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Review

Daniel Barbiero, Avant Music News, 1 avril 2019
mardi 2 avril 2019 Presse

Lori Freedman’s Excess furnishes exactly what its title promises: a program of music for bass and contrabass clarinets that pushes instrumentalism to its outer edges. Freedman, originally from Toronto but now based in Montréal, is known as an improviser as well as a composer and performer of new work; it is in this latter capacity that she appears on Excess, some of whose works were written for her. Each embodies the notion of excess in its own way, whether in the quick shifts over extremes of register and dynamics of Brian Ferneyhough’s Time and Motion Study I (1977), or in the expressive excess of Richard Barrett’s Interference (2000) for contrabass clarinet, voice and kick drum. In opening the recording with the confrontational sounds of Interference, Freedman seems to throw down a challenge to the listener to stay with the recording and hear her out. Persistence will be rewarded. Paul Steenhuisen’s 2015 composition Library of Fire, for bass clarinet, was composed for Freedman and alludes directly to her skills as an improviser: the piece was created out of transcriptions of some of her recorded improvised performances. The growls, shrieks and half-articulated, half-breathy sounds of Paolo Perezzani’s Thymos (2014), for contrabass clarinet capture the emotional immediacy and drive of the ancient Greek concept of the thumos, that human faculty thought to be responsible for prodding a person to take up a challenge and grapple with it in a spirited way. As to Freedman’s challenge to the listener, this virtuoso set shows it to be something worth meeting.

… this virtuoso set shows it to be something worth meeting.

Review

Stuart Broomer, The WholeNote, 26 mars 2019
jeudi 28 mars 2019 Presse

Composer, saxophonist and flutist Jean Derome has been a central voice in Quebec’s musique actuelle movement for decades, along the way creating works that fuse improvisation with larger structural forms. Here he leads his quartet Les Dangereux Zhoms and nine other musicians in a cross-country retrospective of works commissioned by Canada’s landmark mixed-method contemporary ensembles.

The title track, originally performed by Halifax’s Upstream in 2010, uses the idea of the Sudoku puzzle to create polyphonic canons of pentatonic scales in a way that suggests Pygmy vocal music. It’s a scintillating work, leavening its complexity with sonic transparency and some brilliant reed soloists, most notably Derome on baritone saxophone and André Leroux on tenor. 7 danses (pour «15»), originally performed by Toronto’s Hemispheres in 1989, demonstrates Derome’s longstanding interest in creating hybrid works, juxtaposing popular and serious genres that mingle Bernard Falaise’s rock-inspired electric guitar with abstract harmonies.

The concluding 5 pensées (pour le caoutchouc dur), composed for Vancouver’s Hard Rubber Orchestra in 2001, encompasses a range of moods and inspirations and highlights some of the group’s strongest voices. The playful second pensée, suggests Thelonious Monk’s work, with Lori Freedman’s bass clarinet approaching comic speech, while the third invokes Duke Ellington’s sacred music, with a pensive, reflective lead provided by trombonist Scott Thomson. The concluding Pensée matches a rapid hoedown with anarchic collective improvisation, literally an ultimate stylistic collision, and the ideal conclusion for this boundary-blurring set of works.

