chenard prend plus d’envolée et reste moins discrète que sur son autre projet et cela dès le morceau d’ouverture. Voyons si la signature avec le réputé label montréalais va sortir la poète Sylvie Chenard de l’ombre, vous y trouverez au bout du compte toute une carrière de passion.

Review

Dolf Mulder, Vital, March 28, 2002

Sylvie Chenard (Valleyfield, 1957) is a multi-talented artist: composer, performer (electric guitar), writer. She fights many battles. Her work reflects her engagement with feminism, pacifism, and many social and ecological (whale) themes. Les projets de la Baleine for example reflects her interest in the strugge for surviving of the whale. For this cd she collected compositions recorded between 1994 and 1996. With these two new cds all attention goes to the environment of the whale, that is the ocean. The oceans are for sale. Culture is for sale. The cult of consumerism is for sale. There is nothing left to buy. Océan à vendre is a cooperation with composer, performer and multi-instrumentalist Jon Asencio. He is a veteran of the Montréal music scene. He played punk, reggae, pop, jazz, experimental and electronic music. For this cd with Sylvie Chenard we have an example of his electronic and experimental music. Asencio is playing bass, voice and sampler. Chenard plays electric guitar, electronics and voice. As a guitarist she is inspired by Frisell, Ribot, Chadbourne and Frith. No conventional guitarplaying here. She developed a style that is non-agressive, but on the other hand she does not want to comfort lazy ears. No pompous political songs, but radical experimentation. She seems to prefer to work in duo combinations. As the cd Hybride (1999) and Manifeste pour contrer la violence faite aux femmes (2000) have also duos. Océan pour la suite has Chenard duelling with Tetreault (tourne-disques), Poulin (sax) and St-Onge (bouche électronique). The duets with Martin Tétreault I like most. But that’s because I’m a admirer of Tétreault. Other pieces made no strong impression on me. But I can recommend her music to those who are in for radical improvisations.

No pompous political songs, but radical experimentation.

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