Lussier’s approach to the guitar is visceral… — Hour, Québec
Lussier never fails to challenge… — Splendid E-Zine, USA
Fourteen improvisations on electric guitar as they were recorded, without any sort of montage or overdubbing.
CD (AM 075)
- Label: Ambiances Magnétiques
- AM 075
- UCC 771028107520
- Total duration: 53:22
- Sympathique case
- 126 mm × 126 mm × 5 mm
- 40 g
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Pretty much an unique voice among fellow guitarists, Lussier placed a set of microphones all across the room to capture the whole essence of his guitar sound and give it to us absolutely untreated. This CD can be fully appreciated by lovers of the Bailey/Frith/Kaiser old school; could instead be a little difficult to people not used to this kind of expression. Being a guitarist myself, I loved it but I also must say that I prefer Rene as the wonderful composer that he is (please check Le corps de l’ouvrage!!!)
This isn’t some guy sitting down with his guitar and playing a few tunes. Lussier’s approach to the guitar is visceral - he hammers and plucks at the strings, sending shards of notes careening off in all directions. A cluster of notes is punctuated by seconds of silence; the music pulses and fades away, existing in a state between realization and decay. It seems that there are no beginnings and no endings, or perhaps all beginning and ending at the same time. Though there are no overdubs on either of these recordings, depth is achieved by recording with eight stratogically placed microphones, so that the sounds ricochet from hack to front and side to side. Not exactly toetapping stuff, but Lussier throws in a few foot stomps for good measure.
Nicht weniger aufreibend geht es auf René Lussiers Solostücken für elektrische Gitarre zu, die zT. live aufgenommen wurden. Mit einem speziellen Set Up (abgebildet auf dem CD-Cover) gelingt es Lussier, seine Gitarre wie ein vielköptiges Ensemble klingen zu lassen. Töne überlagem sich, neue entstehen, während die alten erst langsam absterben. Ein rückwärtsgerichteter Strahl aus Lärm und warmer Klangbrühe spritzt hinter dem Kopf des Spielers hervor. Geduckt flüchten die kreischenden Fieptöne nach vorne, auf der Flucht vor der großen Harmonie, vor dem grande accorde, der sie alle in sich vereinen und auflösen könnte.
Autre tir — presque groupé! — du collectif montréalais. Autour de la guitare brute. Non pas sans effets quelconques, mais sans interventions extérieures (autres instruments, électroniques…)
On connait Lussier et sa guitare depuis près de vingt ans et pourtant, c’est la premiere fois qu’il offre un enregistrement le proposant en soliste. Bernard Falaise, moins connu, n’est pas un nouveau venu: il participe à Klaxon Gueule, trio tantôt bavard, tantôt muet, se love dans Papa Boa et a jongler avec Miriodor. Le travail de René Lussier apparait plus varié, les approches de l’instrument aussi. La petite quinzaine de pièces de son recueil s’apparente à des études: chacune constitue une cellule autonome et s’écoute aisément indépendamment des autres.
Comment être présent au monde, seul, dans l’exercice du solo? Comment exister dans l’espace? Aller en dépouillé? Ordonner le vide? Eviter le remplis sage? Questions…
Pour René Lussier et ses Solos de guitare électrique, la solution passe par la solitude du studio d’enregistrement. Une guitare électrique, un amplificateur, huit micros dispersés dans le studio, aucun effet, pas de réverbération, aucune superposition. Ici, place est offerte à l’improvisation absolue, aux instants de présence et d’abandon, aux traits de génie et aux revers. On saura gré au guitariste d’avoir fait ce choix d’une construction spontanée pouvant engendrer sécheresse, rudesse et rapture. Si Lussier ne drague pas le silence, il ne le craint pas. Silences (réflexion), affolements (action) s’enchâînent sans autre souci que celui de la verité de l’instant présent, ici instant vivant.
That’s right, the title translates as Electric Guitar Solos — but if you’re expecting Satriani-style wanking, you probably haven’t been reading Splendid very long. This is a set of fourteen electric guitar improvisations recorded live, without overdubs or tinkering. Some of them, like Sous-sol, fall into the realm of music, but the majority lean toward the broader category of “Let’s see how many odd, frequently non-musical noises I can get out of this electric guitar”. There’s a lot of very harsh sonic texture here, and a lot of feedback; you’ll hear scraping, and downright frenetic two-string strumming, and numerous guitar abuses that probably would’ve given Jimi Hendrix pause. A studio diagram inside the CD booklet suggests that multiple live monitors were placed around the room during recording, the better to create feedback. They surely did their job well. Lussier never fails to challenge, and Solos… is interesting, if not necessarily listenable in the long term.
Here on this CD René plays solo improvisation music with electric guitar. Instead of the improvisation music as it is played by jazz musicians, René does not create songs, he creates sounds and atmospheres. Pure improvisation music, so you have got to be a fan of it to understand this kind of music. But he creates on a wonderful way music. Instead of playing tunes on the guitar he uses the guitar in all kinds of ways to get sounds from it. He plays it on a soft way so that the sounds follow very gentile on such way that silence is an important part of his improvisations. But this is not always the same in a few tracks he plays very fast and then the sounds are also harder. But mostly the sounds and the atmosphere is tranquil. You find 14 tracks and on the image site of the CD a very colourful artwork is placed.
The solo disc by René Lussier presents fourteen improvisations for electric guitar as they were recorded in 1998, without any sort of montage or overdubbing. Lussier utilised eight microphones for the recording, giving these improvisations the appearance of a more elaborate montage. A diagram shows where the microphones were placed. Most of them are placed at various points in the room, some mono and some stereo, but the eighth microphone was placed outside of the recording room! Improvisations for guitar are by no means a rare commodity in the musique actuelle scene these days, and it has taken me some time to be able to listen to this record and approach it with some degree of objectivity. That being said, at first I didn’t find much that was very intriguing when I first listened to this disc. A certain playfulness in the performance and the interesting use of the 8 channels were all that I could see. But when I approached this disc again, it suddenly opened up (or, perhaps it was I who suddenly opened up) revealing much more than the mere playfulness I had suspected. Only then was I able to perceive a more deliberate method in Lussier’s playing and a certain richness in the wide range of sounds that issue forth from his axe. Lussier is an accomplished innovator in dreaming up new methods and techniques for guitar improvisations, and, though not particularly to my taste, these 14 tracks are certainly food for thought.
Since 1978 guitarist René Lussier has taken an active part in the rise and institutionalization of the Montréal “musique actuelle” scene. It is only in May 2000 that he released his first solo guitar album. Solos de guitare électrique (“Electric Guitar Solos”) was recorded in 1998 in the studio with eight microphones placed in front of the amplifier, behind it, around the room and even in the adjacent studio. The audio perspective changes from one piece to the next and sometimes within one improvisation, expanding the sound palette. In the late 1990s, Lussier’s playing had become a lot more self-absorbed and abstract, less and less related to rock or jazz improvisation and getting closer to improvised audio art. His use of steel wool and other devices to brush, crunch and scratch the strings and the pick-ups often result in electroacoustic-like textures. The clownish side of Lussier’s music is absent on this record. In consequence, it tends to be more linear, ideas remain narrow, but well executed. Lussier is better when he has to respond to another player, like on Qu’ouïs-je? with Martin Tétreault. Here, he produces interesting textures, but the whole thing lacks some emotion, a third dimension. Not as engaging as other electric guitar-only albums like Hans Tammen’s Endangered Guitars, it still remains worthwhile, especially for those who want to study the guitarist’s playing up close.
- Phil England, The Wire, no. 207, May 1, 2001