… literally an ultimate stylistic collision…

Review

Dolf Mulder, Vital, 25 mars 2019
mercredi 27 mars 2019 Presse

Danielle Palardy Roger is a percussionist, composer and improviser. She is part of the Montréal scene since the early 80s, known for her work with Wonder Brass, Justine, Ensemble SuperMusique, etc. She has many records out on Ambiances Magnétiques. With her latest work Cannibale she created a musical satire, showing cannibalism in all its forms, proposing capitalism is one of the most recent forms. Cannibalism dwells in us as mankind and continues to surface in one-way or the other. Okay a satire, but a very serious topic. Performers are Isaiah Ceccarelli (drums, voice), Michel F Côté (electronics), André Duchesne (electric guitar), Joane Hétu (alto sax, narration), Elizabeth Lima (clarinet), Ida Toninato (baritone sax), Alexandre St-Onge (electric bass, electronics) and Danielle Palardy Roger herself percussion. All instrumentalists also contribute with vocals. The performers are well-known forces from the Ambiances Magnétiques scene and have a rare appearance of veteran André Duchesne. The music is very diverse, not strange as the material is composed of five of the instrumentalists composed and makes a theatrical ensemble of styles, with dramatic and intense vocal work by narrator Hétu. Some works like La victoire du guerrier are plain rock, whereas other tracks are far more experimental. Musically this is an album of enormous contrasts, illustrating the different faces of the phenomenon of cannibalism.

… this is an album of enormous contrasts…

Review

Dæv Tremblay, Can this even be called music?, 22 mars 2019
lundi 25 mars 2019 Presse

The avant-garde duo of pianist Ofer Pelz and percussionist Preston Beebe just released Pre-Fall, an amalgamation of various experiments in the spontaneous synchronicity of the two performers here. While the recorded output is a fantastic experience in its own right, there is something truly mesmerizing in witnessing such performance being played live, as I had the chance to. Hopefully, you’ll get to do the same, but in the meantime, let this incredible release engulf you whole.

… let this incredible release engulf you whole.

Critique

Louis Paulhus, Mes enceintes font défaut, 15 mars 2019
lundi 18 mars 2019 Presse

Commençons par la fin… S’il y a une chose que je peux vous garantir lorsque vous écouterez Punt, c’est que vous ne vous ennuierez pas, c’est une promesse! La fusion des idées d’ Érick d’Orion et de Guillaume Cliche (avec qui nous avons eu la chance de discuter l’été dernier à propos du label Musique Maison) a permis l’élaboration d’un album rafraîchissant autant par son originalité que par sa pertinence. Mikroclimat nous a habitué·e·s à des parutions de grande qualité et nous sommes bien servis avec cette expérimentation électroacoustique qui repousse les limites. Pouvions-nous s’attendre à autre chose de la part de deux figures établies des sphères électroniques et expérimentales québécoises? Punt représente beaucoup plus qu’un botté de dégagement, c’est un spectaculaire et brillant touché.

À l’amorce de blitz, entame de cette colossale offrande, vous serez déjà dans l’ambiance désirée. Les deux compositeurs ne prennent aucun détour et débutent en force avec de rapides sonorités noise plutôt angoissantes. Il s’agit de l’atmosphère qui régnera sur l’intégralité des 9 morceaux. Les bruits sont stridents, voire même agressants par moment, mais nous en redemandons. Mon cerveau s’aligne sur le même canal que la musique qui résonne dans mes haut-parleurs et les deux entités forment un tout. Mon esprit s’égare dans ce monde qui bascule sans cesse. C’est un univers où les éléments s’entrechoquent parfois violemment, mais peuvent également se côtoyer avec beaucoup de délicatesse.

Les compositions de Cliche et d’Orion sont plus que du noise ou de l’électroacoustique; les styles varient et s’harmonisent dans cet élan de distorsion et de décibels. Le rythme augmente à quelques reprises sur l’album et le résultat en est terriblement efficace. Prenez mach, par exemple, où les percussions s’ajoutent à la fête pour donner un morceau aux apparences technoise qui donne drôlement envie de bouger. Ce segment n’est pas sans rappeler les créations acharnées du talentueux musicien Container qui manie si bien cette fine ligne entre l’ivresse de la techno et la brutalité du noise. Malgré cette intensité, nous avons également droit à des moments plus ambiants, comme sur Rio Grande où des mélodies atmosphériques et délicates agissent comme lien entre ces assemblages déconstruits et dynamiques.

Maintenant, il ne reste plus qu’à espérer que cette agréable collaboration se poursuive et qui sait, peut-être aurons-nous la chance de les voir sur scène prochainement?

Punt représente beaucoup plus qu’un botté de dégagement, c’est un spectaculaire et brillant touché.

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