Trois histoires

René Lussier

Lussier’s musical generosity and originality shine through every segment and the pieces whizz by in a flash. The Wire, UK

Une musique insolite à découvrir. Le Musicien, Québec

A remarkable musician and composer, René Lussier is also an incredible storyteller. The mastermind behind the extraordinary Le trésor de la langue, he compiled three stories that were commissionned for different projets, three stories in the form of short films, and this CD is the end result.

First of all is “Les mains moites” (“Clammy Hands”), a piece comprising of a suite of tableaux in which the soloist, Jean Derome, confronts different archetypes of the world of flute: synthesized flute; recorded flute; kitsch flute or classical, latin or contemporary flute… Following is “Art Brut” (“Raw art”), a fiction inspired by the life of Marcel Landreau. Rather than attempt to illustrate his work, René Lussier has chosen to recreate the inner sense of his solitary labour, based on documents he received. It is a sort of hommage to all unknown artists and opiniated creators who hold the imaginative strength of Quebec. The third and closing piece, “Roche noire” (“Black Rock”), speaks of the history of Quebec’s Irish immigrants. The title refers to a rock which sits at the Wellington access to the Victoria Bridge in commemoration of the thousands of Irish immigrants who died of cholera and typhus between 1840 and 1860 and were buried not far from where the bridge now stands. The rock was uncovered by Irish workers during the construction of the bridge in 1860-61.


Not in catalogue

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In the press


François Couture, AllMusic, October 1, 2000

After the more jazz and rock-inflicted Le corps de l’ouvrage, René Lussier came back to sound art closer to Le trésor de la langue with Trois histoires (Three Stories). This CD collects three works from 1990-1992. One of them (Art Brut) was previously available on an obscure compilation, while Roche noire was included on Tim Brady’s Imaginary Guitars. Les mains moites is kind of a flute concerto with the orchestra being Martin Tétreault’s turntables, Tenko’s voice, Claude Beaugrand’s ambient sounds, Lussier’s guitar and a flute repairman explaining flute maintenance. Written immediately after completion of Le trésor de la langue, this is Lussier’s final statement of his speech-to-instrument technique, where the natural inflections of speech are translated into a melody. Less crowded than Le trésor de la langue, this piece also has less emotional impact, but it remains a strong exercise and a must-have for the fan, as are the other two works included. Art brut is a quiet sound art piece, something rare in Lussier’s book: delicate and dreamy. Roche noire is a tribute to Irish immigrants in Canada and a documentary on their arrival. Trois histoires showcases Lussier’s years of work in film music: these pieces (Art Brut apart) are built like documentaries and the listener really gets the feeling he is being told stories. This is not one of Lussier’s most influential albums, but it is definitely worth the fan’s attention.


Fabrizio Gilardino, Musiche, no. 18, June 1, 1997

Soundcheck Review

John L Walters, The Wire, no. 156, February 1, 1997

The flute can have a hard I time in new music. So it’s a pleasure to discover Les mains moites (Clammy Hands), an interesting, clever and musical piece that flutist Jean Derome commissioned from Canadian guitarist composer René Lussier and which is included on Trois histoires. This work bursts with ideas and shows off Derome’s skills while keeping up the interest. There are synthesizers and turntables and strange, beguiling sonics detalis in additon to the more obviously identifable flutes, speech ana guitars. I guess we should call it an electroacoustic work, for it’s unequivocally the product of a recording studio, but the 18 minute piece sounds a lot more fun than the tag often implies.

René Lussier is best known as a guitarist, one of those indefatigable characters who turn up all over the place-improvising with Fred Frith, Tom Cora or Chris Cutler; playing with electroacoustic composer Gilles Gobeil (who helped out with Clammy Hands ), writing theatre music; fronting groups. It’s hard not to be impressed by his talent and energy. He reminds me a bit of Billy Jenkins. Like Jenkins, Lussier manages to keep serious musical intent, musical humour and plain silliness in a nicely tuned equlibrium. Trois histoires is a collection of three biggish ‘concert’ pieces. In addition to’Clammy Hands’there’s another epic,Art Brut, a’sort of homage to an unknown artist’, which includes some dazzling acoustic guitar playing among all the dramantic’radiogenic’ noises and spatial transformations. The third piece,Black Rock commissioned by fellow Canadian guitarist Tim Brady (it has already turned up on one of Brady’s own albums), has a strong documentary thread which ends with a stadium snatch of ‘When Irish Eyes Are Smiling~ sung by Brian Mulroney and Ronald Reagan, while Brady comes over all Jimi Hendrix. Yet guitar histrionics never dominate the sound world of Trois histoires. Lussier’s musical generosity and originality shine through every segment and the pieces whizz by in a flash.

