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La boulezaille Pierre Langevin, Pierre Tanguay

Their creativity is nonstop, quickly moving from instrument to instrument and style to style, creating a form of twenty-first-century folk music. Musicworks, Canada

Pierre Langevin et Pierre Tanguay, transforment cet enregistrement en une symbiose d’éléments disparates qui n’aurait pu voir le jour sans leur immense talent… SOCAN, Paroles & Musique, Canada

Hard at work in many projects released by Ambiances Magnétiques, Pierre Tanguay introduces a new duo, this time with Pierre Langevin, known for his tenure in the group Strada. As on Tanguay’s solo album La musique de mon disque, the instrumentation on “La Boulezaille" consists of a merry blend of traditional and invented instruments, a blend that aims at understanding the past to better our understanding of the future.

Here’s Pierre Tanguay’s album, in his own words: “The complete history of music now within your reach, thanks to La Boulezaille. 43 minutes 53 seconds of incomparable music on one CD, pleasantly presented by two doctors ex-musica whose precision earned them international repute. Pick up the phone right now and dial 1-800-B-O-U-L-E-Z-A-I-L-L-E to hear the difference and discover music that is rich in sounds old and new. Music out of time, music that will send you on a journey through the Ages and will make you live your most memorable moments with your loved ones. Don’t delay, La Boulezaille is for you!”

La boulezaille

Pierre Langevin, Pierre Tanguay

In the press

  • Grisli, Infra Tunes, July 1, 2006
  • Randy Raine-Reusch, Musicworks, no. 94, March 1, 2006
    Their creativity is nonstop, quickly moving from instrument to instrument and style to style, creating a form of twenty-first-century folk music.
  • Rigobert Dittmann, Bad Alchemy, no. 44, October 1, 2004
  • Gabriel Bélanger, SOCAN, Paroles & Musique, no. 11:2, June 1, 2004
    Pierre Langevin et Pierre Tanguay, transforment cet enregistrement en une symbiose d’éléments disparates qui n’aurait pu voir le jour sans leur immense talent…
  • Pierre Durr, Revue & Corrigée, no. 60, June 1, 2004
  • Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 418, April 6, 2004
    Both gentlemen use the great many instruments in order to ‘colour’ a music that shows love for detail. Well done!
  • Philip Clark, The Wire, no. 242, April 1, 2004
    A kooky and very personal vision.
  • François Couture, actuellecd.com, March 16, 2004
  • Henryk Palczewski, Informator “Ars” 2, no. 39, March 1, 2004
  • Kurt Gottschalk, The Squid’s Ear, January 26, 2004
    The surprise of this simple disc is its complexity. It seems rudimentary, but it’s never repetitive.
  • François Couture, Ici Montréal, November 13, 2003
    Le résultat est étonnant de richesse, divertissant et facile d’écoute.
  • François Couture, AllMusic, November 1, 2003
    … reminds us that improvisation and resourcefulness once were at the core of all traditional folk music. Recommended.
  • Réjean Beaucage, Voir, October 23, 2003
    … un festival de textures et de timbres. Reposant.
  • Ron Davies, Splendid E-Zine, October 3, 2003
    … a number of wonderful, thoughtful moments to be experienced here.

Critique

Grisli, Infra Tunes, July 1, 2006

Respectivement clarinettiste (mais aussi joueur de cornemuse ou de chifonie) et percussionniste (doué quand même pour la boîte à languettes ou l’harmonica), Pierre Langevin et Pierre Tanguay exposent ici un précis de boulezaille, concept musical leur appartenant, défendu à grands coups d’instruments hybrides. Convoqués pour la mise en pratique, instruments rarement utilisés (doudouk, guimbarde, douçaine…) et ustensiles de la vie domestique, au son desquels se mettent en place des titres relavant d’un nouveau folklore autant que de l’expérimentation ludique. La mélodie légère d’une flûte, que l’on dépose sur le grouillement de percussions sourdes (Le grand bonhomme de chemin) tranche avec le drone fomenté par une guitare électrique sur lequel s’installe le dialogue du tambour et de la clarinette basse (La scie voleuse). Ailleurs, le bourdon de la chifonie accueille une mélopée intuitive (Mon ami), la clarinette et la cornemuse fantasment le voyage en Algérie (Ne partez pas sans être heureux), et les percussions minuscules rivalisent d’inventions burlesques (Voilà!). Rarement l’expérimentation aura été aussi radicalement mariée à la musique populaire. Afin de mettre au jour une musique que l’on jugera nouvelle, même si Tanguay et Langevin l’ont exhumé sûrement de traditions enfouies.

