La Vie qui bat / René Lussier, Pierre Tanguay

… one of the most mentally stimulating discs in recent memory Splendid E-Zine, USA

… a brilliant example of laughing minds a-hold of guitars and drums. Musicworks, Canada

“La Vie qui bat” is a new project from two longtime fixtures of the musique actuelle scene in Montréal, René Lussier and Pierre Tanguay. “Chèvre” is their first album under this guise, which will soon be followed with Chevreuil.

The players more than make up the minimal line-up with guitar and drum improvisations which flow like incessant waves of joy. A colossal collaboration, this duo reveals a grand, coherent musical discourse which they play around, inventing the syntax as they go along.

This album bears witness to the maturity and talent of these oddly-paired musicians: René Lussier’s abstract, intricate playing harkens back to Chants et danses du monde inanimé and Pierre Tanguay, a drummer of almost every AM project, has never been heard so prominently.

A bare-bones primer to the organic world of noise, filled with joyous energy and what have you.

CD (AM 047)

  • Label: Ambiances Magnétiques
  • AM 047
  • 1997
  • UCC 771028104727
  • Total duration: 57:08
  • Jewel case
  • 125 mm × 142 mm × 10 mm
  • 95 g

On the web

Some recommended items
In the press


Nick Mott, Audion, no. 42, March 1, 2000

Obviously two companion releases. The first Chèvre is improvised guitar and drums, sparse, fragmented, folky, introverted, but not that interesting on the whole. There are some interesting sections though, if only the would let fly a bit more often!

Chèvre, Chevreuil

Mario Cloutier, Le Devoir, September 5, 1998

Bon dieu que la zizique improvisée si bien criticotée, on en prendrait tous les jours. Un délice d’inventivité et de vivacité. Et marquons tout de suite d’un idem l’appréciation du Chevreuil des deux chasseurs de sonorités à l’emporte-pièce. Cette fois, les deux complices ajoutent quelques flèches (pieds, daxophone, voix, guimbardes, théière, appeaux et percussions de toutes sortes) à leur arc. Cette quête alimentaire nous amène dans un deuxième voyage de chasse qui va du rap au folklore en passant par tous les croassements et grenouillages imaginables et possiblement exprimés par la dextérité des deux instrumentistes.

Certes, l’animalerie du duo québécois n’est pas exempte de quelques redondances. Mais, en improvisation, nul n’est tenu à l’impossible. Avouons qu’il est difficile de faire mieux dans le genre «endroit-où-nul-homo-sapiens-ne-s’est-aventuré-auparavant».

L’improvisation comme une vague incessante de joie, dit le proverbe magnétique. Au contraire de la Cherry Blossom et de la langue avide de la publicité, ce plaisir est ici facilement partagé par nos oreilles ébahies.


Andrew Magilow, Splendid E-Zine, August 24, 1998

A daringly bold approach to flaunting the creative process, René Lussier and Pierre Tanguay authenticate their experimental prowess in a work that combines alarming moods with soothing aesthetics. With only an acoustic guitar and sparse percussive accentuation, this improvisational duo causes a racket without ever becoming obtusely noisy. Le temps d’une cigarette illustrates the duo’s formula most accurately as a creeping guitar, punctuated with occasional harmonics, vies with the sparse free-jazz accompaniment of Tanguay’s superb drumming for the listener’s primary attention. Tête de cochon is perhaps the most cacophonous of the bunch, beginning with a tyrannical tirade of swooping acoustic guitar runs and equally imposing rhythmic engagements that roll out of the speakers with ample, bruising fortitude. An experimental album that relies primarily on the techniques of its composers and the ability of the listener to absorb these sounds, La vie qui bat incorporates the methodology of intelligent arrangements with thoughtful accompaniment to demonstrate its point. Lussier and Tanguay combine traditional instruments with a magnificent sense of musical restraint to exhibit experimental eminence, creating one of the most mentally stimulating discs in recent memory.

… one of the most mentally stimulating discs in recent memory


Spike Taylor, Musicworks, no. 71, June 1, 1998

This duet CD documents the quieter sides of two amazingly creative musicians. I write this review having seen them perform just last night at Toronto’s Music Gallery where they reiterated that nothing they were playing was from this new CD, which René Lussier still peddied hard during song breaks. They downplayed it, said it cost too much, and ignored it for their set-list. This routine showed their sense of humour (which pervades their improvising) and an engaging acceptance of non-commerciality and high creativity.

The quieter sides of Lussier and Tanguay are as jarring as the blasts of elastic noise they can generate on stage. Chèvre features Lussier playing acoustic as well as electric guitar, which leaves him with less to work with in generating and altering sounds. It forces Pierre Tanguay to take a different tack on drums, too, and they both assume the space with brilliance. It’s a small, mischievous record by two friends driven on by each others’ imaginations and compositional structures Where or how these songs exist on paper, we don’t know. We can just be glad that this CD is available. No matter how hard they migEt try to convince you to pass it by, Lussier/Tanguay La vie qui bat, Chèvre whichever is the title— is a brilliant example of laughing minds a-hold of guitars and drums.

… a brilliant example of laughing minds a-hold of guitars and drums.

L’homme de chantiers; René Lussier est la cheville ouvrière de l’improvisation

Serge Truffaut, Le Devoir, May 16, 1998

La Vie qui bat, celle du chevreuil et celle de la chèvre, c’est la musique de la vie animale. C’est «pété». C’est fou, joyeusement. Ce sont autant de fables qu’il y a de morceaux. C’est Lussier qui roucoule, par guitare interposée, comme une grenouille. C’est Tanguay qui rythme, par batterie interposée, la vie du petit cheval.

La Vie qui bat, volume 1 et volume 2, c’est «de l’improvisation libre. C’est une entente: on s’assoit et on improvise dans le respect de l’autre. C’est une histoire de confiance musicale. Ce n’est pas du jazz. Ce sont des rythmes, des notes. C’est libre de références. C’est comme trippé. Ce n’est pas manufacturé. C’est le plaisir qu’on recherche à faire de belles choses ensemble».

Guitariste éclectique, compositeur très sensible, arrangeur plein d’humour, animateur, militant, acteur… René Lussier est davantage qu’un musicien. Il est artiste.


François Couture, AllMusic, January 1, 1997

La vie qui bat was the working title for Montréal guitarist René Lussier’s duo with drummer Pierre Tanguay. La vie qui bat: Chèvre (“The Beating Life: Goat”) was recorded in the studio sometime in 1996 and represents the serious side of the duo (while La vie qui bat: Chevreuil, released simultaneously, illustrates their buffoon side). This CD contains 16 short improvisations (nothing over six minutes), moments of spontaneous creation between two long-time friends and collaborators. Lussier plays acoustic guitar in his very own twisted style that lies somewhere between Fred Frith and Eugene Chadbourne (one piece is even dedicated to the latter). Tanguay is remarkable as much for his drumming as for his ability to hold back. He often limits his playing to cymbals, like on L’Ouïe compense… (“Hearing Compensates”), Trois pattes (“Three Legs”), and La chèvre et son poteau (“The Goat and Its Stake”) where he only provides a quarter-note beat on the hi-hat. The last minute of Tête de cochon shows the two musicians battling for who will get the last word. Ça phosphore su’a tasse and mostly Libre pour compilation (“Free for Compilation” — it actually ended up on the compilation CD Ambiances Magnétiques, Vol. 2: Hourra pour la Bastringue) constitute high-altitude improvs, dense and engaging. More self-absorbed than La vie qui bat: Chevreuil, this album is nevertheless more rewarding, especially for those who usually find Lussier’s antics irritating. Recommended.