Fünf (German for five) is an all-female twelve-handed collective: Magali Babin, Andrea-Jane Cornell, Martine H Crispo, Anne-François Jacques, Émilie Mouchous, and Erin Sexton, all based in Montreal. They all experiment with electricity and home-made or modified devices. This is the realm of circuit-bending, miniature sound sculptures, automatons, and the art of getting contact microphones to sing.
The music is a form of microsonic free improvisation where silence, without being king, has its role to play. Rubbing sounds, scratching sounds, murmurs, slight movements, parasites, controlled feedback, field recordings — all these sounds are small, fragile, and measured. They tell a wide range of stories, some intriguing, some ridiculous, some are even moving, and not a single one is predictable.
La règle (French for either “the rule” or “the ruler”) features twelve pieces ranging from a few seconds to close to nine minutes recorded between 2011 and 2014 in various groupings though never as a full sextet. I knew the work of three of the collective’s six musicians prior to this CD: Sexton, who plays with light and electrical interferences; Babin, whose Chemin de fer (No Type, 2002) remains a very fine listen; and Jacques, the lady with the little automatons, who has a nice duo CD with Tim Olive. Sadly (and that will be my sole criticism), there is no information on the jacket about who plays what and where, which means that I cannot really say that I have been acquainted with the other three members.
Though, come to think about it, this might no be so sad after all. By hiding their parts, the collective are focusing our attention on the whole. And that whole boasts a unity of spirit that charmed me from listen number 1. Who’s responsible for this or that aural find? Fünf, who integrate it to Fünf’s other finds. The mix plays with a very large stereo spectrum where each sound is carefully (dis) placed, to a choreographic level. I recommended listening to La règle on headphones, in order to not miss this level of detail.
My personal highlights are Retenue mystique, the album’s longest track, because its title (“Mystical Restraint”) describes it perfectly and I felt like I was in a space opera, right at the moment of calm before the storm. I am also fond of the subtle yet twisted humour in Aimes-tu ma porte?, and of Morceau de Fünf, where the collective is almost reinventing Luc Ferrari’s concept of presque rien (almost nothing).
Tilting is the jazz quartet of Montréal bassist Nicolas Caloia. This album was recorded in April 2013, and it just came out on the Ontarian label Barnyard. We have Caloia, Jean Derome, Guillaume Dostaler, and Isaiah Ceccarelli, plus Lori Freedoman and Yves Charuet appearing on one track each. Very jazzy though not typecasted, living music, with some mighty fine sideway skids — Derome plays only baritone sax and bass flute on this album, so there’s a lot going on in the bass range. The writing reminds me of Sun Ra — something about the immediacy of these melodies that are both rooted in jazz tradition and facing toward a better elsewhere.
A fine free improvisation session between guitarist Sylvie Chenard (also on vocals), doublebassist Alexandre Dubuc, sax player Cathy Heyden, and drummer Rémi Leclerc (yes, of Miriodor). All of them also use electronics. Trippy and granular improvisations in search of a balance between delicate noise-making and collective drive. Tracks are short, the album as a whole flows well, and it offers both immediate interest and listening depth. Recommended.
I have been going to FIMAV for 17 years now and I owned only one FIMAV-related bootleg (Art Bears Songbook, recorded by an audience member). To see a FIMAv bootleg circulate is exceptional — the festival has a very strict policy on photos/recordings. So to see a SOUNDBOARD being published on soundcloud is a dream come true. Don’t worry, the festival did not officially record the concert, there was no plan to release it on CD, so no one is getting hurt. And what a concert my friends, what a concert! The Montreal ensemble led by Nicolas Caloia conjured the spirit of Sun Ra for an hour of segued pieces with guests Marshall Allen and Pekoe’s flute. You won’t see Pekoe’s little dance number. You won’t see the smile on Allen’s face. But you will be able to hear a phenomenal celebration of Sun Ra’s music. Use the link below. Download this recording now before it’s too late. https://soundcloud.com/user119499001/ratchet-orchestra-fimav-15-mai-2014
Wonderful! Géraldine Eguiluz is simply wonderful! A singer full of charm, emotion, and creativity, she strongly brings to mind, on this debut CD for Malasartes, the great Iva Bittová, except that Eguiluz bases her wordless singing on Latin American influences instead of Central European ones — and this comparison is no disservice to Miss Eguiluz, believe me! Rubedo’ro features nine of her own compositions for a string quintet: four string instruments and her own vocal chords. Sleek arrangements that navigate the ocean between chamber music, Latin American music, and musique actuelle. I was completely won over on the first listen, and so will you.