… un de ces artistes atypiques que seul le Québec semble capable d’engendrer. — Solénoïde, France
Prix Opus 2007-08: Disque de l’année
Clic consists in a group of six pieces written in the studio. The musicians never actually performed this music together; they recorded their overdubs one by one. Most of the material had been composed beforehand, but part of it came to be in reaction to what the musicians were playing, occasionally through improvisation.
With Clic, what I wanted to do was to experiment with unusual metronomic applications. For instance, the ever-changing tempo in Yéti; the superimposed tempi in Mule, Thon, Neuf, and Fête; the tempo changes in Neuf, etc. Also, Watt and Clic feature two-part canons, each with its own tempo.
Most of this music would be near impossible to perform live. It was written specifically for a record. I like the idea that the record is to cinema what the concert is to theatre. Filming a play rarely makes a good movie.
In the course of this record, you will find (more or less obvious) tributes to and winks at the following musicians: Aksak Maboul, Anthony Braxton, Captain Beefheart, Franco Donatoni, Les Granules, Conlon Nancarrow, Igor Stravinsky, and Robert Wyatt. (BF)
- Label: Ambiances Magnétiques
- AM 174 / 2007
- UCC 771028117420
- Total duration: 46:23
- Sympathique case
- 126 mm × 126 mm × 5 mm
- 45 g
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In the press
Quintetto di nuove uscite per la Ambiances Magnétiques. Nel secondo CD a nome personale il chitarrista dei Klaxon Gueule e dei Foodsoon Bernard Falaise chiama a raccolta una band voluminosa e di tutto rispetto (Gordon Allen alla tromba, Jean Derome al sax e al flauto, Lori Freedman al clarinetto e al clarone, Julien Grégoire alla marimba, Jean Martin alla batteria e Tom Walsh al trombone), dichiarandosi polistrumentista duttile ed accorto (chitarra, basso, banjo, mandolino, giradischi ecc.) per dar vita a una serie di quadri in cui rielabora i propri amori legati al passato: rock d’impianto ‘prog’, jazzetto informale, folk barocco, art-rock post canterburiano e persino fumi di centramerica come li amerebbe Tom Waits.
Da parte loro Joane Hétu (sax e voce), Diane Labrosse (sampler) e Danielle Palardy Roger (percussioni) riportano in vita il vecchio progetto Les Poules, con cui elaborano una serie di stralunati schizzi in cui un’improvvisazione liberissima incontra la surrealtà del caso, la costruzione dada e le sfasature del jazz con molto, forse troppo, senso del gioco (la Hétu come Phil Minton, ecc.): gioverebbe parecchio la visione delle tre all’opera piuttosto che il solo ascolto.
La stessa Palardy Roger rende molto meglio duettando con la chitarra di Fred Frith in Pas de deux, disco d’improvvisata che coagula elementi avant rock, jazz ed elettronici in un mix esuberante e una volta tanto veramente indefinibile, alieno da facili catalogazioni quanto prodigo di idee e input sorprendentemente freschi: dietro l’angolo sbucano un assolo di chitarra slide-hawaiiana, minacciose escrescenze elettroniche (i ‘treatments’ di Frith) o voci in format-strumento. Uno dei migliori Frith ascoltati negli ultimi anni.
Profondamente diverse ma di tutto rispetto anche le chitarre di Antoine Berthiaume ed Elliott Sharp, che in Base celebrano un onirico viaggio impro-noise a base di feedback e drones trattati in modo tale da costitire un corpo compatto ma non monocromatico, anzi decisamente eccentrico nella scelta dei timbri, secchi e risonanti, metallici, a tratti quasi plastici: c’è qualcosa di spaziale e cosmico in questi suoni che sapere esclusivamente chitarristici stupisce non poco; anche in questo caso si tratta di uno dei migliori Sharp degli ultimi anni.
Infine il CD accreditato al contrabbassista John Geggie, le cui composizioni, qui suonate assieme a Marilyn Crispell (piano) e Nick Fraser (batteria), ispirano uno struggente sentimento jazz old fashioned senza però mai restare impantanate nella semplice nostalgia ma viceversa ammiccando spesso verso l’avant; alla consumata abilità strumentale dei musicisti fare il resto.
