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Review

Stuart Broomer, The WholeNote, March 26, 2019
Thursday, March 28, 2019 Press

Composer, saxophonist and flutist Jean Derome has been a central voice in Quebec’s musique actuelle movement for decades, along the way creating works that fuse improvisation with larger structural forms. Here he leads his quartet Les Dangereux Zhoms and nine other musicians in a cross-country retrospective of works commissioned by Canada’s landmark mixed-method contemporary ensembles.

The title track, originally performed by Halifax’s Upstream in 2010, uses the idea of the Sudoku puzzle to create polyphonic canons of pentatonic scales in a way that suggests Pygmy vocal music. It’s a scintillating work, leavening its complexity with sonic transparency and some brilliant reed soloists, most notably Derome on baritone saxophone and André Leroux on tenor. 7 danses (pour «15»), originally performed by Toronto’s Hemispheres in 1989, demonstrates Derome’s longstanding interest in creating hybrid works, juxtaposing popular and serious genres that mingle Bernard Falaise’s rock-inspired electric guitar with abstract harmonies.

The concluding 5 pensées (pour le caoutchouc dur), composed for Vancouver’s Hard Rubber Orchestra in 2001, encompasses a range of moods and inspirations and highlights some of the group’s strongest voices. The playful second pensée, suggests Thelonious Monk’s work, with Lori Freedman’s bass clarinet approaching comic speech, while the third invokes Duke Ellington’s sacred music, with a pensive, reflective lead provided by trombonist Scott Thomson. The concluding Pensée matches a rapid hoedown with anarchic collective improvisation, literally an ultimate stylistic collision, and the ideal conclusion for this boundary-blurring set of works.

… literally an ultimate stylistic collision…

Review

Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 1176, March 25, 2019
Wednesday, March 27, 2019 Press

Danielle Palardy Roger is a percussionist, composer and improviser. She is part of the Montréal scene since the early 80s, known for her work with Wonder Brass, Justine, Ensemble SuperMusique, etc. She has many records out on Ambiances Magnétiques. With her latest work Cannibale she created a musical satire, showing cannibalism in all its forms, proposing capitalism is one of the most recent forms. Cannibalism dwells in us as mankind and continues to surface in one-way or the other. Okay a satire, but a very serious topic. Performers are Isaiah Ceccarelli (drums, voice), Michel F Côté (electronics), André Duchesne (electric guitar), Joane Hétu (alto sax, narration), Elizabeth Lima (clarinet), Ida Toninato (baritone sax), Alexandre St-Onge (electric bass, electronics) and Danielle Palardy Roger herself percussion. All instrumentalists also contribute with vocals. The performers are well-known forces from the Ambiances Magnétiques scene and have a rare appearance of veteran André Duchesne. The music is very diverse, not strange as the material is composed of five of the instrumentalists composed and makes a theatrical ensemble of styles, with dramatic and intense vocal work by narrator Hétu. Some works like La victoire du guerrier are plain rock, whereas other tracks are far more experimental. Musically this is an album of enormous contrasts, illustrating the different faces of the phenomenon of cannibalism.

… this is an album of enormous contrasts…

Review

Dæv Tremblay, Can this even be called music?, March 22, 2019
Monday, March 25, 2019 Press

The avant-garde duo of pianist Ofer Pelz and percussionist Preston Beebe just released Pre-Fall, an amalgamation of various experiments in the spontaneous synchronicity of the two performers here. While the recorded output is a fantastic experience in its own right, there is something truly mesmerizing in witnessing such performance being played live, as I had the chance to. Hopefully, you’ll get to do the same, but in the meantime, let this incredible release engulf you whole.

… let this incredible release engulf you whole.

Critique

Louis Paulhus, Mes enceintes font défaut, March 15, 2019
Monday, March 18, 2019 Press

Commençons par la fin… S’il y a une chose que je peux vous garantir lorsque vous écouterez Punt, c’est que vous ne vous ennuierez pas, c’est une promesse! La fusion des idées d’ Érick d’Orion et de Guillaume Cliche (avec qui nous avons eu la chance de discuter l’été dernier à propos du label Musique Maison) a permis l’élaboration d’un album rafraîchissant autant par son originalité que par sa pertinence. Mikroclimat nous a habitué·e·s à des parutions de grande qualité et nous sommes bien servis avec cette expérimentation électroacoustique qui repousse les limites. Pouvions-nous s’attendre à autre chose de la part de deux figures établies des sphères électroniques et expérimentales québécoises? Punt représente beaucoup plus qu’un botté de dégagement, c’est un spectaculaire et brillant touché.

