actuellecd

Tags

Joane Hétu

These explorations of instrumental function give the music a more nuanced relationship between melodicism, texture and speech… The WholeNote, Canada

… mais il montre déjà assez bien le potentiel qui sommeille encore dans la partie libre du jazz et des genres expérimentaux apparentés. Groove, Germany

The majority of my compositions were intended for groups of which I was a permanent member (Ensemble SuperMusique, Castor et compagnie, Nous perçons les oreilles, etc.). However, I have several stand-alone musical pieces, which, over time, have remained unpublished. With this album, I gather 4 of these works to offer them a second life. Our compositions, after all, are deserving of our love.

  • SODEC

CD (AM 268)

  • Label: Ambiances Magnétiques
  • AM 268
  • 2021
  • UCC 771028126828
  • Total duration: 52:22
  • Sympathique case
  • 126 mm × 126 mm × 5 mm
  • 40 g

On the web

Download (AM 268_NUM)

Video

Some recommended items

In the press

Review

Yoshi Maclear Wall, The WholeNote, no. 27:7, May 20, 2022

Tags enters with the tranquil, yet perhaps slightly uneasy droning double stops of bassist Nicolas Caloia and the half-whisper, half-growl of Lori Freedman’s sound poetics. The intro is immediately suggestive of a gradual build, while also operating as a self-contained space between intentions, or even different media for sound-creation. This entire project of Joane Hétu’s “orphaned” compositions (as she puts it in the liner notes), often feels like it operates in various gray zones, or lost in the middle of listener preconceptions and musical conventions. For example, Freedman and Hétu at numerous points are either simultaneously vocalizing while playing, or at least constantly threatening to cross over into the other means of communication at will.

Members of Hétu’s string section commonly opt for a percussive approach to playing arco, which creates a consistent textural effect that beautifully complements the fragmented phrasing of the soloists. These explorations of instrumental function give the music a more nuanced relationship between melodicism, texture and speech than would be otherwise present, creating greater optionality to the realization of Hétu’s compositions. The most impressive aspect of Tags is perhaps how the four tracks feel cut from the same tapestry, despite not having the same personnel, and all of said compositions being unreleased strays. This unexpected uniformity is aided by the prevalent relationship between instrumentation and silence. More specifically, as more instrumentation is added, silent passages are increasingly used as a key aspect of form.

These explorations of instrumental function give the music a more nuanced relationship between melodicism, texture and speech…

Kritik

Frank P Eckert, Groove, March 16, 2022

Joane Hétu ist seit den Achtzigern in zahlreichen, immer wechselnden Bands und Ensembles der Post-Rock — und Jazz-Szene Montréals aktiv. Vor allem in der Rolle einer Vermittlerin zwischen experimentellen Musiker·innen, die eben nicht nur, nicht pur Jazz oder Prog oder kaustische Elektroakustik machen wollen. Tags (Ambiances Magnétiques), eine Zusammenstellung von Solostücken oder „Waisenkindern”, wie sie es nennt, ist damit eine eher untypische Ausnahme im Repertoire, zeigt aber schon ziemlich gut, was noch so an Potenzial im freien Teil von Jazz und verwandten experimentellen Genres schlummert.

… mais il montre déjà assez bien le potentiel qui sommeille encore dans la partie libre du jazz et des genres expérimentaux apparentés.

Review

Robert Steinberger, Vital, no. 1326, March 8, 2022

Joane Hétu has a long history in music, starting as a saxophone player involved in Canadian avant-garde bands like Wondeur Brass, but then turning to more ’serious’ work more akin to contemporary classical formats, but also getting into ballet music, performances, and video. She also has a business side, being on the board of the label Ambiences Magnetiques, the production company Productions SuperMusique, and the DAME record label. She has also combined vocal improvised and improvised ensemble work, something I have never quite got to grips with.

On Tags, we find several compositions she created over the past years, 2000 to 2019, to be more precise. Ne t’estompe pas en moi is a duo between bass clarinette and double bass. It has a jazz feel to it, but also one of improvisation and some nice bits where the two instruments cease to weave around each other but begin to play with the same little melody before going off on a tangent again. In Tags, Hétu plays the saxophone again, together with Jean Derome (their duo CD was reviewed here a while ago), backed up by Quatuor Bozzini (string quartet) and Quasar (a saxophone quartet). So there, racket guaranteed? That’s not what you get, though. The groups of instruments play intermittently, or the sounds get overlaid. It all sounds chaotic, somewhere between improvised music (which must not necessarily be jazz) and contemporary classic. I found a little bit of voice improv unnecessary (as I said, I am not a fan of), but it remains a bit isolated somewhere in the second half. The other two pieces, Les dentellières (Lace Makers) and Préoccupant, c’est préoccupant: Les états (’The conditions’ — or ’States’), are more ’orchestral’ in a sense. They build a more complex sound spectrum that could be tagged more industrial at times. The first might remind me of Glenn Branca, as it uses 20 guitars. Ensemble SuperMusique performs the second based on a graphical score by Hétu (a member of the Ensemble herself), a ’catalogue’ of sound bits/musical fragments to use. Sounds very intellectual. Whilst Les dentellières conjures up the picture of guitar strings making up the fabric of the lace (hm … ), the piece starts with single guitar notes that build into a continuous… not exactly ’drone’, but something akin, with less discreet notes to be heard. It manages to hold the tension without venturing out into any Branca-like overdrive. Préoccupant, c’est préoccupant: Les états plays between quiet, drawn bits and parts that remind more of Zeitkratzer playing Merzbow. Only towards the second half the music becomes denser and more of an ensemble piece that is more than pieced-together sounds. As always, I believe this kind of ’free’ music that relies significantly on the input of the musician’s onset is better viewed live. As a recording, it does lose some of the impact.

On Tags, we find several compositions she created over the past years…

Review

Brad Rose, Foxy Digitalis, February 11, 2022

What a magnificent album from a label (Ambiances Magnétiques) that very much has my attention. Joane Hétu is a composer, saxophonist, and vocalist and her work is always inventive and sonically captivating. Tags collects four ‘orphans’ — pieces that didn’t have a home elsewhere — and shows everything that makes Hétu great. Lithe woodwinds dance across simmering floors while voices shoot upward like ancient machines hidden underground come to life. Beautiful guitar tones gloss through blank corridors, flitting between resonant drones and rippling splurges, interconnected with an underlying sigh of relief. It’s amazing that these four pieces weren’t written with each other in mind because Tags works as a wonderfully cohesive album. Recommended.

What a magnificent album from a label that very much has my attention.