Playful Québécois Innovation

Randy Raine-Reusch, Musicworks, no. 94, March 1, 2006

This CD reminds me that some of the most innovative and playfully experimental music in Canada regularly comes from Quebec. Here, two seasoned multi-instrumentalists draw on their vast experiences in musique actuelle, jazz, folk, early, new, and world music to create a playground for the ears. Their creativity is nonstop, quickly moving from instrument to instrument and style to style, creating a form of twenty-first-century folk music. Fascinating!

Their creativity is nonstop, quickly moving from instrument to instrument and style to style, creating a form of twenty-first-century folk music.

Critique

Gabriel Bélanger, SOCAN, Paroles & Musique, no. 11:2, June 1, 2004

Fin mélange d’instruments anciens et modernes ainsi que de différents bruits naturels et de sons synthétiques; cet album a un ton hautement ludique. En effet, les jeux sonores de ce duo de musiciens et créateurs hors du commun sont très divertissants. Les deux «docteurs en musique», Pierre Langevin et Pierre Tanguay, transforment cet enregistrement en une symbiose d’éléments disparates qui n’aurait pu voir le jour sans leur immense talent et leur vaste expérience.

Pierre Langevin et Pierre Tanguay, transforment cet enregistrement en une symbiose d’éléments disparates qui n’aurait pu voir le jour sans leur immense talent…

Critique

Pierre Durr, Revue & Corrigée, no. 60, June 1, 2004

Pendant ses vingt premières années d’existence, le collectif éditait principalement les réalisations de ses membres, à la rigueur celles de certains de leurs collaborateurs occasionnels. Ce n’est qu’au tournant du millénalre que peu à peu Ambiances Magnétiques décida d’ouvrir son catalogue à de nouvelles entités. C’est ainsi que l’auditeur découvrit peu à peu des musiciens tels que Mirko Sabatini, Bull/Heikalo, des formations comme Zucchini, certains déjà présents sur d’autres labels peu distribués (Sylvie Chénard, Lee Pui Ming, Lori Freedman…).

Plutôt que de sortir une énième compilation des œuvres plus ou moins inédites des artistes «maison», la dernière compilation s’attache donc, tout normalement, à faire découvrir un aspect du foisonnement musical de la province francophone. Probablement pas exhaustif, Sang 9 rassemble une vingtaine de formations qui émargent aux musiques divergentes. La dominante semble être le style proche des duos ou trios de musiques improvisées bruitistes, inspirées des Granules, par exemple (Pascal Desjardins & Frédéric Léonard) ou des bidouillages à la Tétreault (Face dans l’dash). Quelques formations utilisent toutefois des phrasés d’essence plus jazz (Torngat, Malarafe)…

Mais l’écoute d’une seule traite de l’ensemble des titres ne permet pas - c’est le lot de la plupart des compilations - d’entrer pleinement dans l’univers respectif de chaque proposition et l’auditeur, selon son état d’esprit du moment, ne retiendra qu’une ou deux propositions qui d’emblée le feront réagir. Je citerai personnellement In Vitro pour ses sonorités d’harmonica traitées, créant une atmosphére quelque peu étrange ou encore le duo Cléo Palacio Quintin & Pascal Boudreault, avec leur radioglyphe et les sons de flûte transformés par l’ordinateur.

Sang 9 reste cependant un témoignage intéressant de la relève (générationnelle?) qui s’opére autour de Montréal.

