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28 décembre 1999
Par François Couture in CFLX 95.5 FM (Québec), 28 décembre 1999

Texte

«Recommandé.»

La pendaison de Louis Riel par les autorités canadiennes à la fin du XIXe siècle raisonne encore dans l’imaginaire collectif québécois. Le contrebassiste Normand Guilbeault offre avec Riel: Plaidoyer musical un drame musical qui cherche à réhabiliter ce personnage historique. Traître ou héros? L’analyse historique de Guilbeault est très bien documentée et constitue une synthèse du dossier proche de la réalité, sans magnifier le personnage outre mesure. Musicalement, Guilbeault entremêle improvisation dirigée et musiques traditionnelles québécoises, irlandaises et métis, le tout étant lié par des narrations de François Gourd et de Bob Olivier qui reconstituent les événements marquants de la vie de Riel. L’enregistrment fait au Lion d’Or à Montréal en février 1999 est supérieur au spectacle présenté en première au FIMAV 98. Certaines longueurs demeurent néanmoins et l’aspect grandiose de la présentation scénique se trouve atrophié sur disque et parfois transformé en pathos. Il s’agit tout de même d’un disque accessible et le livret de 72 pages (français et anglais) éclaire l’auditeur sur les différents aspects du «dossier Riel». Recommandé.

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1 décembre 1999
Par Jim Barker in Rubberneck #30 (RU), 1 décembre 1999

Texte

«A fine example of revolutionary improv.»

21 situations finds Yoshihide on more familiar territory, alongside French-Canadian turntable abuser Tétreault, banging out 21 short, radiofriendly slabs of surface noise, technical detritus and musical dementia. All tracks are under four minutes, and the approach is as varied as the subject matter (e. g. cartoon, machine, tension, science fiction). And it’s not just scratching; those drum sounds you hear from time to time are not samples but the players drumming on the turntables. Familiarity with technology has bred contempt, which has in turn bred imaginahon and adventure. This is gamelan for the 21st Century A fine example of revolutionary improv.

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1 décembre 1999
Par Ken Egbert in Tone Clusters #74 (ÉU), 1 décembre 1999

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Our excitable Executive Editor, or our executive Excitable Editor, Chuck Burns, views this foursome with a suspicious eye: “When they play live,” he says, with his teeth in his mouth and his bare face hanging out (please, you’re frightening our dear readers--Ed. ), >do they overdub the bass and drums after everybody leaves?" Hmmm, one of those questions that will probably never be answered in our lifetimes. Just as well. Still and all, this mostly live recording (from 1997 gigs in Europe) proves that letting four melodic instruments hang in the air with no root functions can provide for scandalous fun, to say nothing of the fact that Chuck talks too loud. But don’t expect 75 minutes of ants-scrabbling-on-a-lap-guitar noise either; note the easy-rollin’ Red Rag, a Fred Frith composition with delightfully bluesy chording and odd petit mal seizures from René Lussier (to say nothing of Mark Stewart or Nick Didkovsky doubling on kazoo MIDI), or Mark Stewart’s Speedy Feety, which interpolates Commander Cody’s 1974 rockabilly hit, Hot Rod Lincoln. If you’d rather hear Fred and company tear the strings off their guitars and chew on them purposefully, they do that too, say, on Say Slinky. There Nick does his Hendrix-bottom-out slow-motion chainsaw bit (If you remember Jimi’s low Mars Delta guitar growls during the Big Finish of Purple Haze at the Monterey Pop Festival in ’67, you’ll know what I mean. Now that’s a historical command of the instrument) while René keeps blowing the stop-work whistle. To all their credit, no one pays attention. Other evidence of a highly-developed collective sense of humor can be found mid-way through Antaeus, where at one point we seem to have René and Mark imitating dueling grandfather clocks. A completely unrecognizable Out to Bomb Fresh Kings is also good clean fun (except for the central riff which in this version has all its paint blasted off). René’s Tout de suite is a bravura slice of everything the Quartet does well: transistorized flip-flop riffs, everybody else playing 1-2-3 Red Light while Fred chops onions, moments of quiet introspection before the tsunami next door comes calling and bows in the roof. I do wish Stewart had written more for this CD, but Frith is not hard pressed to come up with such gems as No Bones, a loose-limbed country swing (think Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys) deeply buried inside a Shanghai noodle factory (Traffic reference not intended). Most of the heavy equipment is malfunctioning and tossing cogs in all directions. And for those of you who always wondered where Nick D. gets his composition names from, I suspect it’s all those AM cartoons on the WB network: To Laugh Uncleanly at the Nurse (with its garlands of cheery semitonal nonsense and compositional dead ends) is what the Animaniacs do every chance they get on their TV show of the same name. "HEL000000, NURSE!!!" Ha ha, and you thought he got them from Paul Eluard or Tristan Tzara. Guess it’s proof that watching cartoons does not rot your mind (Don’t your kids read this mag?--Ed. ). Not a chance, Chief. And for more proof that the Quartet all together is no dip at improvising; note Stinky Eye, with its Oriental veneer and decided debt to late period Moby Grape ("Chinese Song," from their 1975 recording, 20 Granite Creek, on Warner Brothers. Now out of print, may the Warners’ names be blotted out). No, if you were expecting covers of middle-period Anthony Braxton or four stiff guys in stiff tuxedos, get ye hence to Lincoln Center; there may yet be tickets remaining to Wynton Marsalis’ AII Rise. This is improvisational. This is music of the moment, and essential for modern guitar fans. And no, nobody plays bass.

