Brûlez les meubles (a name that translates to Burn the Furniture) suggests a doffing of the proverbial hat more towards the kind of existentialism and Jean-Paul Sartre’s primary idea that people, as humans, are “condemned to be free.” This may seem to be at cross purposes with the kind of Impressionism that has come to be associated with — perhaps even the clarion call of — many contemporary musicians.
The consistent use of distortion — not simply harmonic dissonance — suggests that these two musicians are flying more than the flag of Impressionism that became associated with many who are influenced by Debussy.
The duo Brûlez les meubles — guitarist Louis Beaudoin-de la Sablonnière and bassist Éric Normand — claim that they owe as much to Jim Hall as they do Bill Frisell. But that tells only part of their story. The real proof of their musicianship lies in the effect that the repertoire […] under review has on the senses.
Listening to Tardif (which means Late) it would seem that songs such as Balade stoïque and Journée pédagogique are indicative that the musicians want us to listen for a deeper meaning in their music. The aforementioned distortion is not simply a musical gesture that frequently runs through this music, but a device to provoke putting a keener ear to work, to listening more deeply to this music.
The duo’s free association with noise together with saxophonist Jean Derome and the arrhythmia of principal guest John Hollenbeck’s drumming sends a powerful musical message. When we get through the repertoire of Tardif and come to the recording’s climactic conclusion J’en ai connu d’autres we find ourselves wondering if the sense of alienation — or otherness — is not what really propels the musical intention of Brûlez les meubles.