Ambiances Magnétiques consacrent justement une de ses récentes productions à un musicien présent sur Sang 9. Guido Del Fabbro y apparaissait au sein de Concorde Crash. Carré de sable est une œuvre soliste dans laquelle le traval du violon est confronté à divers instruments, genre tourne-disque ou machine à café. Le bidouillage y est la règle à travers raclement de cordes et autres bruitages plus ou moins percussifs, mais non exclusivement, certains titres, courts, offrant une sorte de respiration mélodique. Les pièces les plus intéressantes sont toutefois celles qui combinent les deux approches, telle «Drimarni» dans laquelle émarge l’un des deux invités Pierre Emmanuel Poizat à la clarinette basse ou dans les derniers titres aux couches sonores plus denses. Carré de sable se révéle intéressant en particulier pour le savoir-faire de Guido Del Fabbro, qui mêle adroitement un aspect ludique - le côté bac à sable? - et une volonté créatrice.

Pierre Tanguay est lui devenu un pilier du collectif. Sa batterie, ses percussions donnent la réplique à Jean Derome (Plinc! Plonc!) ou à Lussier {les deux volets de La vie qui bat), sans oubiler son délicieux et pétillant album solo, La musique de mon disque. En s’associant dans La boulezaille au souffleur Pierre Langevin (clarinette, flûte, cornemuse, chalumeau, chifonie(?)…), que l’on a pu découvrir aux côtés de René Lussier dans Tabula Rasa (La Tribu Trib21570), il renouvelle une approche intégrant la diversité de son inspiration. Cette propension à marier divers styles trouve un partenaire idéal en Pierre Langevin, lequel passe allégrement d’un contexte folk à un travall plus expérimental de ses instruments.

Review

Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 418, April 6, 2004

Pierre Langevin studied clarinet and chamber music in Québec, Cleveland and New York. For some years he played bass clarinet in the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec. Later he developped himself into a multi-instrumentalist with a special interest in medieval music. In 1986 he formed the Strada Ensemble. He is a member and the artistic leader of the this ensemble. This ensembles focuses on medieval folklore music from Europe. But Langevin feels also attracted to new music and worked together with René Lussier and collaborated on many musical productions for dance and for film. Pierre Tanguay is also member of the Strada ensemble since it originated in 1986. It makes sense to memorate this common background of Langevin and Tanguay, as in their duo production La boulezaille, influences of medieval music are evident, like in Danse du vent comme dans le temps. Old traditional instruments are used as well. But among them also many of exotic origin. And this can be explained from another part of Tanguay’s background. As a percussionist he did additional studies in Africa, India and gathered (percussion) instruments from all over the world. Tanguay is a busy bee. He is co-founder of member of groups like Mara, Ogane Song, Trio Marc Villemure, Pierre Cartier Ensemble, Icarus, etc. Composed for theatre, film and danse productions and played with Nana Vasconcellos, NOMA, Tim Brady, John Surman, Barre Phillips, and many more. The Ambiances Magnétiques catalogue shows that Tanguay likes the duo-format as he worked together with René Lussier, Jean Derome and Tom Walsh. And now a work with Pierre Langevin. Like on his solo-album La musique de mon disque Tanguay brings a great diversity of percussive instruments to the studio as well as some self-built instruments. The last category show Tanguay’s interest in noise and sound. Langevin plays wind instruments like a duduk, bagpipes, pipe, recorders, a.o. and brings in themes reminiscent of medieaval times. Time and space barriers are broken down here, melting together in a very sympathic music that can be of no other age then ours. All eight pieces show the wit and humour both Pierres must have experienced. Surprises and inventive improvisation make it sensitive and enjoyable record. Both gentlemen use the great many instruments in order to ‘colour’ a music that shows love for detail. Well done! Jean Derome and Jean René both guest on one piece: La scie voleuse.

Both gentlemen use the great many instruments in order to ‘colour’ a music that shows love for detail. Well done!