Lussier’s musical generosity and originality shine through every segment and the pieces whizz by in a flash.

Le monde insolite de René Lussier

FM, Le Musicien, no. 9:1, January 1, 1997

Le compositeur et musicien, René Lussier, vient de lancer son tout nouvel album Trois histoires et de rééditer deux autres albums produits en 1983 et 1984. René Lussier explore le monde de la musique actuelle sous plusieurs formes thématiques construites et improvisées. Une musique organique de l’insolence et de l’instinct. Une musique d’expression contemporaine faite de brusques altérations, d’enchamements et de ruptures, de tensions et de douceurs, d’urgence et d’humour, de rigueur et de plaisir. Une musique insolite à découvrir.

Une musique insolite à découvrir.


Rubberneck, January 1, 1997

Lussier is a hard man to pin down, active in all sorts of experimental areas, such as avant-rock, improv, studio tapework and contemporary chamber. Yet, his work is always more than the sum of these various ingredients. And, unlike the largely superficial, short-attention-span-eclectisism of the Japanese underground, René Lussier’s rampant polystylism reveals a shrewd awareness of compositional structure. He’s a lot like Heiner Goebbels in this respect. While the three commissions from 1990-92 ( Les mains moites, Art brut and Roche noire) which comprise Trois histoires undergo many, often rapid, transformations, he avoids a feeling of fragmentariness by careful use of motivic threack which loosely bind the disparate elements —Derome’s sparkling flute on the first piece, the romantic chamber strings on the second. Lussier’s light touch and unobtrusive humour mask the complexity of his textural juxtapositions, making this a thoroughly enjoyable collection.

Lussier’s rampant polystylism reveals a shrewd awareness of compositional structure.… a thouroughly enjoyable collection.


Pierre Durr, Revue & Corrigée, no. 30, December 1, 1996

Roche noire est parmi ces récits sonores, la pièce qui se rapproche le plus du Trésor de la langue, non seulement formellement, mais aussi par son concept sociologique, après les avatars de la langue française, une autre réalité, parfois douloureuse, parfois ironique, quelques fois grinçante, toujours argumentée de l’immigration irlandaise en Amérique du Nord. Les mains moites, la pièce la plus longue et la vraie nouveauté de ce recueil (quoique crée en 1990) peut cependant apparaître comme une autre version du Trésor de la langue, dans la mesure ou le son «étudié» est, à défaut de ne pas être celui de la langue française, celui d’un instrument de musique, la flûte, sous toutes ses coutures.


Quentin Rollet, Jazzman, no. 20, December 1, 1996

Ces deux disques. très représentatits des milieux parallèles de la production discographique actuelle — les commandes et la musique de film — posent de nouveau le problème du statut artistique du disque: œuvre ou simple support?

Le résultat est très convaincant dans le cas des Trois histoires. Car même s’il s’agit de trois commandes différentes et traitant des sujets variés (la flûte traversière. le travail de Marcel Landrau et les immigrants irlandais au Québec), c’est un disque tout à fait homogène. On y retrouve d’ailléurs les habituels compères de Réné Lussier. Jean Derome aux flûtes et anches. Pierre Tanguay à la batterie et Claude Beaugrand aux bandes magnétiques. Trois compositions de musique mixte avec mélange de bandes préenregistrées (interviews, sons divers) et d’instruments qui s’avèrent très fines et admirablement bien réalisées. Elles rappellent le mythique Trésor de la langue.