Voilà encore un de ces artistes atypiques que seul le Québec semble capable díengendrer. Attiré par les expérimentations les plus biscornues, pouvant amalgamer notamment rock progressif et musique contemporaine, ce guitariste synthétise habilement ses divers penchants esthétiques. Et pour donner corps à ses douces lubies transverses, un orchestre particulier (incluant trompette, sax, marimba) prend part aux hostilités, dérivant généreusement l’auditeur sur des chemins inattendus. Aussi baroque qu’intemporel, le résultat comblera les adeptes de productions exigeantes et ludiques!
Falaise est un guitariste expérimenté sur la scène de la musique actuelle au Québec. Il a collaboré avec une large partie du bottin d’Ambiances Magnétiques (la référence en la matière), mais en est seulement à son deuxième album «solo». Difficile d’appeler Clic solo puisque beaucoup de musiciens y participent: Jean Derome, Gordon Allen, Lori Freedman, Julien Grégoire, Jean Martin… et même Tom Waits, au trombone!
Contrairement à son premier opus Do, paru en 2000 où il y jouait toutes les guitares de pièces composées pour des ensembles, Falaise n’y est donc pas seul: il s’est bien entouré. Mais il est bien le seul compositeur des 13 titres qui sont ici publiés. La musique de Falaise est très accessible. Peu de délires à la Naked City. Ce sont vraiment des pièces harmoniquement faciles à suivre (quand même pas pop, on s’entend, on parle de musique actuelle…), où la rythmique est souvent originale, mais aussi souvent rock et les motifs musicaux ont été bien pondus.
La base est plutôt jazz (Tour), parfois même un peu prog, touchant également à l’impro et à l’expérimental. Ceux et celles qui apprécient les élans originaux et complexes des grands groupes prog des années 70 ne devraient pas être trop déboussolés, d’ailleurs. Certaines sonorités ne sont pas si éloignées de ce que faisaient Yes ou Floyd, à leurs sommets créatifs — strictement au niveau instrumental. Il y a aussi des ambiances plus liées au cirque (Fête), et d’autres presque funky (Neuf).
Derome, une sommité, faut-il le souligner, est particulièrement efficace aux flûtes (notamment sur l’excellent groove de Mule) et le marimba de Julien Grégoire vient amener une belle couleur qu’on n’entend pas assez souvent. Ouvert à tous les styles, Falaise a récemment collaboré avec le loufoque chansonnier country Franck Martel, la poète spoken word D Kimm, le manipulateur de tables-tournantes Martin Tétreault…
The most exciting guitarist to emerge from Quebec since René Lussier, Montréal’s Bernard Falaise moves easily between rock-influenced wailing with such bands as Les Projectionnistes, writing for film and dance, and impressionistic electro-acoustic ensemble work. Clic finds him squarely in the latter category, in the company of some of Canada’s best improvisers, including multi-reedist Jean Derome, clarinetist Lori Freedman, trombonist Tom Walsh, marimba-player Julien Grégoire and drummer Jean Martin. Like Martin, whom Falaise has joined recently in the Barnyard Drama quartet, the guitarist has a love of sound montages and headlong rhythms and a knack for moving adroitly between disparate source materials. Following hard on the digital cut-and-paste of Allô, the hard-driving Tricheur throws the listener into a spiral of fuzzed-out guitar, thorny trombone, irrepressible percussion and electronic effects. While there is no shortage of attention-snapping jump-cuts in Falaise’s music, he manages to make them appear organic, even when (as on Tour) moving between sweetly voiced acoustic material and hardedged electronics. Falaise’s manipulation of found sounds and samples grab the ear, as well as his rhythmic sense and humor, but it is the real-time contributions by the whole ensemble that give Clic its warmth. Together they make this sophomore effort a compelling listening experience.
