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Steve Mecca, Chain DLK, October 17, 2018
Wednesday, October 17, 2018 Presse

This was one heck of an album to track down the details for, which could have been solved simply by the inclusion of a one-sheet. If there was one it must have gotten lost en-route to me from Chain D.L.K. central, and just about everything about this album and its producers had to be sourced off the Internet. Have you ever tried Googling “Political Ritual”? Just use your imagination as the results you’ll get in this day and age. Fortunately, the artists, Félix-Antoine Morin & Maxime Corbeil-Perron, put their names on the album, but both being French-Canadian, much of the info about them and Political Ritual (the name of the project is also the album title) is in French. According to Morin and Corbeil-Perron, Political Ritual build their music in architectural and woven layers of harmony and polarity, arranging ethereal drone next to hard edged buzz or cinematic movements alongside pummeling beats. With live performance as their backdrop, Félix-Antoine Morin and Maxime Corbeil-Perron took to the studio in 2014 for their first album. Corbeil-Perron is a multidisciplinary artist who has created film and video work and interactive installations shown at international events and festivals, as well as making electro-acoustic and mixed-media music as Le Pélican noir and solo — he also started a PhD at the Université de Montréal in fall 2015. A visual artist as well as an electro-acoustic composer, Morin works solo and collaborates with contemporary choreographers, videographers and several other musicians, finding inspiration for his poetic creations in the processual components of traditional and sacred music. Pushing the boundaries of abstraction, these expert improvisors in analog modular and digital synthesis incorporate invented wind instruments, traditional Balinese percussion, field recordings and digital signal processing into their compositions, intent on shaping a transcendent listening experience.

Okay, that’s all well and good, but what does this album sound like? The album is comprised of two long pieces — Ceremonie (20:07) and Projection cathodique (21:35). While ambient in nature, this isn’t a passive kind of ambient, but a very active, organic and highly charged sort of ambient. Ceremonie is full of crackling electronics and uneasy drones of indeterminate machinery. Over time it morphs into quasi-psychedelic Klaus Schulze territory before veering out into more experimental terrain. The oscillations employed are quite unsettling and throughout its droney demeanor, jarring events occur with some frequency in the background. Just when things seem to be humming along nicely the bottom drops out and the listener is transported to an alien construction site on some God-forsaken planet, replete with the distortion of heavy equipment until it grinds to a sudden halt.

Projection cathodique begins with a less forceful demeanor, the twinkling of crystalline high frequency particles over melodic sonorous low tones and held together with hollowish metallic drone substances. The latter sonority intensifies and echoes off in a feedback loop which morphs in myriad directions overtaking all other sonics present. There is a somewhat natural evolution to the unfolding of this piece that you just have to hear as any description fails to do it justice. Let’s just say it gets pretty dense as sonic layers build on top of each other. By its conclusion there is a return to some of the elements that began this piece and so the cycle is complete.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t think a whole lot of the album on the first go-round, but after repeated plays the subtleties were revealed and the brilliance of the work became evident. That it was primarily released as a limited edition vinyl LP (500 copies, also available as a digital download) makes it an even more vital purchase.

… after repeated plays the subtleties were revealed and the brilliance of the work became evident. That it was primarily released as a limited edition vinyl LP […] makes it an even more vital purchase. 4/5

Review

JOHN EYLES, All About Jazz, October 16, 2018
Tuesday, October 16, 2018 Presse

Last but not least, the series is completed by two contrasting albums credited to British Columbia-born Cassandra Miller, one featuring commissioned and other pieces played by Apartment House musicians, the other string quartets played by Montréal’s Quatuor Bozzini. It is pleasing to note that both albums feature cover paintings by Lance Austin Olsen.

Miller has twice been the recipient of the Jules-Léger Prize for New Chamber Music, Canada’s highest honour for composition. For years, her works have been performed across the world. In September 2018, she took up the post of Associate Head of Composition (Undergraduate) at London’s prestigous Guildhall School of Music and Drama. All of which makes it quite remarkable to discover that these two albums are the very first recordings to be issued featuring her music.

Taken together, the two albums illustrate exactly why Miller has been honoured and heard around the globe. Across the spectrum, from Mira Benjamin’s solo violin piece For Mira, through the enchanting string quartets, up to the duet of Charles Curtis’ cello with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Miller’s music gets it right; it feels like it is part of a tradition without being unduly shaped by that tradition or kow-towing to it.

