… the range of details that emerge and recede within, and its varying dynamic shape, are marvellous to behold. Souvenir. is a superb demonstration of simplicity and complexity working together to create something that sounds almost totally different on each new listening. — 5:4, UK
… Lavoie’s approach has a unique feel, making Souvenir a compelling and understated release. — Avant Music News
These compositions are an ode to errance, drifting through indefinite landscapes where we can draw our own paths. It is a call to rediscover our inner and collective environment. The idea came from these moments of contemplations in a crowd where vertigos are beauty and comfort.
- Label: Mikroclimat
- MKR 120 / 2020
- UCC 771028302086
- Total duration: 43:42
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I wasn’t previously aware of Canadian composer Joel Lavoie, but i’ve been returning regularly to his album Souvenir. over the last six months. The three parts bring together synths and field recordings; nothing particularly new about that combination but the results are difficult to categorise, though they tend towards the contemplative. Souvenirs intermittent is an ambient-like introduction, deep intoning notes cutting through the imaginary open air, allowed to swell in its second half to an intense dronal zenith. It’s striking, but the second and third parts are yet more impressive. Addendum pulls back to a mysterious combination of movement and stasis, always sounding poised to potentially unleash something enormous. What transpires is better than a mere climax: an extended plateau of majesty that i confess i wish lasted much, much longer than its few minutes — i think i could be borne aloft on beauty like this forevermore. Marche irréfléchie pulls back again, now descending into deeper climes; again its habitat is harmonically limited, but the range of details that emerge and recede within, and its varying dynamic shape, are marvellous to behold. Souvenir. is a superb demonstration of simplicity and complexity working together to create something that sounds almost totally different on each new listening.
Joel Lavoie is a Montréal-based sound artist who’s output on Souvenir encompasses a mix of ambient, acousmatic, synth (Buchla 200), and minimalist influences. While these styles have been combined in various ways previously, Lavoie’s approach has a unique feel, making Souvenir a compelling and understated release.
Across three long tracks, Lavoie layers oscillations, gentle walls, pulses, and environmental sounds. On Souvenirs intermittents, these evolve and grow in intensity, adding cosmic synth lines. Addendum begins with a mid-range drone before moving into a theme reminiscent of Steve Roach or the Berlin School. Marche irréfléchie is a 25-minute coda that adds a double bass player as well as some light discordance. Melodies drift across deep soundscapes with distant crashing, voices, and other effects.
Despite their unconventional sources, there is a certain warmth and spaciousness to Lavoie’s compositions that give them a cinematic texture. With no shortage of ambient music readily available, it takes a strong release to turn heads these days. Souvenir fits the bill.
Pour faire suite à son excellent album Cabines paru il y a près de deux ans sur Jeunesse Cosmique, Joel Lavoie est de retour avec un incroyable nouveau disque. Toujours plus dense et émouvante, la musique du Montréalais nous chavire encore une fois par sa grande pureté. C’est l’un des plus beaux voyages ambient de 2020.