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Review

Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 585, July 17, 2007

The young Malasartes Musique label, is an initiative by Damian Nisenson, a composer and saxophonist from Argentina who settled down in Canada some years ago. The second release was a CD by a trio of Jean Félix Mailloux, called Aurores boréales. Mailloux now returns again in trio format with Cordâme. Himself playing doublebass, the trio is completed by Marie Neige Lavigne on violin and Julie-Odile Gauthier-Morin on cello. Pierre Tanguay helps out on percussion, plus Guillaume Bourque on clarinet on Au bord du Nil and Anit Ghosh on viola on Eider. All compositions and arrangements are again from Mailloux. In many tracks there are influences of folk music to be traced, especially from the middle east as title as Au bord du Nil and Valse hébraique suggest. Some of the compositions lack a own face and are a bit stereotype, others however are very good. The musicians give a dedicated and warm interpretation of the pieces. Similar in mood and atmosphere is the music on L’autre. At work is now a quartet of Jean-Marc Hébert (electric guitar), accompanied by Christophe Papadimitriou (bass), Pierre Tanguay (drums, percussion) and Marie-Soleil Bélanger (violin, ehru). All compositions come from Hébert, who studied guitar and composition in Toronto. With his group Skalène he already released three CDs. Also he participated in a project with Indian musicians. Like in the compositions of Mailloux we hear influences from other parts of the world, but, again like by Mailloux, the music breaths an unmistakably francophone atmosphere. This is due to their lyric and sensual approach Melancholy comes from the ehru, a chinese violin, played by Bélanger. We first heard this instrument on the duet cd of Bélanger and Normand Guilbeault, reviewed earlier for Vital Weekly. The playing of Hébert is sober but effective, and reminds sometimes of Antoine Bethiaume. Both Mailloux and Hébert make no drastic maneuveurs as composers. They are not into avant garde, rather they are engaged in an intelligent play with of all kind of influences in a music that always remains very accessible and enjoyable without becoming ‘easy’.

Both Mailloux and Hébert […] are engaged in an intelligent play with of all kind of influences in a music that always remains very accessible and enjoyable without becoming “easy”.

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