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Artists Alexander MacSween

Musician, composer and sound artist, Alexander MacSween has collaborated on many dance, theatre and film projects. He has worked with Marie Brassard (Québec), André Gingras (Netherlands), Brigitte Haentjens / Sybillnes (Québec), Interlude T/O (France), Robert Lepage (Québec), Montréal Danse (Québec), José Navas / Compagnie Flak (Québec), and T.r.a.n.s.i.t.s.c.a.p.e (Belgique). As a drummer, Alexander is active in the worlds of rock, improvisation and electronic music. He has played with Paolo Angeli, Tim Berne, Michel F Côté, Bionic, Frank Gratkowski, The Nils, and Sam Shalabi. He is a member of Martin Tétreault’s Quatuor de tourne-disques and of the group Foodsoon, with Bernard Falaise and Fabrizio Gilardino. Alexander has also created solo pieces and sound installations. His work has been presented in several festivals, including CitySonics (Belgium), Sonorama (France) and Mutek (Québec). He also gives workshops on real-time sound processing for the performing arts presented by the CECN (Belgium) at various European centres, including Le Fresnoy (France), ArtZoyd (France) et TechnoCité (Belgium).

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Alexander MacSween

Montréal (Québec), 1964

Residence: Montréal (Québec)

  • Composer
  • Performer (drum set, electronics)

Associated Groups

On the Web

Alexander MacSween
  • David Lafrance, Magali Babin, Martin Tétreault, Nancy Tobin, Alexander MacSween, photo: Caroline Campeau, Montréal (Québec), October 24, 2012
  • Musicians of the March 8, 2012 concert Les filles à l’envers. Left to right: Lori Freedman; Myléna Bergeron; Alexander MacSween; Joane Hétu; Magali Babin, photo: Élisabeth Alice Coutu, Montréal (Québec), March 8, 2012
  • Les filles à l’envers in concert on March 8, 2012. Left to right: Lori Freedman; Alexander MacSween; Myléna Bergeron; Magali Babin; Joane Hétu, photo: Élisabeth Alice Coutu, Montréal (Québec), March 8, 2012
  • Les filles à l’envers in concert on March 8, 2012. Left to right: Lori Freedman; Alexander MacSween; Myléna Bergeron; Magali Babin; Joane Hétu, photo: Élisabeth Alice Coutu, Montréal (Québec), March 8, 2012
  • Foodsoon: Fabrizio Gilardino, Alexander MacSween, Bernard Falaise live at XM 24, Bologna (Italie), photo: Andrea Amadasi, Bologna (Italy), October 10, 2006
  • Foodsoon: Fabrizio Gilardino, Alexander MacSween, Bernard Falaise at La Sala Rossa, photo: Nadia Bellefeuille, December 6, 2005
  • Foodsoon: Fabrizio Gilardino, Alexander MacSween, Bernard Falaise at La Sala Rossa, photo: Nadia Bellefeuille, December 5, 2005
  • Foodsoon: Fabrizio Gilardino, Bernard Falaise, Alexander MacSween at studio hotel2tango during the recording of Some Love in March 2005., photo: Howard Bilerman, March 2005

Main Releases

&records / ET 21 / 2014
&records / ET 04 / 2005

Appearances

Oral / ORAL 40 / 2011
&records / ET 05 / 2008
Asphodel / ASP 2034 / 2006
Wired on Words / WOWCD 009 / 2005

In the Press

  • Mathieu Bélanger, Panpot, May 18, 2008
    (Juste) Claudette definitely turned out to be one of the most enjoyable concert of the 25th Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville.

(Juste) Claudette (FIMAV)

Mathieu Bélanger, Panpot, May 18, 2008

(Juste) Claudette is Michel F Côté latest project. Its origins go back to an evening of February 2006 when Jesse Levine, Bernard Falaise, the aforementioned Alexandre St-Onge and Côté himself happen to be together in a studio and recorded some improvisations. This music would eventually become the group’s eponymous CD, released last fall on Ambiances Magnétiques.

Michel F Côté likes each of his projects to have a well-defined and distinct identity. A quick listen to the music of Mecha Fixes Clocks (with or without its ‘s’), Flat Fourgonnette or Pink Saliva – a yet-unrecorded trio with trumpeter Gordon Allen and bassist Alexandre St-Onge – should be enough to convince anyone of this claim. (Juste) Claudette is no exception to this fundamental preoccupation. Indeed, Claudette (for the intimates) is all about groove. Yes, groove as in looped patterns, but also as in tap your foot and bob your head.

(Juste) Claudette – let’s stick to the official name to dissipate any impression of promiscuity – performed its second ever concert as part of the 25th Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville. Actually, it is worth emphasizing that it took place on Sunday at midnight at the CEGEP de Victoriaville, one of the three venues used by the festival, as anyone who has visited the small Bois-Francs town would know.

While (Juste) Claudette dedicates itself to groove and rhythm, there was plenty to maintain interest and loads for the brain to chew on (then process). First, drummer Alexander MacSween was added to the line-up, thus turning (Juste) Claudette into a sextet as Côté had already recruited trumpeter Gordon Allen for the group’s live debut, back in October 2007. The addition of a second drummer allowed for some fascinating rhythmic events to occur. In one piece, Côté and MacSween played exactly the same beat, except that MacSween’s hi-hat notes were twice as fast as Côté’s. In others, MacSween would play a basic pattern while Côté would play between the beats in a looser manner or double the beat on his snare.

Second, (Juste) Claudette made it clear that rhythm and groove is not just a drums and bass thing. Sure, in some pieces, the drums and the bass would indeed start a rhythmic pattern and stick to it while the others instruments build upon it. However, in others, the basic rhythmic impetus would come from another instrument such as Falaise’s syncopated strumming.

As mentioned above, this concert took place on Sunday evening, thus near the end of the 2008 FIMAV. On the one hand, the somewhat festive and groovy aspects of (Juste) Claudette were a welcome relief at this point. Remember, this was the 20th concert festival-goers had witnessed in a three and a half day period, including some inevitably dry and less-successful ones.

On the other hand, in past years, the volume of the midnight concerts has often been a problem in that the loudness became an obstacle to a full appreciation of the music. Unfortunately, (Juste) Claudette was no exception. To put it bluntly, the volume was deafening. It makes no doubt that such a group can benefit from some amplification, but in this case, it actually had a negative impact. First, it simply was unbearable without earplugs. Second, some instruments simply did not sound well, the most obvious example being Côté’s carefully crafted toms which suddenly sounded like an amplified beam.

This said, on a strictly musical level, (Juste) Claudette definitely turned out to be one of the most enjoyable concert of the 25th Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville.

(Juste) Claudette definitely turned out to be one of the most enjoyable concert of the 25th Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville.

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