La presse en parle
… a very rewarding and satisfying experience, revealing an intriguing beauty…
… Falaise creates an inventive musical world.
A very inspired and moving meeting by these two musicians and their instruments.
Frans de Waard, Vital, no 1112, 27 décembre 2017No matter what it is, Political Ritual plays it with sheer intensity and delivers a most powerful record. […] I am sure if a riot needed a soundtrack this duo could play one.
Frans de Waard, Vital, 5 juin 2017Everything buzzes and sustains, but it moves; there is no question of a standstill.
Frans de Waard, Vital, no 1072, 27 février 2017Excellent release
The Bozzini Quartet started in 1999 and developed into a very profiled ensemble that concentrates on performing contemporary music. Music from the Montréal-scene on the one hand, but also from other parts of the world. Choosing works by well-known and lesser-known composers: Steve Reich, Howard Skempton, Malcolm Goldstein, John Cage, Claude Vivier, etc. Since 2004 they release most of their programs on their own Ambiances Magnetiques-associated Collection QB-label. This also counts for their latest work: Déjà? Kojâ?, a composition of Gyula Csapó. A release that illustrates that they are not afraid of making daring choice such as choosing for a composition by a less known composer. Listening to this work, it becomes evident they had a good reason for this. A profound and penetrating composition by Gyula Csapó. Csapó is a composer from Hungary where he studied at the Béla Bartók Conservatory and the List Ferenc Academy of Music. Later he studied with Morton Feldman and John Cage. He lives and work in Canada since 1990. Déjà? Kojâ?, composed between 2011 and 2016 is a massive work in three parts. Together taking a bit more than one hour. Throughout Csapó creates dissonant layers of music in this serious and static work. In the second part the music becomes a bit lighter by the use of pizzicato and glissandi. Also he alludes here to a well-known classical composition, that I am unable to identify. Not an easy work, but a very rewarding and satisfying experience, revealing an intriguing beauty for the concentrated listener.
Bernard Falaise started in groups like Miriodor, Klaxon Gueule, Les Projectionnistes, a.o. He wrote for the Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal (ECM), and other ensembles. Also for exhibitions, television, theatre and dance. As an active improviser he worked with a great variety of musicians for almost 25 years now. He released several solo projects. And his newest release is a next step on his path as a solo player and improviser, exemplifying once again Falaise is a very unique crossing the border-type of musician. Lézardes et zébrures is a fine collection of nine instrumentals. Most pieces start from acoustic guitar played in open tunings in a fingerpicking style. By using a freezer pedal and adding other instruments Falaise creates an inventive musical world. Weird constructions, but accessible and enjoyable at the same time. Combining instruments and sounds of acoustic and electronics origin.
Ida Toninato & Jennifer Thiessen are new to me. Thiessen is a violinist playing viola d’amore and viola on this duo effort. She performs classical and contemporary chamber music, as well as improvised music (Michel F Côté, Antoine Berthiaume, a.o.). With dance ensemble La La La Human Steps, she performed works by Gavin Bryars and Bang on a Can composer David Lang. Toninato is a saxophonist, composer and improviser, also from the Montréal scene, participating in Ensemble SuperMusique and Joker. She plays baritone saxophone on this album. Their duo effort is a work of intimate music focusing on the timbres and sound qualities of their instruments. They create beautiful deep resonating, spatial textures. The music develops slowly in a calm way, giving duration to the created interplay of sounds and timbres. Improvisation plays a big role here, but one could call it contemporary new music as well. They don’t just create a musical effect. But their investigation on sound and timbre is hold together by a strong musical vision. Because of the deep sonorities the music brings you in a reflective and meditative state. A very inspired and moving meeting by these two musicians and their instruments.
