Their slightly stilted method, combined with their unusual sound, makes the album a winner for me; when they reach the sweet spot of unearthly tone blends, it’s near-delirious. — The Sound Projector, UK
Emphasizing his instruments’ wood, metal and reed properties, Lauzier’s tone ranges from pan-flute-like airiness to violent glissandi. — The WholeNote, Canada
LP vinyl (ETRC 019)
- Label: E-Tron Records
- ETRC 019
- Total duration: 39:05
- 315 mm × 315 mm × 5 mm
- 220 g
On the web
In the press
Highly unusual performance record of drones, hums and growly toots by Sainct Laurens, a duo of players, in the form of their album Volume 2 (ETRC019) on the Canadian label E-Tron Rec. Montreal players Pierre-Yves Martel and Philippe Lauzier thrive in a marginal sidebar of free improvisation, clearly wanting nothing to do with those energetic sort of players who sweat it up, blart it out, and skitter about with their free-form blurts in manic passion-fuelled bouts. Instead, these two introverts exude a form of rigid control; every note they make seems to be surrendered reluctantly, and at some cost to their own physical comfort. They’ll only make an utterance if the occasion demands it, like two abstemious Quakers at a prayer meeting. They almost seem to be exploring each musical encounter anew, rather than setting out in advance knowing what they will discover.
Second noteworthy element is the unusual choice of instrumentation, which includes a viole de gambe, a bass clarinet, found objects, and amplifier feedback. Only the woodwind half of the act (Lauzier, who also blows an alto and soprano sax) allows this release to be at all recognisable as free improv, and hence gathered in the “jazz” racks at the local record store. There also seems to be something going on with prepared strings, so that one of them (Martel most likely) comes across as a low-key avant-garde miniature Gamelan ensemble, with muffled percussive blows. Their slightly stilted method, combined with their unusual sound, makes the album a winner for me; when they reach the sweet spot of unearthly tone blends, it’s near-delirious. The pair have come our way before on the album La Formule XYZ in 2012, where they did with Martin Tétreault to great effect. From 9th February 2015.
Everything old is new again doesn’t go quite far enough in describing formats now available for disseminating music. Not only are downloads and streaming becoming preferred options, but CDs are still being pressed at the same time as musicians experiment with DVDs, vinyl variants and even tape cassettes. Happily the significance of the musical messages outweighs the media multiplicity. […]
Following up on the new vinyl emphasis, another Montreal-based duo, Pierre-Yves Martel, who plays viola da gamba, objects and feedback, and soprano saxophonist/bass clarinetist Philippe Lauzier, have released the LP Sainct Laurens Volume 2, even though Volume 1 was on CD. The choice is somewhat ironic since the textures the duo creates on these eight tracks relates more closely to computerized miniaturization than direct-to-disc mechanism. For a start, Martel treats the viola da gamba like a hammered dulcimer, using percussive resonation to clip and clank discursive blows even as they define the themes. Lauzier’s usual strategy is to pull strident, almost vibrato-less horizontal tones from his horns, creating parallel responses to Martel’s expositions. Emphasizing his instruments’ wood, metal and reed properties, Lauzier’s tone ranges from pan-flute-like airiness to violent glissandi. Additionally, triggered wave forms add below-the-surface comments, creating more sonic surfaces to explore. Volga is one instance where Martel’s steel-pan-like echoes meet equally bellicose bell-like gongs that are revealed as tongue slaps. As the buzzing timbres separate into reed blowing and sul ponticello string extensions, exhilarating timbres reach a crescendo, yet are craftily and abruptly cut off. This split-second timing plus startling tone integration and partition continues throughout the disc, making the pause between LP sides off-putting, but not insurmountable.
Although the name of Pierre-Yves Martel and Philippe Lauzier are prominently featured on the cover, the band name is Sainct Laurens and Volume 2, so the album which was called Sainct Laurens (see Vital Weekly 715) must be volume one, I reckon’. On Volume 2 Lauzier plays bass clarinet, alto and soprano saxophone and Martel viola de gamba, objects and feedback. Perhaps this too is the result of various days/hours in the studio recording together — it doesn’t say it is, nor does it say it’s a live recording — but unlike the previous release this seems less noise based. Here the two operate on a much careful level, creating small sounds with big impact. It’s sustaining and it’s sine-wave like (thanks no doubt to the use of the feedback, saxophone and viola being scraped), but there is much control over the sound here, more so it seems than on their first release. Besides these lengthy scraping sounds, there is also lots and lots of small sounds, hectic playing on the viola, uneasy playing of the saxophones (no doubt sometimes two at a time). As a whole, I think Sainct Laurens progressed quite a bit. There is more variation here, more control also and more dynamics — a fine interaction between the louder and quieter bits and in these nine pieces it’s all on this display. It doesn’t make this much easier to access; perhaps it’s even more difficult even: it takes the listener on a great journey through highs and lows, wide spaces and closed off areas. This is one to be fully immersed by.