Jeweled miniatures constructed of fingerpicked guitar arpeggios and electronic treatments. Quiet and contemplative, like studying the patterns of shifting light and shadow on your afternoon wall. — The Squid’s Ear, USA
Guitarist Bernard Falaise might be the only musician on this record, but you won’t find here any composition for solo guitar. A good chunk of “lézardes et zébrures”’s basic material features an acoustic guitar played in open tunings and fed into a freezer pedal in order to endlessly play very short loops that sound a little bit as if you were listening to a guitar and organ duo from outer space. Successive layers of instruments — from electric guitar to glockenspiel and melodica — contribute to create a rich sonic universe, at the same time acoustic and electronic, naive and skillful.
- Composer(s): Bernard Falaise
- Performer(s): Bernard Falaise
- Cover image: Nicole Ollivier
- Graphic design: Fabrizio Gilardino
- Mastering: Jean Martin
CD (AM 237)
- 1Au zoo (2017), 2:40Bernard Falaise, acoustic guitar, electronics, glockenspiel
- 2Le compas dans l’œil (2017), 4:24Bernard Falaise, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, electronics, glockenspiel, bass
- 3Distillations (2017), 4:49Bernard Falaise, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, electronics
- 4Langue de girafe (2017), 3:39Bernard Falaise, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, electronics, bass
- 5Porcelaine 360° (2017), 12:18Bernard Falaise, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, electronics, piano, glockenspiel
- 6Marcher sur la glace (2017), 4:12Bernard Falaise, acoustic guitar, electronics, melodica, glockenspiel
- 7Stalactites et stalagmites (2017), 3:45Bernard Falaise, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, electronics, bass
- 8Lézardes et zébrures (2017), 7:34Bernard Falaise, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, electronics, bass, glockenspiel, melodica
- 9Mémoire d’éléphant (2017), 4:42Bernard Falaise, electric guitar, electronic guitar
- Label: Ambiances Magnétiques
- AM 237 / 2017
- UCC 771028123728
- Total duration: 48:31
- Sympathique case
- 126 mm × 126 mm × 5 mm
- 35 g
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In the press
Jeweled miniatures constructed of fingerpicked guitar arpeggios and electronic treatments. Quiet and contemplative, like studying the patterns of shifting light and shadow on your afternoon wall.
Distillations offers clouds of harmonics with squelchy, wheezy organ tones accreting. A few of the pieces stop dead and change tack in an arresting manner, not so much jarring as re-aligning, an intake of breath. The longest piece, Porcelain 360 has metallic, vibraphone tones and weird bent organ swells, a toy piano amid careful chord shapes which gradually gain speed and density over its twelve minute running time. Lopsided, but still managing to maintain a sense of development. Marcher sur la glace has a stuttering, leslie speaker feel, and Stalactites et stalagmites sets up a stately series of strummed chords with hovering held tones that gradually becomes more harmonically complex.
For some reason I am reminded of a weighted hanging thread, slowly spinning one way and then the other, throwing tiny shards of fiber in graceful arcs as they glide to the floor. Somewhat hidden inside the cover are chord diagrams and short bits of musical staff, which I unfortunately cannot read.
Bernard Falaise started in groups like Miriodor, Klaxon Gueule, Les Projectionnistes, a.o. He wrote for the Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal (ECM), and other ensembles. Also for exhibitions, television, theatre and dance. As an active improviser he worked with a great variety of musicians for almost 25 years now. He released several solo projects. And his newest release is a next step on his path as a solo player and improviser, exemplifying once again Falaise is a very unique crossing the border-type of musician. Lézardes et zébrures is a fine collection of nine instrumentals. Most pieces start from acoustic guitar played in open tunings in a fingerpicking style. By using a freezer pedal and adding other instruments Falaise creates an inventive musical world. Weird constructions, but accessible and enjoyable at the same time. Combining instruments and sounds of acoustic and electronics origin.
Guitarist Bernard Falaise is a significant contributor to Montréal’s musique actuelle movement, a member of the expansive Ensemble SuperMusique as well as the trio Klaxon Gueule and Quartetski, a group that regularly reimagines high modernist composers like Bartók and Stravinsky. Lézardes et zébrures is a solo record, but one without solos, a series of pieces constructed from minimal materials. Each begins with short figures, intervals and arpeggios played on an acoustic guitar in open tunings to emphasize steel string resonance and ringing harmonics; these are then looped, with Falaise adding layers of other instruments, among them electric guitar, glockenspiel and melodica. The opening Au zoo sets both a pattern for the music and an intermittent theme, one that’s reflected in titles like Langue de girafe and Mémoire d’éléphant, and even in the CD title — literally “cracks and welts” but with the bilingual suggestion in this context of lizards and zebras. These notions of other species’ consciousness are matched with alternative substances and spaces — Marcher sur la glace or Stalactites et stalagmites — all of them implicit in sounds that repeat and reconfigure. All of Falaise’s works here are at once immediate, luminous and strangely dreamlike. The oscillating figure of Le compas dans l’œil suggests Steve Reich’s minimalism, while the clicks and suspensions of Distillations reference the turntablist’s art, but it’s all part of Falaise’s bright, immediate, sonic universe, developed at greatest length in the imagination of another materiality in Porcelaine 360°.
Le musicien Bernard Falaise a joué depuis un quart de siècle avec tout ce que notre scène de musiques nouvelles compte de mieux et c’est un collaborateur tellement recherché que l’on se demande un peu comment il fait pour s’y retrouver. Le voici fin seul, une nouvelle (rare) fois, avec l’envie de faire des musiques vaguement méditatives et la possibilité, grâce à la magie du studio, de se multiplier pour colorer le son de ses guitares d’un brin de mélodica, d’un chouïa de glockenspiel et d’une touche d’électronique. L’homme est un grand guitariste (il ne joue pas avec tout le monde pour rien), mais ici, pas d’explosions de virtuosité, on est plutôt dans l’atmosphérique et le plaisir du son. Et de ce côté-là, c’est une grande réussite.