Interférence sardines / Andrée Bilodeau, Sébastien Doré, Lyne Goulet, Frédéric Lebrasseur, Philippe Venne

Un caldo colore impressionante che ci accoglie glà dalla copertina e ci accompagna in un viaggio di splendide sonorità interiori. L’Ovabese, Italy

… listening to Interférence Sardines it became clear to me that we have a new creative outburst here. Vital, Netherlands

Le Soleil: 10 meilleurs 2001

Interférence Sardines is a crazy group that makes serious music—or perhaps that should be a serious group that makes crazy music. If we were to describe them to you, you would swear that we were pulling your leg: a classical violinist who plays electric violin, an analphabetic drummer who plays written music, a school dropout on guitar who is a self-taught composer, a jock instrument-maker on base, and an electrifying singer on violin and acoustic mic. Both their instrumental and vocal music can contain a skilful mixture of improvisation and composition.

CD (AM 095)

  • Label: Ambiances Magnétiques
  • AM 095
  • 2001
  • UCC 771028109524
  • Total duration: 67:43
  • Jewel case
  • 125 mm × 142 mm × 10 mm
  • 95 g

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In the press

Modern Folklore

François Couture,, March 16, 2004

When I was asked to dive into DAME’s catalog in search of intersecting points or recurring themes that would sketch discovery trails, the trad connection stood out immediately. Not only because of the importance of traditional folk music in the development of avant-garde music in Quebec, but also because the albums belonging to this line usually speak to us in a more immediate way and are easier to grasp.

It may seem a bit paradoxical, but tradition and innovation often go together hand in hand. When a culture’s avant-garde artists look for ways to overstep the rules of the music industry, they often turn their attention to roots — theirs and others — to find new paths to explore. Traditional folk music often holds at his core treasures of stylistic freedom and improvisation. Furthermore, its festive outlook can make it easier for an audience to accept and appreciate the introduction of new rhythmic, melodic or improvisational parameters. That’s what happened and continues to happen in Quebec. Here’s a listening trail in three parts, three original ways DAME artists approach the tradition: revisited, reinvented, and made-up folk.

Revisited folk

Late 1970s: a trad folk revival is sweeping the Province of Quebec, thanks to a new generation of musicians (groups like La Bottine Souriante, Le Rêve du Diable, and L’Engoulevent). Among these groups, many of which recording for the label Tamanoir, is a collective of crazy youngsters, guitarists who deprave reels and folk tunes with their melodic inventions and post-modern poetry. Among Conventum’s regular members are André Duchesne and René Lussier, who will later rank among the founding members of the collective Ambiances Magnétiques (sadly, Conventum’s two albums, À l’Affût d’un complot and Le Bureau central des utopies, are out of print).

In Ambiances Magnétiques, René Lussier has continued to explore a rereading of Quebec’s music history. His discography is peppered with folk tunes stripped naked and dressed anew. On his three albums with Les Granules (a duo with Jean Derome) he exaggerates the Dionysian character of the music (Le Boudin de Noël - or The Christmas Blood Pudding - on Soyez vigilants, restez vivants and La Chicaneuse on Au Royaume du Silencieux rank among the finest examples). With Le Trésor de la langue, he focused on our historical folklore, turning the words of René Lévesque, the FLQ, and people on the street into a new “Cahier de la bonne chanson” (a music book of old folk tunes that rested on the piano of many Quebec families in pre-television days). His recent collaboration with American guitarist Eugene Chadbourne signals a return to these roots — their CD L’Oasis released on Victo presents many revisited tunes from both sides of the border.