Modern Composition

Philip Clark, The Wire, no. 242, April 1, 2004

Don’t be misled by the “Pierres" and the “Boulez“ references here — this disc has nothing to do with the French avant garde. Langevin and Tanguay are French Canadians with a background in jazz and modern composition, and Tanguay describes this blend of traditional and invented instruments as aiming “at understanding the past to better our understanding of the future". The music often sounds like “invented" folk, as Langevin’s spiky reed playing is underscored by the noise Tanguay generates from percussion, toy instruments and power tools. A kooky and very personal vision.

A kooky and very personal vision.

Modern Folklore

François Couture, actuellecd.com, 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.

Review

Henryk Palczewski, Informator “Ars” 2, no. 39, March 1, 2004

Wydaje sie ze ie mniej znana, nam postacia jest Pierre Langevin. Ma on za soba gruntowne wyksztalcenie w zakresie klarnetu i kompozycji w Conservatoire de Musique de Québec, granie w Orchestra symphonique du Québec, Ensemble Anonymus a takze artystyczne kierownictwo Ensemble Strada. Jako tancerz i mim wystepowal w Théâtre du Trident. Przez wiele lat wystepowal w Europie.

Duet LANGEVIN-TANGUAY proponuje nam awangardowa improwizacje na instrumenty i przedmioty mocno umocowana w tradycji nieokreslonej muzyki plemiennej jakiegos plemienia uwiedzionego przez rytm. Mimo to, nie jest to muzyka etniczna lub folkowa. To calkowicie wspólezesna muzyka. Wyrafinowana, dojrzala, zmyslowa, rytualna, zagadkowa, intrygujaca. Hipnotyzne ale z reguly powolne rytmy zakotwiczaja opowiadanie czarujac nas. Tematy i dramaturgia narastaja powoli i mistycznie blakaja sie od ducha Afryki az po niespokojne piesni Celtów. Nic nie jest czyste ale wsystko klarowne. Uporzadkowany chaos jest porzadkowany niezauwazalnie wsród misternych improwizacji. Kazdy dzwiek wydaje sie najistotniejszy i przewodni. Rytual, magia, zaklinanie.

Review

Kurt Gottschalk, The Squid’s Ear, January 26, 2004

In his duo with Pierre Tanguay, Pierre Langevin is the exception that proves the rule. Or if not him, then in any event his clarinet. When his licorice stick twists through polyrhythms and ethnic pretensions, it serves to illustrate that otherwise la boulezaille is a world of percussion. From the two whistles that start the disc to the coughs that conclude it, the two Pierres find rhythm around every turn. The recording is a moody piece of work, using vaguely familiar melodies to suggest different weathers in different lands, and comes off something like Henry Kaiser’s world music forays (although there is only guitar on one track, played by Jean René, with Jean Derome also sitting in on sax). Otherwise, hand drums, thumb pianos, harmonicas, childrens’ toys and cocktail shakers form the charming and seemingly preconceived backdrop. The surprise of this simple disc is its complexity. It seems rudimentary, but it’s never repetitive. It comes off as abstract, but is immensely listenable. And while you might think you get it, there might not be anything to get.

The surprise of this simple disc is its complexity. It seems rudimentary, but it’s never repetitive.

Compact!

François Couture, Ici Montréal, November 13, 2003

Pierre Tanguay est un percussionniste d’avant-garde exceptionnel. Mais on oublie parfois qu’il est aussi actif du côté des musiques du monde, en particulier dans le groupe Strada dont fait aussi partie Pierre Langevin. Pour La Boulezaille, les deux compères mettent à profit leur connaissance des traditions du monde pour partir à la recherche d’une nouvelle musique traditionnelle, celle d’un monde fabuleux où l’invention et l’émotion règnent. Clarinettes, flûtes à bec, chalumeau et autres instruments à vent rencontrent un fouillis de percussions de main, ethniques ou inventées, de jouets et d’objets hétéroclites. Le résultat est étonnant de richesse, divertissant et facile d’écoute. 9

Le résultat est étonnant de richesse, divertissant et facile d’écoute.