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1 décembre 1999
Par Chris Blackford in The Wire (RU), 1 décembre 1999

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Louis Riel (1844-1885) is one of the most controversial figures in Canadian history, regarded by some as a hero, by others, a traitor. In January 1869 the Hudson Bay Company sold most of its land in the north-west to the Canadian government without regard for the territorial rights of the resident, French-speaking, half-breed Métis, who appealed to the well-educated Métis, Louis Riel, to lead them in their struggle. As secretary of the Métis movement, Riel organised blockades against government surveyors and was instrumental in the formation of a provisional government for the Métis of which he became president. The problem soon escalated into armed conflict. Normand Guilbeault’s Riel/Musical Plea dramatises these Métis uprisings in Manitoba (1869-70) and Saskatchewan (1885), culminating in the trial and execution of Riel in 1885. Guilbeault’s position is pro-Riel and he offers this nearly two-hour work as a “fair tribute to this national hero, unjustly accused of high treason.”

A patchwork of styles, including rousing native chants, French-Canadian songs, military marching themes, jazz and free improvisation, Riel appears, on first hearing, an uneven experience, though greater familiarity with Guilbeault’s polystylistic method reveals a work of considerable emotional power, rooted in the musical landscape of Riel’s time. Narrators (in English and French) speak for the principal participants in the action; the accompanying booklet contains relevant historical documents, but non-French readers will have problems understanding about half of this material. The improvising, which accounts for the radical aspects of the "soundtrack", functions as superior mood music and is at its most dissonant when describing conflict or the threat of it. However, Lou Babin’s vocal and accordion improvisation on L’exil, one of the work’s highlights, is both lyrical and memorably poignant, later supported by the enchanting flute of Jean Derome. Batoche with its solemn processional tempo and eruptive military horns has an Ayleresque flavour. The excellent live recording matches the performance of a 12-piece ensemble which includes some of the finest musicians in Canadian New Music.

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1 décembre 1999
Par Pierre Durr in Revue & Corrigée #42 (France), 1 décembre 1999

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Cet exercice de phonométrie populaire, tel que l’auteur définit ce recueil, très british d’approche — on pense entre autres aux altérations beresfordiennes — dégage un fort parfum de nonchalance. L’apport de la trompette de Pierre Bastien, présent sur quelques titres, des rythmes placides de ses mécaniums, n’est pas étranger à ce caractère. Mais il n’y a certes pas que cela. Il y a ces manipulations diverses, pour lesquelles Côté est réduit à créer des néologismes succulents pour les évoquer, faute de mieux: batteries cabochonnes. japonaiseries et bridages, manustuprations génétiques, qui constituent autant d’invitations à mettre son nez — et la main de sa sœur! — dans cette compil zouave à laquelle participent, outre le sus-nommé Pierre Bastien, la famille du magnétisme ambiant (Derome, Falaise, Hétu, Labrosse, Tétreault. Fradette…) et quelques autres, qui au koto, qui au feeling canin ou au crooning approximatif, multipliant les approches et les rythmes (même reggae).

blogue@press-1679 press@1679
1 décembre 1999
in Rubberneck (RU), 1 décembre 1999

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Chants cachés by contrast is a plugged-in affair, decidedly electroacoustic. The organic/laminal approach to improvisation of AMM is ever present, though with wider external references. Every so often shards of delta blues, jazz, gamelan, and African music emerge. Each musician knows the other’s parameters and a high degree of empathy is evident. John Heward uses a predominantly metallic percussion set-up, very different from his free jazz burnouts with the late Glenn Spearman, and Rainer Weins’prepared guitar produces a panoply of beguiling effects. By virtue of the relative pitches of the instruments, Goldstein unintentionally emerges as the lead voice on these very different and satisfying discs.

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