Reinvented folk

The folklore of a nation is not limited to a body of songs, it is also a state of mind, a substratum from which many artists in DAME’s catalog dig to reinvent our traditional folk music (and others too). On La Boulezaille, Pierre Tanguay and Pierre Langevin (masters of many European folk music in the group Strada) mix up traditional and modern instruments in search of a new, “actuel” folk freed from the cage in which all kinds of traditionalists would like to preserve it. Groups like Interférence Sardines and La Fanfare Pourpour shape their original pieces in ways that bring to mind the Devil’s fiddler or street fair music (music of the people, the prime definition of “folk” music). Joane Hétu’s Musique d’hiver doesn’t have that festive side to it, but it nevertheless redefines the folklore of our Quebec winters with much more precision and evocative strength then Nelligan’s famous poem.

Made-up folk

Traditional folk music refers to an instinctive form of music-making, music created outside the institutions and their codes, everyday music. And what if one wants to step out of the everyday? There is always the possibility to create folk out of nothing, to make folk-fiction. René Lussier and Robert Marcel Lepage establish their “musique actuelle” - a blend of free improvisation and reminiscences of trad - as the folk music of the future, the last enigma of a dehumanized world. The same goes for André Duchesne’s Les 4 Guitaristes de l’Apocalypso-Bar, the band being presented as trad rockers from the future (a post-apocalyptic future, mind you). And with Bruire’s Chants rupestres, Michel F Côté and his friends attempt to recreate through free improvisation the folk music of prehistoric men. We may have ventured far from the falsely naive tunes of Conventum, but this music still stems from a desire to go back to the roots of music expression. And in the end, there are many ways to call a square dance.

Tra passato e futuro

Giovanni Pietro Scazzola, L’Ovabese, no. 7:10, March 11, 2004

Tuno proiettato e disteso sul futuro il curioso disco intitolato Zucchini di Interférence sardines.

Dal Canada (per l’etichetta ambiances magnétiques: una formazione d’avanguardia di corde, ance e percussioni, fa sperimentazione anche con voci e tasti, facendo del rumore suono, trasformando le ispirazioni e la creatività in un’esperienza unica d’ascolto.

Un caldo colore impressionante che ci accoglie glà dalla copertina e ci accompagna in un viaggio di splendide sonorità interiori.

Un caldo colore impressionante che ci accoglie glà dalla copertina e ci accompagna in un viaggio di splendide sonorità interiori.


Vincenzo Giorgio, Wonderous Stories, no. 20, November 1, 2002

Questo è una di quei dischi che obbliga l’ascoltatore a fermarsi: troppo caleidoscopico, barocco (nel senso migliore del termine) ed “onnivoro” il suono di questa band canadese dal nome (e relativo titolo) vagamente dadaista. Due violini, chitarra, percussioni e basso, parti cantate in francese, quattro ospiti ai fiati, percussioni ed arpa per quattordici tracce una più bella dell’altra.

Mai un passaggio scontato ma una miscela sapiente e folle delle più svariate “interferenze” senza mai cadere in miscellanee raffazzonate o rozze addizioni sonore . Il suono scorre spumeggiante e spontaneo come giovane sorgente, nervosi riff violinistici vengono domati da calde armonie chitarristiche dai sapori vagamente jazzati. Giocose melodie vengono sospinte da bizzosi venti percussivi fino a sciogliersi in drammatiche atmosfere cameristiche.

In effetti ciò che più sorprende di questo incredibile quintetto (che mi dicono essere alla seconda prova discografica) è la capacità di passare da una situazione sonora all’altra senza sbavature o forzature di sorta: (facendo ovviamente i debiti distinguo) è dai tempi del più glorioso e creativo Zappa che non avvertivo quel senso di folle eclettismo invadere con violento e dolcissimo impeto le mie (stupite) orecchie.

Per tentare l’improbabile (vale a dire rendere l’idea di come questa musica suoni) Interferences Sardines rimandano vagamente alla primissima Penguin Cafè Orchestra (quella più “maleducata” del primo album tanto per intenderci) selvaggiamente intrisa di sonorità RIO e di improvvise aperture armoniche jazzate (certi vocalizzi all’unisono con le parti strumentali sono da brividi), gargarismi etnci (klezmer?) si fondono con musicalità più classicheggainti vicine a certe cose di Satie.