Review

François Couture, AllMusic, November 1, 2003

Pierre Langevin and Pierre Tanguay are one half of the Mediterranean traditional music ensemble Strada. Tanguay is also the busiest avant-garde jazz drummer/experimental percussionist in Montréal. For La Boulezaille, they bring to the table their inventory of traditional instruments (wind instruments like a duduk, bagpipes, pipe, recorders, etc. for Langevin; all kinds of hand-held percussion and toy instruments for Tanguay), a bunch of found and invented instruments, and an urge to improvise. The resulting music is fanciful, cheerful, witty and strange, driven by the pleasure to discover new sounds and literally play with them. The duo taps into traditional music currents from all over the world, integrating culture upon culture — or more exactly ignoring them — to come up with a form of music that sounds traditional in a multi-dimensional way but is in fact traditional only to Langevin and Tanguay. Each piece is full of surprises, new odd instruments joining in all the time, but this project is not about novelty. These pieces have depth, sensitivity, and a down-to-earth fairy tale vibe — it’s not an oxymoron since the music evokes both faraway lands and the local junkyard. One thinks of Mike Adcock and Clive Bell’s beautiful duo album Sleep It Off. La Boulezaille has that kind of indescribable magic, magic that makes you feel close to the true essence of music: emotion in invention. And it reminds us that improvisation and resourcefulness once were at the core of all traditional folk music. Recommended.

… reminds us that improvisation and resourcefulness once were at the core of all traditional folk music. Recommended.

Disques

Réjean Beaucage, Voir, October 23, 2003

Drôle de couple que celui-là, qui relie musique médiévale et musique, actuelle pour en faire une tapisserie sonore sans âge, grouillante d’une faune de bruits et de sons qui n’ont pas l’habitude de fréquenter les mêmes pistes. Les clarinette, chifonie ou cornemuse de Pierre Langevin et les madriophone, boîte à languettes et harmonica banane de Pierre Tanguay transplantent l’ère médiévale sur la planète Mars. On est aussi loin de l’ensemble de folklore moyenâgeux Strada, dont Langevin est directeur et Tanguay percussionniste, que des concoctions actualistes d’un René Lussier, que les deux Pierrots ont beaucoup fréquenté. Une très belle prise de son de Robert Langlois transforme le tout en un festival de textures et de timbres. Reposant.3,5/5

… un festival de textures et de timbres. Reposant.

Review

Ron Davies, Splendid E-Zine, October 3, 2003

Opening with a discordant flute, this disc initially leads the listener to expect the mind-bending found-sound experiments for which Ambiances Magnétiques are deservedly known. Instead, this pair of Pierres take listeners on a relatively grounded exploration of classical Indian music. The eight compositions abound with drones and delicately shaded textures, combining low-pitched wind drones with melodies just foreign enough to induce thought, but not confusion. I find it particularly pleasing that many of the disc’s soft sounds mimic those just outside my door. For example, the low pan flute notes that open Voila! are mirrored by the whistle of a train rolling through town. Elsewhere, a clank, a cough or an indefinable hum could easily be coming from my speakers or from the hallway. This type of sonic serendipity achieves a delicate balance between the inner and outer ear, mimicking the meditative balance between mind and body. This warrants the comparison to classical Indian music as much as the sound sources themselves do. More importantly, they demand repeated listens in order to fully explore the sounds on the record, as opposed to the sounds that exist in the environment or in my own head.

This repetition serves to bring out the subtle textures of the recording itself. The slow, insinuating introduction of a tabla in Voila!, or the nearly subliminal kalimba counterpoint to the birdsongs in Le Grand Bonhomme de Chemin, initially go unnoticed. However, just as the trained mind notices subtle patterns after repeated examination, so do seeming minor variations in the music become large and meaningful with additional listens.

Although the disc offers little of the frantic playing that tends to attract Western ears to Eastern music, there are nevertheless a number of wonderful, thoughtful moments to be experienced here. True, this music comes by way of two French Canadians, but the tradition and intent behind La Boulezaille are derived directly from India.

… a number of wonderful, thoughtful moments to be experienced here.

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