Fantastic to have a record like this produced in these days. I will explain what I mean by ‘this’, but let me first introduce you to Bernard Falaise. This Montréal born guitarist and composer wrote music for the Ensemble contemporain de Montréal (ECM) and several other ensembles. Also he created music for exhibitions, television, theatre and dance. As a musician he is known for his many contributions to projects of Michel F Côté like Klaxon Gueule and Mecha Fixes Clocks. And I also would like to remind you of his work with Miriodor and Papa Boa. These references may give you a first indication of what we have to expect on Clic: it is fair to say that Falaise has a strong interest for new forms of rockmusic. And yes, this is also the case for his new soloproject Clic. His second one after Do released in 2000. For Clic Falaise is assisted by Gordon Allen (trumpet), Jean Derome (saxes, flutes), Lori Freedman (clarinets), Julien Grégoire (marimba), Jean Martin (drums, percussion) and Tom Walsh (trombone). Falaise himself plays guitars, banjos, etc. He wrote 13 compositions that came into being in the context of a pure studio project. The musicians didn’t actually play together simultaneously, but only one after another, with little room for improvisation. Complex music, almost impossible to perform live according to Falaise, because of the complex tempi, but one wishes it would be possible. In his own words: “With Clic, what I wanted to do was to experiment with unusual metronomic applications. For instance, the ever changing tempo in Yéti; the superimposed tempi in Mule, Thon, Neuf, and Fête; the tempo changes in Neuf, etc. Also, Watt and Clic feature two part canons, each with its own tempo.” Falaise mentions Aksak Maboul, Anthony Braxton, Captain Beefheart, Franco Donatoni, Les Granules, Conlon Nancarrow, Igor Stravinsky, and Robert Wyatt as points of reference. Falaise brings new life to the avant rock genre that is not allergic for melody and harmony. In a way he continues where groups like Henry Cow stopped. One can hear that he takes the advantages of new technology and musical principles. He must clearly feel at home in company of groups like Blast, Miriodor, and not to forget Albert Marcœur. His music is accessible and complex at the same time. The pieces have beautiful arrangements, a strong drive and are full of unsuspected twists. Because of the recording process we must also mention that Falaise did a great job in mixing it. An impressive and important album from a true talent. I hope it takes not another seven years for his next album!
This creative review probably should require some kind of editorial warning — but I’m not sure what — or why.
You wanna know what this record sounds like? Okay, stay with me. George Duke and Bitches Brew are up at the Université de Montréal music building, hanging out, laughing at 4/4 time. Since Bitches Brew is more a concept than an actual person, George can just communicate with it with his mind and by flaring his nostrils. In a series of wiggles, brain and otherwise, George says to Bitches Brew, “Yo, can you do this on your trombone?” Wng wng waaa mwubmub. Bitches Brew doesn’t say anything. Instead, he mentally commandeers a bunch of students to hook up all their pedals to all their instruments and go Wng wng waa mwubwub mwuunngg all at once.
George is all, like, “What the fizzuck? Okay, can you go this on your flute in 5/16 time? Fwee fwee zizz ziizz twiidly twaaaong. Bitches Brew materializes himself into a large dog from the stench particles in the carpet, grabs a xylophone player and sticks a flute in his nose. Fwee fwee zizz ziizz twiidly twaaaong emanates through the fetid air”.
Totally weirded out after getting nasally nose-raped by the spirit of a record from 1970, the xylophone player decides to go with it because, you know, that’s jazz. They eat some poutine spiked with mushrooms, grab their big scarves and jackets with elbow patches, and decided to get dark.
For weeks, their routine consists eating scales and wiping their asses with triplets. When their cheeks were raw beyond a cottony softness, they decide to stop. Crestfallen, each band member sheds a tear of diamonds and places it upon a sunny day.
George Duke shrugs, gives Bitches Brew a beer, and says, “Not bad. I mean, this record doesn’t sound like somebody’s maiden voyage, but what the fizzuck?”
Falaise has put together a great band, only it’s not a band; it’s a series of overdubs creating a mille-feuille of carefully controlled sounds and influences. Falaise name checks Anthony Braxton, Captain Beefheart, Igor Stravinsky and Robert Wyatt as influences, so you know there’s never a straight path between two points. Sometimes the writing is a little tight assed, with strangled, carnival-esque riffing from the horns and trombone redeemed only by drummer Jean Martin’s powerful groove in Tricheur. There’s a Zappa influence at work as well, with a knack for snaky, highly orchestrated melodies and sudden shifts into loopy solos evident especially in Falaise’s guitar work. Clic makes more sense as a suite than as individual tracks. As one song folds into another, commonalities in the arrangements begin to emerge and the listener begins to appreciate the scope of the work. Certain songs coalesce on their own, such as Lime and Moka, which would appeal to fans of Torngat, while others just keep up the momentum. Shout outs go to the overdubbed; he’s assembled a diversely proficient band with Jean Derome, Lori Freedman, Gordon Allen and Tom Walsh as a hard charging brass “front line.”