Personalmente non esito a definirlo il disco dell’anno tanta è la sua genialità e la sua limpida bellezza. Da avere assolutamente.


Alan Freeman, Audion, no. 47, September 1, 2002

Getting back in character with the early days of Ambiances Magnétiques (I’m meaning bands like Conventum, Wondeur Brass, Les Granules, et al) Interférence Sardines are certainly the “crazy group that makes serious music” that the press release proclaims, and then questions if it should be the other way round. As eccentric as the name, this 5-piece troupe (plus sundry guests) amalgamate an astonishing array of diverse musics into a blend that welds everything from Balkan folk to power metal together, sometimes seamlessly fusing it into entitely new genres. Such mixtures can be daunting on first listen, but that’s the whole idea with Rock In Opposition, maybe a calypso here, a death dirge there, top it with a freak-out Zappa meets Fred Frith and John Zorn. Why not- indded?!!

…autour des 10 ans du distributeur québécois DAME…

Luc Bouquet, ImproJazz, no. 88, August 1, 2002

Tout aussi aboutie est la musique d’lnterférences Sardines, troupe de sales gosses nourris au biberon transgressif. Poésie absurde, free loufoque, ska nonchalant, reggae lunaire, twist bancal, tango suave, nos amis de la sardine joyeuse n’ont pas leur pareil pour mélanger sérieux et gaudriole. Tout comme Rouge Ciel, ils savent éviter la vaine technicité au profit d’une musique-sitcom familière (dominance des cordes, mélodies joyeusement répétitives), sagement barge (plage fantôme, indexage plaisantin, paroles post-dada) et totalement réjouissante. Bref ça fuse et tangue. Personne ne s’en plaindra.


Dolf Mulder, Vital, March 28, 2002

Three new cd’s on Ambiances Magnétiques and new sublabel Monsieur Fauteux…. Most of the time releases on this label have the newest output from well known artists like Derome, Lussier, Duchesne and others. Although this are often releases of considerable quality, I’m happy that this time we have three new cds from groups of the ‘next generation’.

What new talents do we have here? In general the most striking difference with the first generation is that these bands are more rock-orientated. This is also the the case for Papa Boa (1999). Especially with Interférence Sardines and Rouge Ciel we enter a new chapter in the kind of art-rock that Henry Cow developed in the 70s. This kind of rock music flourished in the first half of the 80s with bands like Univers Zero, Samla, Debile Menthol, and many others. But creativity came to end and boring music like that of Art Zoyd was what was left. Since then I have been waiting for new bands to pick up were many ended in the 80s. But listening to Interférence Sardines it became clear to me that we have a new creative outburst here. Let me present the bands in more detail. Interférence Sardines is a quintet: Andrée Bilodeau (violin, alto, voice), Sébastien Doré (electric bass, clap, voice), Marc Gagnon (violin, electric violin, voice), Fréderic Lebrasseur (drums, percussion, piano, voice) and Philippe Venne (guitar, piano, voice). Assisted by four guests. Most pieces are composed by Philippe Venne. Their second cd Zucchini is a very nice piece of work. Their music can be compared in a way with that of Debile Menthol, a famous swiss group from the 80s. Complex art-rock mixing rock, jazz and contemporary in a nice blend of composition and improvisation. The music is full of surprises. The playing is very tight and convincing.

Rouge Ciel is a quartet: Guido del Fabbro (violin, mandoline, pick ups), Simon Lapointe (piano, claviers, melodica), Antonin Provost (acustic and electric guitar) and Nemo Venda (trumpet, drums, percussion). They debute here with a fresh mix of rock and improvisation. They do not reach the creative level of Interférence Sardines, but it still is very good music. Both bands I can recommend to anyone who like - I don’t know a better name - art-rock bands like Curlew, 5uu’s, etc. L’hotel du Bout de la Terre is the more conventional one of these three bands. No new territories here. This group was started in 1995 by Lou Babin (accordeon, voice ), Marie-Hélène Montpetit (voice), Pierre St-Jak (piano), and Norman Guilbeault. On this cd they are assisted by guests like Claude Fradette (guitar) and Pierre Tanguay (drums, perc. ). They present a collection of 12 songs composed by St. Jak and Montpetit. Melancholic and impressionistic songs. Texts written and sung by Montpetit. Although this may be a relatively new group someone like pianist Pierre St-Jak is a veteran of the Montréal jazz scene. Personally I never liked his piano playing very much which can also be heard on this one.

