Le lait maternel

Robert Marcel Lepage

Chapeau! Vital, Netherlands

Classe superiore e grandissima inventiva: una meraviglia. Blow Up, Italy

An instrumental exploration of different American musical languages at the core of my interest in improvised music.

Each piece is based on different genres such as folk, gospel, bluegrass, the music of marching bands, mid-20th century’s orchestral music (Groffe, Ellington, Copland), jazz, rock, free jazz, electronic music, minimalism and post-modernism. They continuously intersect so that fragments of electronic music could run elbows with the music of marching bands, or a prepared piano could punctuate a string quartet playing Baptist hymns.

Heartfelt improvised parts played by Jean Derome, Jacques Seguin, Guillaume Bourque and Yanik Cloutier will be grafted on to these compositions.

CD (AM 212)

  • Label: Ambiances Magnétiques
  • AM 212
  • 2013
  • UCC 771028121229
  • Total duration: 47:57
  • Sympathique case
  • 126 mm × 126 mm × 5 mm
  • 35 g

On the web

Some recommended items
In the press


Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 929, April 21, 2014

A new bunch of CDs from Ambiances Magnetiques. From Goldstein and Wiens we know earlier releases as a trio with Ganesh Anandan and John Heward. This time Jean Derome is their partner. As a trio however they have already performed for a longer time. On april 12th, 2013 they recorded this crystal clear recording in the studio. Goldstein playing violin, Wiens mainly prepared electric guitar plus kalimba, and Derome alto sax, flute and objects. Intense and concentrated improvisations with lots of colour and sounds. Fine interplay and interaction between these reputed players, with some breath-taking moments. Like Derome, Robert Marcel Lepage is one of the founding members of Ambiances Magnétiques. He didn’t release many albums in the last few years if I’m right, but now he strikes back with two releases. He presents the more light-hearted and accessible part of the Montréal musical spectrum. Le lait maternel contains 18 compositions Lepage wrote between 2003 and 2010 for film. It has some very catchy tunes like the jumpy Le Rock du Bungalow that evokes orchestral film music from the 60s. Good time music! Very friendly music, tapping from a diversity of styles and idioms. Pieces on Canard Branchu leave some more room for improvisation, but in essence this is also an album of melodious and harmonious music, typical for the Ambiances scene since the 80s. Again performed for a big ensemble of 9 musicians. So both albums offer a bunch of well-defined tunes, dressed up in fine arrangements giving voice to many different instruments and sounds. They may not surprise you, but will sure entertain you. With the new release by Palardy we turn again to a more serious face of this scene. Again we are dealing with one of the early member of the Ambiances scene. Self-taught Danielle Palardy Roger made her mark since the early 80s with groups like Justine, Wondeur Brass and Les Poules. In the last few years — since about 1998 — she concentrates on writing for Ensemble SuperMusique, an ensemble that was founded by her. Compared with earlier projects by her, this one is most close to composed new music and deals with the play between improvisation and composition. Le Caillou is one of her oldest and most played works for this ensemble. It “is a simple game piece in which the players pass the musical development of the piece to each other while building up a slow crescendo; another set of instructions tells the musicians to trace back their steps and play as exactly as possible what they did play the first time around”, Roger explains. The one that surprised me most this time is Quartetski doing Stravinsky. Quartetski is a project founded by Pierre-Yves Martel in 2007, focused on reinterpreting works of classical composers in an improvised setting. They reworked compositions by Prokofiev, Purcell, Satie, Ellington, Cage, a.o. Because of the 100th anniversary of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring they decided to chose this work. Besides Pierre-Yves Martel (viola da gamba, objects), we hear Isaiah Ceccarelli (drums), Bernard Falaise (electric guitar), Philippe Lauzier (bass clarinet, soprano sax) and Joshua Zubot (violin). Marvellous job in transposing this orchestral work for small ensemble. Martel started from Stravinsky’s two-piano version of this composition. His re-working leaves the original work in tact concerning spirit, energy and drive that is in the original piece. Adding room for improvisation. Chapeau!



Massimiliano Busti, Blow Up, no. 191, April 1, 2014

La grazia, la leggerezza della musica di Lepage sono frutto di una perfetta sintesi fra vena melodica e ricerca timbrica, ideale rappresentazione di quella scena che a Montreal da oltre trent’anni continua a produrre nuovi talenti e lavori di spessore. Il bestiario da lui narrato in Canard Branchu si sviluppa attraverso una serie di composizioni flessuose e articolate in cui elementi di jazz notturno e sofisticato (Rainettes à la brunante), spirali di organo che volteggiano in balli inebrianti (Fondation: d’où venons-nous?), intermezzi per clarinetto solista (Les pipeurs de sable) e miniature di maestosa bellezza offuscate da un impercettibile trattamento elettronico (Le pelleteur de nuages) compongono un quadro policromatico assimilabile ai lavori pubblicati da Frith per la Ralph Records all’inizio degli anni ‘80.

La stessa straordinaria poliedricità contraddistingue anche Le Lait Maternel, un ideale percorso attraverso tutto ciò che nella tradizione americana ha ispirato la scrittura dell’autore fra folk, gospel, bluegrass, repertorio orchestrale e bandistico, jazz, rock ed elettronica. La sezione iniziale dell’album si compone di cinque brani venati di ironia, ambientazioni lounge da ologramma (Le Robert du bungalow), twist scanzonati e bagliori sixties (Le Rock du bungalow), poi il tono cambia registro passando in rassegna minimalismo (Dépassements de coûts au bureau), l’elettronica di Perrey & Kingsley (Le Mangeur de gazon), blues (L’Avenue Charles Ives), ambientazioni notturne da soundtrack lynchiana (Milles feuilles) e una commovente melanconia che richiama alla mente Rota e Morricone (Un Choral appalachien, prise I). Classe superiore e grandissima inventiva: una meraviglia.

Classe superiore e grandissima inventiva: una meraviglia.

Listening Diary

François Couture, Monsieur Délire, October 24, 2013

Robert Marcel Lepage, a founding member of Ambiances Magnétiques, is back with a new CD culling film music recorded between 2003 and 2010. Eighteen short pieces covering several genres, in which I hear a form of humour and a sensibility I know very well. No, this one does not have the strenght of La Plante humaine nor the zaniness of Les clarinettes ont-elles besoin d’un escalier de secours, but… it’s still worthy of your time, and it puts a firm smile on my face.

… it puts a firm smile on my face.