Investi dans une foule de projets, le Montréalais Bernard Falaise a ici réalisé son œuvre maîtresse, jusqu’à maintenant du moins. Pour ce, il a réuni un orchestre de chambre aussi consonnant qu’atypique: le trompettiste Gordon Allen, le saxophoniste et flûtiste Jean Derome, la clarinettiste Lori Freedman, le marimbiste Julien Grégoire, le batteur Jean Martin, le tromboniste Tom Walsh, lesquels se joignent au guitariste, improvisateur, bidouilleur, excellent compositeur de surcroît.
Fin connaisseur de cette approche vaste et multipolaire qu’est celle de ladite musique actuelle, Falaise en transcende le langage dans 13 tableaux sonores variant de 55 secondes à 7 minutes 36 secondes. Les combinaisons d’instruments y sont diverses, les vapeurs qui s’en élèvent le sont tout autant: séquences viriles avec grooves couchés sur mesures composées, suites d’unités arythmiques, manipulations singulières d’objets sonores, douces déconstructions, arrangements signifiants pour vents inspirés, passages lyriques et hilarants.
La «sonodiverstié» qui en découle et la trame narrative me semblent celles d’une œuvre des plus complètes.
Falaise, guitarist of Les Projectionnistes, Miriodor and many sessions, says this album was “written” in the studio featuring six musicians who arrived one by one to improvise alone on music he composed beforehand. “Most of this music would be near impossible to perform live,” he adds. Rarely will you hear such ostensibly experimental music sound as charming as a music box. The creative conceit allowed the musicians (including saxophonist Jean Derome, clarinetist Lori Freedman, trombonist Tom Walsh) to create flights of fancy as concise as they are inspired. Falaise has never sounded so wide-ranging on guitar while winking at Stravinsky, Captain Beefheart, Anthony Braxton, Conlon Nancarrow and Robert Wyatt, among others. Difficult and utterly delightful, revealing new bursts of magic with each listening.
Deuxième disque solo (parmi une myriade de collaborations) pour Bernard Falaise (guitare, basse, platine, etc.), qui prouve avec ce nouvel opus toute l’étendue de son talent de compositeur et de producteur. Le musicien semble saluer ici, consciemment ou non, les multiples ensembles avec lesquels il a travaillé ou continue de le faire. On a des réminiscences du rock bien carré de Diésel, mais aussi du rock progressif à la Miriodor ou des explorations sonores à la Klaxon Gueule. Le son y est hyper-soigné et magnifie le travail des acolytes du compositeur (Derome, Freedman, Walsh, le percussionniste Julien Grégoire, etc.). Et en plus, ça groove! (4/5)
- 25% de virtuosité instrumentale
- 20% d’abstraction actualiste
- 20% d’arrangements superbes
- 20% de groove
- 15% de guitar hero
On ne sait jamais où nous conduira un nouveau Falaise, ce guitariste caméléon d’une grande polyvalence. Sa démarche, basée sur l’élasticité et la superposition des temps, nous offre une musique mélodieuse (un tour de force pour l’avant-garde, souvent hermétique) laissant une belle part aux vents. Il est secondé par des maîtres: Lori Freedman, Jean Derome, Tom Walsh et Gordon Allen. Rappelant les offres récentes de son groupe Miriodor, ces orchestrations plairont aux amateurs de math rock à la King Crimson et autres Egg. S’affirmant comme multi-instrumentiste, Bernard y joue même les platinistes façon Tétreault. Une belle réussite.