… listening to Interférence Sardines it became clear to me that we have a new creative outburst here.


Tom Schulte, Outsight, March 17, 2002

This innovative Quebec quintet features two violinists, one sometimes on electric violin. Their sophisticated Rock In Opposition sound boasts the jazz stylings, sound samples, bold strokes and occasional humor of modern art rock. Breathing beyond technique with crazy wisdom, the dozen largely instrumental pieces here mix composition and improvisation. Bright alto and soprano saxophones are often the voice of these witty works. A controlled use of sonic pyrotechnics and a brisk montage of instrumental timbres make Zucchini a smart and memorable disc.

Breathing beyond technique with crazy wisdom…


Pierre Durr, Revue & Corrigée, no. 51, March 1, 2002

C’est un enregistrement déroutant auquel nous convie cette formation de Québec (comme son nom ne l’indique pas) dont les notes de presse nous précisent qu’il s’agit de leur second opus.

Déroutant, non parce que la musique en est inattendue. Au contraire, elle est parfaitement identifiable. Le paradoxe réside dans le fait qu’il s’agirait de plusieurs musiques identifiables. Un côté musique de chambre (deux pianos, deux violons ou altos en fournissent les éléments principaux), mâtinée de passages proches du cabaret (la voix de Andrée Bilodeau), d’accents plus jazz lors de fugitifs instants (avec en particulier les interventions des saxophones des invités Jocelyn Guillemet et Lyne Goulet), le tout rythmé par la basse, la guitare, et bien sûr les percussions, elles-mêmes parfois décalées et agrémentées d’instruments incompris manipulés par un invité (leur seul musicien dont le nom nous est familier), Pierre Tanguay. Et cela sans nuire à la fluidité de l’ensemble et à la cohérence du projet. Les titres eux-mêmes participent de cet esprit où l’absurde s’insinue presque logiquement dans une trame néo-dada: luthier sportif, un nescalier, un autre poisson dans l’mur…

“L’interférence sardines” ne révolutionnera certes pas la musique actuelle - ce n’est pas son propos - mais contribuera sûrement à introduire un instant de poésie et d’humour dans un(des) genre(s) musical(aux) trop souvent figé(s).

… un instant de poésie et d’humour…

Le choix des chroniqueurs

Pierre Boulet, Le Soleil, December 22, 2001

Aussi réjouissant qu’angoissant, revoici donc le rituel annuel de l’arrachage de cheveux. Les 10 meilleurs? Allons donc! Il me suffit de penser à ce que j’ai dû discarter (Nick Cave et Mara Temblay, notamment) pour me concentrer sur mon petit potager de jazz, de musique actuelle et d’échos du monde. Et si je me permets, à l’occasion, d’aller pigrasser dans les plates-bandes de mes colocs, je dois avouer que 2001 s’est montrée fort généreuse dans ma portion de jardin. Alors j’irai tout simplement de coups de cœur en surprises.

En accouchant enfin de Zucchini après quatre ans de silence discographique, les Sardines confirment qu’on peut faire une musique typiquement québécoise qui soit en même temps complètement ouverte sur le monde. Une vraie musique d’identité collective, brûlante d’actualité. Ça nous brasse d’est en ouest, d’aujourd’hui en demain. D’une originalité désarmante et, souvent, désopilante. Ça touche à tous les genres au point d’en devenir un. Et ça s’écoute comme on regarde un film. Un cadeau!