The Canadian Composers Series is such a significant event that it makes sense to appreciate it as a whole without drawing comparisons between the ten albums in it. Hopefully, this series has opened doors for the eight composers in it and for the many more who could just as easily have been included. On the basis of it, there is a strong case for further album releases by Canadian composers, either as another series or as one-offs. History has been made.

History has been made.

Akousma: Quinzième sommet de l’exploration électroacoustique

Alain Brunet, La Presse, October 15, 2018
Monday, October 15, 2018 Presse

Présenté dans des conditions acoustiques on ne peut plus optimales, le festival Akousma XV démarre aujourd’hui et se conclut samedi: six programmes des plus nourrissants pour les amateurs les plus pointus des approches électroniques et électroacoustiques.

Francis Dhomont

Ce soir, 20h, Au Gesù

Cet incontournable de l’électroacroustique cultive encore aujourd’hui un intérêt fervent pour une écriture dite «morphologique» et aussi pour ses observations créatrices des «ambiguïtés» entre le son et l’image. Entre le Québec et la France, Francis Dhomont a cumulé les honneurs sa vie durant: Grand Prix Mega-Hertz 2013-Allemagne; docteur honoris causa de l’Université de Montréal; prix SACEM 2007 de la meilleure création contemporaine électroacoustique; prix Lynch-Staunton du Conseil des arts du Canada; 1er prix (1981) et prix «Magisterium» (1988) au Concours international de musique électroacoustique de Bourges (France); prix Ars Electronica 1992 (Autriche). De 1978 a 2004, il a partagé ses activités entre la France et le Québec, où il a enseigné à l’Université de Montréal de 1980 à 1996. Le nonagénaire vit aujourd’hui à Avignon, compose toujours et étoffe sa réflexion théorique. En feriez-vous autant à 92 ans? Au programme de demain, plusieurs œuvres en création nord-américaine.

La lucarne des rêves

Demain, 20h, Au Conservatoire de musique de Montréal

Voilà un film immersif conçu par la Française Cendrine Robelin, avec [la participation] de Martin Gracineau (son) et de Claude Mercier (montage). Voilà une œuvre cinématographique autour de la musique concrète, au sein de laquelle l’approche des compositeurs Bernard Parmegiani et Lionel Marchetti est respectueusement évoquée. «Je rêve d’un film avec le pouvoir de transformer notre perception des bruits du monde et de nous inviter à en faire de la musique. Ces bruits du monde nous entourent et nous façonnent sans que l’on y prête attention. C’est la rumeur de la ville, l’éveil des oiseaux, un moteur en action, des voix, des bruits de machines, des instruments», indique Cendrine Robelin, question de piquer notre curiosité et de nous convier à cette soirée où elle présente également Bain de gong, d’une durée de sept minutes.

Dôme + Sinus + Fiction

Mercredi, 20h, À la Satosphère de la SAT

Dans le contexte d’Akousma, la Satosphère de la Société des arts technologiques (SAT) accueille mercredi trois œuvres immersives sous la bannière Dome + Sinus + Fiction. Un «ensemble d’oscillateurs» réunit d’abord un florilège d’électroacousticiens québécois, suivi de Out of Joint, «essai d’hybridation sonore autour du Macbeth de Shakespeare», imaginé par la compositrice québécoise Monique Jean. Le programme se conclut par le travail du compositeur français Franck Vigroux, intégration singulière de musique contemporaine et de bruitisme, mais aussi de théâtre, de danse et de vidéo. Alternativement guitariste, platiniste, électroacousticien, producteur électro, improvisateur, compositeur, il a travaillé notamment avec des musiciens iconoclastes de réputation internationale tels Mika Vainio (Pan Sonic), Reinhold Friedl, Elliott Sharp, Joey Baron, Zeena Parkins, Ars Nova ensemble instrumental.