À l’amorce de blitz, entame de cette colossale offrande, vous serez déjà dans l’ambiance désirée. Les deux compositeurs ne prennent aucun détour et débutent en force avec de rapides sonorités noise plutôt angoissantes. Il s’agit de l’atmosphère qui régnera sur l’intégralité des 9 morceaux. Les bruits sont stridents, voire même agressants par moment, mais nous en redemandons. Mon cerveau s’aligne sur le même canal que la musique qui résonne dans mes haut-parleurs et les deux entités forment un tout. Mon esprit s’égare dans ce monde qui bascule sans cesse. C’est un univers où les éléments s’entrechoquent parfois violemment, mais peuvent également se côtoyer avec beaucoup de délicatesse.

Les compositions de Cliche et d’Orion sont plus que du noise ou de l’électroacoustique; les styles varient et s’harmonisent dans cet élan de distorsion et de décibels. Le rythme augmente à quelques reprises sur l’album et le résultat en est terriblement efficace. Prenez mach, par exemple, où les percussions s’ajoutent à la fête pour donner un morceau aux apparences technoise qui donne drôlement envie de bouger. Ce segment n’est pas sans rappeler les créations acharnées du talentueux musicien Container qui manie si bien cette fine ligne entre l’ivresse de la techno et la brutalité du noise. Malgré cette intensité, nous avons également droit à des moments plus ambiants, comme sur Rio Grande où des mélodies atmosphériques et délicates agissent comme lien entre ces assemblages déconstruits et dynamiques.

Maintenant, il ne reste plus qu’à espérer que cette agréable collaboration se poursuive et qui sait, peut-être aurons-nous la chance de les voir sur scène prochainement?

Punt représente beaucoup plus qu’un botté de dégagement, c’est un spectaculaire et brillant touché.

Review

Daniel Barbiero, Avant Music News, February 28, 2019
Monday, March 18, 2019 Press

For Musique d’art, a five-movement, hour-long work for string quintet by Martin (b. 1981), the quartet — which in addition to the Bozzini sisters includes violinists Alissa Cheung and Clemens Merkel — is joined by double bassist Pierre-Alexandre Maranda. Like Niblock’s two pieces, Musique d’art is centered on the development elongated chords, but with more variability of density, dynamics and rates of harmonic change. Pitches drop out and fade in; discordant tones come and go as the intervals between notes widen and narrow; bow articulations shift to introduce changes to timbre and to add complexity to the stacked overtones. Not all of this is about pitch relationships: while at times the quintet sounds like a robust, tuned and detuned tamboura, at other times their collective sound dissolves into harsh, grey noise and rough, unpitched textures. Martin set out to create a fecund dialectic of sound and music with the piece, and in that he has succeeded.

Founded by the Bozzini sisters, cellist Isabelle and violinist Stéphanie, the eponymous Montréal-based string quartet has been a significant presence in Canadian new music since the early 2000s. The Bozzini’s two CDs, one each of works by US composer Phill Niblock and Québec’s Simon Martin, are the latest additions to a substantial catalogue of recordings of sound — and concept-based contemporary music.

Baobab presents two large-scale works by Niblock (b. 1933). Both pieces — Baobab, originally composed in 2011, and Disseminate, composed in 1998 — were first written for orchestra and appear here as revised in 2017. By means of multi-track layering, they’ve been rearranged for string quartet multiplied times five. Both pieces are quintessential Niblock — thickly textured swarms of drones made up of microtones and moving timbres. Sustaining the requisite long tones undoubtedly is a challenge to the players’ physical stamina, but the sounds never falter.

Martin set out to create a fecund dialectic of sound and music with the piece, and in that he has succeeded. (cqb_1922). […] Both pieces are quintessential Niblock — thickly textured swarms of drones made up of microtones and moving timbres. Sustaining the requisite long tones undoubtedly is a challenge to the players’ physical stamina, but the sounds never falter. (cqb_1924)

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