Chant des adieux, chant de la solitude

L’Hôtel du bout de la terre

Chant des adieux, chant de la solitude is a classy affair. Splendid E-Zine, USA

Un album tout simplement touchant, bien au delà des clivages musicaux habituels. Solénoïde, France

This is a collection of impressionnistic pieces, in which songs and instrumental compositions fray together, along with marches and waltzes, bringing to mind a story of drowning, with wounds and mourning but also hope.

From a hotel on a cliff by the sea comes a song of farewell. Through it we remember those who we have loved and those who are no longer with us. Through fearful nights that threaten isolation, we mingle the sounds of our instruments and our those of our flesh. We hold our hands in the fierce wind. —MHM

CD (MFMV 02)

In the press


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

“The Hotel At The End Of The Earth” is not only an unlikely name for a band, but also offers an unlikely music, a mixture of baroque, folk and jazz musics, that is arguably the pure essence of French Canadian music. Well, that is except for the very light-hearted cabaret feel of it all, that feels almost as much 1920’s as 2002. It’s an odd blending of contradictions, and aptly slightly eccentric, notable for its nods to RIO and some nice female vocals.

De zéro à disque

SM, emoRAGEi, no. 17, September 1, 2002

Qui ne se souvient pas de Lou Babin et de sa prestation inoubliable dans Le Party de Falardeau? Depuis, on a assez peu entendu parler d’elle.L’hôtel du bout de la terre est une création née il y a sept ans et qui rassembie une pléiade d’invités de marque, dont Babin. Mi-instrumentales, mi-chantées, les pièces tranquilles de ce disque d’une extrême délicatesse vous susurreront à l’oreille des histoires de noyade, de mort et vous feront rêver à des amours de fin d’été. C’est beau, c’est triste mais jamais totalement noir; l’espoir se cache toujours dans un coin. Fermez-vous les yeux et faites-vous votre propre cinéma; les ambiances sont feutrées, langoureuses et envoûtantes à souhait. Les voix de Babin et Marie-Hélène Montpetit ne se complètent pas toujours parfaitement mais les superbes climats nostalgiques, délicatement teintées d’une touche jazz de Normand Guilbeault réussissent à nous faire oublier ce léger hic. Un très joli disque estival qui s’apprivoise tranquillement. On y revient souvent à cet hôtel qui réchauffe le cœur et panse les plaies de l’âme.


Luke Martin, Splendid E-Zine, August 6, 2002

This is something of a concept album. The liner notes — after a musician’s roll call, natch — begin with a small note from vocalist Marie-Hélène Montpetit about a hotel by the sea, where songs batter against memories of departure. If you’re a victim of the language barrier — the vocals here are all in French — there’s nothing to worry about: the mood is accurately (almost too plainly, given that some tunes come across as being as formulaic as stadium rock) conveyed by the fine playing on show here.

Musically, the album doesn’t break much out of the smooth jazz mode. By smooth, I don’t mean Kenny G: I mean smooth in terms of that laid-back, late-night languor that suffuses many discs. Nobody appears to be working too hard here, but that’s fine in the surrounds; nobody really expects Ketil Bjornstad to be turning all Jerry Lee Lewis on us anytime soon, either. Meditative is the key word; Blues du troisième étage<|b> features some fantastically introspective contrabass work by Normand Guiltbeault that really guides the tune. For the most part, Pierre St-Jak’s piano dominates the tunes. Occasional incursions by guests (L’hôtel… are normally a four-piece, here expanded to eight) add fire and polish to the action — the song Un homme à la mer sounds like mid-era Pink Floyd gone jazz with some fantastic harmonizing — but mostly, it’s the almost-Debussy tones that guide the album. Occasionally, unluckily, it’s towards a slightly soporific destination.

The more lively tunes here bring to mind John Zorn’s Masada work; Réparitition des tâches certainly wouldn’t have been out of place on the Bar Kokhba album, for example. It’s a shame that the ensemble doesn’t stretch to this sort of rapture more often; sure, dour and moonlit is nice, but there comes a time when what’s really needed is a bit of fire-fuelled gypsy violinist dancing. It’s something that seems more necessary as the album moved on: the more the piano tends towards angularity, the more I craved reckless release, only to be denied it — a shame.

Overall, Chant des adieux, chant de la solitude is a classy affair. To be brutally superficial, for those who don’t speak French, it’s a good background disc with enough slow-burn jazz listenability to see you through a couple of bottles of wine. It’s a bit Windham Hill at times, but if you’re able to worm your way past the “Where’s Ute?” feeling, investigation will reap rewards. Not an album for all seasons, but one that I can see getting more than a few revolutions in the late evenings around my way.

Chant des adieux, chant de la solitude is a classy affair.

…autour des 10 ans du distributeur québécois DAME…

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

Je suis comme (presque) tout le monde. Quand on me parle de chanson québécoise, je sors ma kalachnikov à la seule évocation des Céline Dion, Isabelle Boulay, Lara Fabian (elle est belge me signale ma petite nièce), Garou et autres écœurantes comédies musicales. Triple beurk donc! Et c’est là où le (presque) tout le monde prend son importance (vous suivez?); chroniqueur de disques dans quelques revues résistantes, il m’arrive de tomber sur quelque galette questionneuse. La compilation Chante (Ambiances Magnétiques 085) m’avait mis la puce à l’oreille (écoutez le magnifique Constellations de Diane Labrosse), L’hôtel du bout de la terre le confirme; la chanson québécoise (Nathalie Derome, Joane Hétu, Jorane, Geneviève Letarte) mérite une écoute attentive. Sensible, nostalgique est la chaude ritournelle de L’hôtel du bout de la terre. Histoire de marins qui se perdent, ode à la pluie et aux bannis, cabaret intimiste, salsa triste, écorchures de l’âme, la musique de L’hôtel du bout de la terre est faite d’écumes et d’épaves, d’âmes sauvages. Quatre instrumentaux mettant en valeur les violons invités de Christine Molnar et Guido Del Fabbro viennent plus encore embellir cette musique du repos offert. A suivre donc.

Les Chroniques du Solénoïde

Solénoïde, June 1, 2002

Une fois n’est pas coutume, Solénoïde s’intéresse au cas de… paroliers! En fait, nous avons affaire ici à d’étranges compteurs québecois dont le nom est à lui seul un roman. Sur cet album au titre tout aussi éloquent ce sont violon, contrebasse, accordéon, piano ou encore guitare qui se partagent harmonieusement les rôles. Evoquant à la fois la blessure et l’espoir, ce fantasmatique Hôtel nous immerge dans des ambiances nostalgiques, ambiances désenchantées aux airs de comédie musicale. Mais l’un des grands mérite de ce disque est surtout de réconcilier des domaines aussi éloignés que ceux des musiques nouvelles et de la chanson. En définitive, Chant des adieux, chant de la solitude est une œuvre impressionniste raffinée, œuvre hors du temps et des modes, œuvre aux contours aussi atypiques qu’humains. Un album tout simplement touchant, bien au delà des clivages musicaux habituels.

Un album tout simplement touchant, bien au delà des clivages musicaux habituels.


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.