So far I assumed that Ambiances Magnetiques was mainly a label devoted to a wide variety of improvised music, in all its guises. Perhaps Political Ritual is also along the lines of that, but it sounds surely quite a bit different. It is a duo of Felix Antoine Morin and Maxime Corbeil-Perron and they use ‘analogue modular and digital synthesis and incorporate invented wind instruments, traditional Balinese percussion, field recordings and digital signal processing’, which still sounds quite different than what is pressed on this LP. It is, quite frankly, a pretty noisy beast, this record. It is very rich with electronic sound, pushing sonic boundaries, with minimalist beats, and yet also it is not without harmony, such as the processed accordion on ‘ Ceremonie ’. It eventually gets all a bit distorted here and the needle almost jumps off because of all the frequencies cut in these grooves, but it goes well. The dynamic range of the music is enormous, I would think. From deep end bass to high pitched frequencies, but I’d like to emphasize that, even under the heavy weight of some of this, this is not a record about (improvised) noise. Political Ritual therefore has too many other interests and tricks up their sleeves; be it drone, massive ambient or the Pan Sonic inspired single bass beat, it all has a place in this music. No matter what it is, Political Ritual plays it with sheer intensity and delivers a most powerful record. I must admit that invented wind instruments and/or Balinese percussion seemed to instruments that I didn’t recognize in this music, and all seemed to find their origins in electronics, be it analogue or digital. I am not sure what and if ‘political’ and/or ‘ritual’ mean in this context but if it has to do with creating something forceful they surely managed to do so very well. This is not music you stick on for pure pleasure, but also to arrive at some agitated state. I am sure if a riot needed a soundtrack this duo could play one.
On the website of Tour de Bras there is an explanation of this project: “Rowetor is a musical concept inspired by the guitar player Keith Rowe. The aim of the piece is to explore one static sound in the ensemble, to maintain it and in the same time interact with utmost care and openness for any necessary change”, and during two nights in 2015 and 2016 (September 30 and June 3), Carl Ludwig Hübsch, armed with his tuba, gathered a bunch of people on stage at the famous jazz club The Loft, in Cologne, Germany, to perform this. Maybe it’s something he did before, seeing this is ’Rowetor 03’ and ’Rowetor 04’? In the latter we have thirteen players, mostly names I didn’t recognize, and in the first we have two more players, of which I only recognized the names Sharif Sehnaoui on acoustic guitar and Phlip Zoubek on piano (but I admit I didn’t search the entire history of Vital Weekly for each individual player). Hübsch gets credit for the composition and the mix; hence he’s listed here in the header of the review. I am not sure to what extent it is actually composed, or whether there are a bunch of guidelines along which the players can act and have freedom to play. ’03’ is thirty-three minutes and ’04’ is forty-two minutes. In both of these pieces time moves very slowly and individual instruments are blurred in the bigger picture. It is very hard to recognize in here, say, an acoustic guitar, bass, alto clarinet, low percussion, viola d’amore on ’movement (inaudible)’ as played by Phuong Bui. Everything buzzes and sustains, but it moves; there is no question of a standstill. Upon close inspection, there is more happening ’Rowetor 03’ than in ’Rowetor 04’, but I must admit I seemed to enjoy the long quiet second half of the latter better. Everything becomes dark and spooky, like something big is going to happen, but all it does it build a mild crescendo towards the end, and then a gentle fade out. ’Rowetor 04’ had an almost sine wave character most of the times, whereas ’Rowetor 03’ sounded more orchestral in approach. It is not a bad piece, far from it, as this is cloud of sound passing over, dark and ominous, but in terms of preference I’d go for ’Rowetor 04, with it’s suppressed suspension. It could have fitted on a single CD but it makes sense to do it on two.
Originally Lauzier is saxophone and clarinet player and does so with people from the world of improvised music. However since 2014 he also works on the development of an instrument of his own, half way between something to look at and to be played, which he calls Gritty. On his solo cassette Dôme we hear a recording of a somewhat more developed version of that, recorded in Montréal in 2015. The instrument consists of bells, zithers, motors and a Korg synthesizer, and on this tape there are two seventeen-minute pieces that simply sound beautiful. This is the kind of acoustic drone music that I enjoy a lot. The motor based devices spinning against strings and metal objects, complete with just a fine dash of reverb (I have no idea what the Korg is doing here), make up for music that reminded me of Organum or early Paul Panhuysen. It is played by a human and has a very human touch, as opposed by objects being played in a similar way but controlled by midi or some sort of computer interference. Lauzier creates a massive texture with all sorts of small sounds happening above and below the über-drone, and sometimes it veers towards feedback and noise, but every time Lauzier knows how to move back and take control again. There is not much difference between both sides, which is good; I had it on repeat all afternoon, doing all sorts of boring computer work and every now and then I sat back and listened more closely, effectively doing the same as the music; moving around while going from quiet to loud and back again. Excellent release.
Vital no 863