Complexe + Nature

Jeudi, 20h, À l’Usine C

Andrea Gozzi et Francesco Casciaro présentent Dot Plot, dialogue improvisé via le PrintStrument, sorte de synthétiseur polyphonique électromécanique conçu à partir d’une imprimante matricielle. De la compositrice d’origine mexicaine Nashim Gargari, on aura droit à Ensifera Ventum et Glaciar and Blue Whale, quête d’unité avec la science, les arts visuels et l’environnement. La compositrice canadienne Rose Bolton présentera ensuite The Blinding, évocation sonore du fonctionnement de la mémoire. S’ensuit Live Somewhere du Québécois Philippe Vandal, qui travaille ici sur nos problèmes de perception induits par la saturation d’informations. Le numéro suivant s’intitule Spiel; la performeuse Nien Tzu Weng exploitera le concept «pour bouche préparée» de Michael Montanaro et de Tatev Yesayan. Après quoi le compositeur québécois Georges Forget offrira Eurosignal, inspiré d’un ancien système de radiomessagerie (téléavertisseur, pager). La soirée se conclut par Les Hexacordes bien synthétisés, micro-pièces explorant les 35 hexacordes de la «pitch class set theory» d’Allen Forte.

Chaos + Émergent

Vendredi, 20h, À l’Usine C

La soirée Chaos + Émergent réunira d’abord les Italiens Francesco Canavese et Francesco Giomi, qui exécuteront The SDENG Project, exploration des relations entre le live electronic et l’improvisation. La pièce Thunderdrone, des Espagnols Diego de León et Manu Retamero, témoignera de leur expertise en conception de synthétiseurs et de l’influence qu’ils exercent sur le genre glitch-ambient ou même la techno. Par la suite, la Québécoise Myriam Bleau nous offrira un de ses systèmes audiovisuels dont elle a le secret… quelque part entre l’installation et la performance musicale intégrant l’électroacoustique, la techno, la pop ou le hip-hop. Myriam Bleau sera suivie de l’Allemand Markus Mehr, dont l’œuvre Liquid Empires résulte de subtils traitements d’enregistrements sous-marins… glou glou! Ce programme sera coiffé de Giant Claw, œuvre singulière de l’artiste audiovisuel américain Keith Rankin.

Viva l’Italia!

Samedi, 20h, À l’Usine C

À l’évidence, la présence italienne domine le 15e festival Akousma, le programme de clôture en fera l’éloquente démonstration. D’abord au menu sera diffusée la pièce Valence du Montréalais Ilyaa Ghafouri, un diplômé du Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, sous la tutelle de Louis Dufort, en l’occurrence le directeur artistique d’Akousma. Ensuite, les compositeurs italiens uniront leurs forces: Francesco Casciaro, Francesco Canavese, Francesco Giomi et Andrea Gozzi diffuseront un florilège d’œuvres les ayant marqués; o Down de Gabriele Marangoni pour quatre performeurs; Chants parallèles du brillantissime Luciano Berio; Microclima II de Marco Dibeltulu, imprégnée de musiques traditionnelles de Sardaigne; Scabro de Francesco Giomi, de facture «rugueuse, rustre, rude et impolie»; Otkaz [de] Simonluca Laitempergher, fondée sur le principe d’oktaz, point précis où un mouvement s’arrête et un autre s’amorce.

… dans des conditions acoustiques on ne peut plus optimales…

Review

Jeph Jerman, The Squid’s Ear, October 1, 2018
Monday, October 1, 2018 Presse

Jeweled miniatures constructed of fingerpicked guitar arpeggios and electronic treatments. Quiet and contemplative, like studying the patterns of shifting light and shadow on your afternoon wall.

Distillations offers clouds of harmonics with squelchy, wheezy organ tones accreting. A few of the pieces stop dead and change tack in an arresting manner, not so much jarring as re-aligning, an intake of breath. The longest piece, Porcelain 360 has metallic, vibraphone tones and weird bent organ swells, a toy piano amid careful chord shapes which gradually gain speed and density over its twelve minute running time. Lopsided, but still managing to maintain a sense of development. Marcher sur la glace has a stuttering, leslie speaker feel, and Stalactites et stalagmites sets up a stately series of strummed chords with hovering held tones that gradually becomes more harmonically complex.

For some reason I am reminded of a weighted hanging thread, slowly spinning one way and then the other, throwing tiny shards of fiber in graceful arcs as they glide to the floor. Somewhat hidden inside the cover are chord diagrams and short bits of musical staff, which I unfortunately cannot read.

Jeweled miniatures constructed of fingerpicked guitar arpeggios and electronic treatments. Quiet and contemplative, like studying the patterns of shifting light and shadow on your afternoon wall.

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