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Thursday, June 24, 2021 General

Review

Ken Waxman, Jazz Word, June 7, 2021
Thursday, June 10, 2021 Press

Adding to its stellar reputation for commissioning and performing experimental notated works, Montréal’s Quatuor Bozzini (QB) interprets five compositions by American composer Alvin Lucier on Navigations. Barbed, dissonant and compelling at the same time, these variants on works by the 90-year-old sound explorer have as much in common with traditional string quartet repertoire as Cecil Taylor has with Lang Lang. Formed in 1999, QB’s members — violinists Alissa Cheung and Clemens Merkel, violist Stéphanie Bozzini and cellist Isabelle Bozzini — have fused into a single unit of multiple moving parts. There are no soloists per se, and faithful to Lucier’s vision the timbres often resemble those from a percussion ensemble rather than a string quartet.

This is especially true on Group Tapper where the resonations appear to be created from combining smacks from the bows’ frogs, col legno string slaps and raps on the instruments’ wood to create call-and-response. As hammering moves from one to all players, tempos accelerate, first to presto and vivace, then to metallic sounding prestissimo until the soundfield is crammed with percussive ruffs. While other tracks are devoted to more conventional string strategies, the jagged and near impenetrable tones remain, encompassing hints of detuned scordatura. Detours into wispy and near-vocalized expositions are there, although the concluding Navigations for Strings offers the most bellicose challenges. As the players’ parts combine with layered and thickened tones a horizontal, undulating theme is revealed that becomes a near static, almost unbreakable drone. The climax and respite arrives when the unison strained buzz gives way to single string vibrations.

Formerly QB has created exemplified programs of composition by Ana Sokolović and Phil Niblock among others. Navigations is another defining work.

Navigations is another defining work.

Critique

Luc Marchessault, PAN M 360, May 15, 2021
Wednesday, May 19, 2021 Press

Un jeune compositeur-improvisateur montréalais trace patiemment sa trajectoire électroacoustique, du cégep de Saint-Laurent au Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, du festival des musiques numériques immersives Akousma à la très courue galerie d’art Greenhouse de Berlin, du festival de musiques improvisées Oooh de Londres au festival Impro Währing de Vienne. Il s’appelle Dominic Jasmin. Son champ d’expérimentation est vaste. Son mode opératoire est à la fois simple et complexe: créer des sons ou repérer du déjà-créé, façonner cette matière — s’il y a lieu —, puis la conjuguer à la composition spontanée. Dans son studio-labo, il combine des sons produits par des objets, leur fait subir un traitement logiciel, puis y juxtapose des sons de synthés et d’instruments acoustiques. La musique qui en résulte constitue, selon les mots de Dominic, du «bruit avec une forme» ou de «l’expressionnisme-maximaliste».

Dominic vient de faire paraître Synergie et parasitisme, un album comprenant quatre longues pièces. L’étiquette Mikroclimat, dirigée par les musiciens et compositeurs Joane Hétu et Maxime Corbeil-Perron, lui sert de rampe de lancement. Dominic Jasmin s’est servi, comme canevas, d’enregistrements provenant des collections d’amis-artistes berlinois. Il a remixé et fusionné tout ça, puis y a appliqué une couche d’improvisation synthétique et divers instruments acoustiques. Ainsi, on entend le violon de Jeanne Côté sur Ça va bien, la première pièce. La guitare de Pietro Frigato résonne sur Il sole, la pietra e l’ombra (Le soleil, la pierre et l’ombre). Sur Dieselfahrradparade (Parade de vélos au diesel?) figurent la clarinette et le saxo d’Edith Steyer. Enfin, Psicosis telepática comporte la voix de Lorena Izquierdo Aparicio et la batterie de Samuel Hall (à ne pas confondre avec le protagoniste misanthrope de la chanson de Bashung), ainsi que les ajouts électroniques d’Eric Bauer.

Corneille (le dramaturge, pas le chanteur) a écrit «À vaincre sans péril, on triomphe sans gloire». Les musicophiles gagnent à écouter Synergie et parasitisme.

Les musicophiles gagnent à écouter Synergie et parasitisme.

Review

Ken Waxman, Jazz Word, May 6, 2021
Monday, May 17, 2021 Press

While this session may at first appear to be a traditional guitar (Bernard Falaise), electric bass (Alexandre St-Onge) and drums (Michel F Côté) creation by Montréal’s Klaxon Gueule, the addition of synthesizers and a computer means it relates as much to metaphysics as to music. That’s because programming alters the sound of each instrument, blending timbres into a pointillist creation that brings in palimpsest inferences along with forefront textures.

A track such as Continuum indifférencié for instance, features a programmed continuum with concentrated buzzing that moves the solid exposition forward as singular string slides, piano clicks and drum ruffs are interjected throughout. In contrast, la mort comme victoire malgré nous finds voltage impulses resembling a harmonized string section moving slowly across the sound field as video-game-like noise scraping and ping-ponging electron ratchets gradually force the exposition to more elevated pitches. Although aggregate tremolo reverb frequently makes ascribing (m)any textures to individual instruments futile, enough timbral invention remains to negate any thoughts of musical AI. Singular guitar plucks peer from among near-opaque organ-like washes on Société Perpendiculaire and a faux-C&W guitar twang pushes against hard drum backbeats on toute la glu.

During the CD’s dozen selections, the trio members repeatedly prove that their mixture of voltage oscillations and instrumental techniques can create a unique sonic landscape that is as entrancing as it is expressive.

During the CD’s dozen selections, the trio members repeatedly prove that their mixture of voltage oscillations and instrumental techniques can create a unique sonic landscape that is as entrancing as it is expressive.