Las nuevas ediciones de…

Rafa Dorado, Margen, no. 8, December 1, 1996

Trois histoires, es el novísimo trabajo de René Lussier, un álbum, como su titulo indica, concebido en torno a tres historias encargadas al autor para diferentes proyectos. La primera, Clammy Hands, retoma, en sus primeros compases, al entorno de Le Trésor de la langue para más tarde conceptualizarse en torno al mundo de la flauta -interpretada por Jean Derome-. Art Brut, la segunda de las piezas, se inspira en la vida de Marcel Landreau mientras Black Rose, por su parte, se dedica a los miles de inmigrantes irlandeses que murieron de cólera y tiPus entre 1840 y 1860 en Québec. Musicalmente hablando estamos ante un tipico y, por consiguiente, dificilmente definible producto Lussier. Partes compuestas junto a fragmentos totalmente espontaneos, para crear un estilo único a medio camino entre el rock, el jazz, la improvisación y la música de cámara contemporánea.


LF, Minimal, no. 13, November 13, 1996

Este novo trabalho de René Lussier reune tres historias independentes, pseudo curtas-metragens sonoras Les mains moites (ou como pogar na nauta pelos cornos) data de 1990, tendo recebido o apoio financeiro do Conseil des Arts du Canada; Art Brut (homenagem a Marcel Landreau) data de 1991 e foi solicitada para a compilaçao «Hardis Bruts» da editora francesa In Poly Sons; Roche noire(crónica irlandesa), de 1992, foi encomendada para o disco Imaginary Guitars de Tim Brady, tendo recebido também o apoio do Conseil des Arts du Canada.


Mark Miller, The Globe and Mail, October 18, 1996

The hills are alive with the sound of… musique actuelle. No less than four CDs by Montréal composer, guitarist and all around musical provocateur René Lussier have been issued in the past 12 months. Two from Ambiances Magnétiques are admittedly reissues of his earlier work on vinyl, a startling debut LP, Fin du travail (Version 1) (rating:4/5) from 1983, and a rollicking collaboration with reedman Robert Marcel Lepage, Chants et danses du monde inanimé (3,5/5) from 1984. A third release, Le tour du bloc (4/5) from the Victo label, finds him in a recent and wonderfully fractious encounter with Vancouver’s NOW Orchestra.

The three commissioned pieces that make up Lussier’s most recent release, Trois histoires, actually date from the early 1990s, a period in which he was justly honoured for his CD Le trésor de la langue, both a history of modern Québec and a celebration more generally of the French language. He draws on many of the same narrative devices here, once again combining spoken word, ambient sound, composed melodies, staccato effects, improvisation and miscellaneous noise to create something very like scores for imaginary films.

Three imaginary films, in fact: Les mains moites, Art brut and Roche noire. (The last, commissioned by fellow Montréal guitarist Tim Brady, has already appeared on CD under Brady’s name. ) The pleasant shock of Lussier’s innovations has worn off, though, and what’s left is beginning to seem—pick one—merely clever, a bit indulgent or rather precious. There remains a variety of neat little Lussieresque textural tricks and sonic surprises, but not enough of them altogether to make Trois histoires seem much more than a CD designed to catch up and complete the cataloguing of his work to date.


Jim Little, Hour, October 17, 1996

The three tales here are all commissioned pieces from the early 1990s. Les mains moites (Clammy Hands), subtitled How To Take the Flute by the Horns (that’s Jean Derome’s job here, along with some baritone sax), uses snippets of spoken word and freely sampled sounds, plus Lussier’s guitar, bass, synth and percussion to create an airy, dreamy, slightly unsettling soundscape. On Art brut a celebration of spontaneous, non-commercial creation, Lussier pulls out his acoustic guitar and his Rube Goldbergian daxophone, while alto player Jean René replaces Derome. Roche noire features fellow guitarist Tim Brady (on whose Imaginary guitars CD this piece also appears) and percussionist extraordinaire Pierre Tanguay in an evocative tribune to the Irish in Québec. 4/5


LF, Megafon, no. 1, September 1, 1996

Este novo trabalho de René Lussier reune tres historias independentes, pseudo curtas-metragens sonoras Les mains moites (ou como pogar na nauta pelos cornos) data de 1990, tendo recebido o apoio financeiro do Conseil des Arts du Canada; Art Brut (homenagem a Marcel Landreau) data de 1991 e foi solicitada para a compilaçao «Hardis Bruts» da editora francesa In Poly Sons; Roche noire(cronica irlandesa), de 1992, foi encomendada para o disco Imaginary Guitars de Tim Brady, tendo recebido tambem o apoio do Conseil des Arts du Canada.