Peter Margasak, Bandcamp Daily, March 3, 2020[…] all performed with typical brio and sensitivity by the Bozzinis.
Peter Margasak, Bandcamp Daily, February 28, 2019Montréal’s peerless Quatour Bozzini uses overdubbing to adapt two typically intense works by Phill Niblock, originally scored for orchestra, illuminating the inherent psychoacoustic effects with breathtaking power.
Peter Margasak, Peter Margasak, January 8, 2019My 40 favorite albums of 2018
Peter Margasak, Bandcamp Daily, February 26, 2018Corbeil-Perron crafts a dynamic series of events and elements — tiny squiggles, quasi-orchestral swells that conjure deep space, and violent sound flashes — to create an almost filmic journey.
As the global reputation, reach, and repertoire of Montréal’s Quatuor Bozzini has grown over the last two decades, one thing that hasn’t changed is the peerless string quartet’s dedication to performing the work of composers from its Canadian homeland. The Serbian-born Ana Sokolović has lived in Québec since 1992, and this collection underlines her unique sensibility, deriving ideas from her engagement with theater, ballet, and folk music.
The centerpiece of the album is her three-part Commedia dell’arte, with each three-movement work named for and inspired by different characters of the Italian theatrical tradition, privileging evocation provided by extended and percussive techniques over traditional structures. Capitano, the first movement from the first part, is wonderfully strident and a bit unreliable, reflecting the titular character’s boastful yet cowardly personality, while Zanni conveys a trickster persona in its jagged, shape-shifting design. Yet the entire work succeeds even without knowing such references. Even two miniatures — Ghost 1 and Ghost 2 — are marked by a quirky, sonically imaginative construction, arranging disparate notions in dynamic, visceral patterns, all performed by with typical brio and sensitivity by the Bozzinis.
Montréal’s peerless Quatour Bozzini uses overdubbing to adapt two typically intense works by Phill Niblock, originally scored for orchestra, illuminating the inherent psychoacoustic effects with breathtaking power. Disseminate was written in 1988 for Petr Kotik’s S.E.M. Ensemble; it opens with a crushing, buzzing unison, as the stacked microtonal intervals suggest a chorus of bagpipes blaring through a wall of Marshall amps. Dazzling beating and machine-like throbs surround the listener, but the unison begins to fall apart almost immediately, with painstakingly slow shifts. Like so much of the composer’s music, you don’t notice the change until you’ve reached the next location. Still, there are moments when some tonal shifts are greater and there’s no missing the stark developments, as when a few strings emit a wonderfully glassy screech around 20 minutes in. The title piece was composed for the Janacek Symphony Orchestra with the Ostrava banda in 2011. It begins with what sounds like a conventional chord spiked with dissonance, and its lengthy descent to B-flat begins with a mixture of B-sharps and C-sharps. The downward motion is inescapable and exhilarating, with tonal effects that sparkle and groan simultaneously, an impossibly thick, viscous drag that suddenly feels celebratory when the final notes disintegrate.
Montréal composer and sound artist Maxime Corbeil-Perron — who also works extensively with moving images — delivers two instinctive works on this richly nuanced album, one fully composed, the other improvised (but with a rigor that might suggest he’d written everything). Cubic is an acousmatic piece— a purely electronic work that can only be presented through loudspeakers, rather than actively performed — and it draws upon samples from old vinyl records as raw sound objects, although he lassoed surface noise rather than actual music, and while it embraces techno roots, this work eschews any easy stylistic tag. Corbeil-Perron crafts a dynamic series of events and elements — tiny squiggles, quasi-orchestral swells that conjure deep space, and violent sound flashes — to create an almost filmic journey. The seven movements of Polychrome were improvised during a residency at Signal Culture in Oswego, New York, and it’s tough to determine the provenance of the fast-moving vignettes with a more austere design than the opening piece, but they’re no less exciting and physical.