Anyone aware of the Montréal avant-prog and musique actuelle scenes knows about guitarist Bernard Falaise — in addition to his comparatively high-profile gig with longstanding avant-proggers Miriodor, he has graced concert stages and recordings in practically every avant-gardist setting imaginable, as a member of the electro-acoustic free exploratory Klaxon Gueule, Claude St-Jean’s contemporary jazz-rockish Les Projectionnistes, Pierre Labbé’s chamber jazzish ensemble, the Jimmy Giuffre-inspired trio that recorded Joue Free, the two-guitarist/two-drummer Montréal-Vancouver tandem free improv quartet The Unexpected, and on and on. His first solo album, 2000s Do, garnered much critical acclaim — even described as “very close to a masterpiece” by AMG reviewer François Couture, which would seemingly set the bar quite high for the guitarist’s next outing. Well, in December 2007 that next CD, Clic, arrived, revealing that Falaise was in no apparent danger of a sophomore slump. One might naturally expect a musician such as Falaise, who possesses killer chops along with utter mastery of electronic effects both live and in the studio, to use his solo efforts as an opportunity to cut loose with displays of the “guitar hero” variety, since he is such a team-playing collaborator in his other settings, placing the needs of the ensemble ahead of any egotistic shredder tendencies. But Do demonstrated his ability to multi-track his guitar and other instrumentation with an admirable lack of grandstanding, and Clic proceeds even further away from the guitar as focal point (although Falaise does rip out a few concise and compelling solos and steps into the spotlight occasionally, with his instrument sometimes so sonically disguised that you can’t be sure it’s a guitar). In fact, Clic immediately places Falaise in the absolute top tier of avant-prog composers and arrangers for diverse instrumentation, not to mention a master of studio-based wizardry. A reading of the personnel should tip the listener off even before the music (or, more accurately, digital clicks, sampled voice, and circus calliope) of brief leadoff track Allô emanates in curious fashion from the speakers: in addition to Falaise on guitars, bass, banjo, mandolin, keyboards, percussion, turntables, and “manipulations diverses,” the musicians present include saxophonist/flutist Jean Derome, clarinetist Lori Freedman, trombonist Tom Walsh, trumpeter Gordon Allen, drummer/percussionist Jean Martin, and Julien Grégoire on marimba. This would be a phenomenal live band, but Falaise has stated that “most of this music would be near impossible to perform live,” and in fact the musicians individually overdubbed their contributions.
The result is challenging, imaginative, playful, and accessible, and in a sense a perfect blend of the melodious yet complex music of Miriodor and the tightly arranged and scored side of musique actuelle, although there are improvisational interludes mixed into the compositional intricacies. Homages are many across the album’s 13 tracks, starting with Tricheur, an obvious tip of the hat to A Modern Lesson, the Bo Diddley-meets-Henry Cow leadoff track on Aksak Maboul’s classic Un peu de l’âme des bandits from 1980. Falaise knows his Rock in Opposition, but also claims inspiration from the likes of Braxton, Beefheart, Nancarrow, and Stravinsky. There is uncanny depth in the music’s many layers: a counter-rhythm of crisp percussives bursts in over a mesmerizing minimalist backdrop during Lime; the electronic and acoustic instruments of Tour dance in a delicate swirl, with melodies and solo snippets intertwining as the underlying harmonic foundation shifts and brings all the instruments along, the entire assemblage fitting together with the precision of a jigsaw puzzle as the overall energy level pumps up into higher levels of urgency. On the jazzier, funkier side, Allen gets a brief blowing opportunity and pumps out an angular unison line with the marimba over a chunky, driving rhythm on Mule, and Yeti fully integrates Les Dangereux Zhoms’ front line of Derome and Walsh into an arrangement whose tempos speeds up and slows down like a roller coaster plummeting madly downward, slowing to a crawl on the ascent and barely making it to the crest of the next rise before swiftly accelerating to the ground again. And so it goes throughout Clic: Falaise’s impeccable chops and advanced guitar sonics (not to mention banjo and mandolin!) tumble into a universe where radio static, digital blips, and oddball vocal samples meet calliopes, glockenspiels, marimbas, and jazzed-up brass and reeds to create music with an ebb and flow as natural and organic as the movement of thoughts and emotions, ranging from whimsically fun to dramatic and even mysterious and darkly atmospheric. With his second album, Bernard Falaise has managed to marry the engaging qualities of Miriodor and L’Ensemble Rayé to the challenging aspects of Henry Cow, Blast, Stevan Kovacs Tickmayer, and Rich Woodson’s Ellipsis (and sometimes you can even dance to it!). Clic is an astounding record — yes, even a masterpiece — and a strong candidate for 2007’s avant-prog album of the year.
Wednesday, February 8, 2017 / New releases
Monday, January 26, 2009 / General
Saturday, January 10, 2009 / General
Great news! Five Ambiances Magnétiques albums ranked amongst the best releases of 2008! Top 5: Le Phénix by Les Poules (Délire Actuel, CFLX-FM, Sherbrooke, Québec) Top 10: Clic by Bernard Falaise (CIBL-FM, Montréal, Québec) Top 15: Y’a du b… More