Adaptation of two of John Cage’s later aleatoric compositions in their own fashion, members of Montréal’s Quartetski stay true to the composer’s instructions while creating completely original works. With Four6 designed for any way of producing sounds and One7 created for pitched instruments playing sustained notes, Pierre-Yves Martel on electric bass and sine waves and Bernard Falaise on electric guitar plus bass clarinetist Philippe Lauzier and percussionist Isaiah Ceccarelli, both of whom also play synthesizers, construct electro-acoustic tracks of kaleidoscopic textures.
Since One7 wants instruments acting as one, Quartetski’s layered interactions concentrate into a pointillist vibrating mass by mid-point and propelled by altissimo reed whistles and voltage drones, stay that way until the end. Before that, organ-like synthesizer swells, guitar string plinks, unvarying chalumeau-register clarinet buzzes and percussion rolls corkscrew multiple pitches into the exposition before coalescing.
More individualism characterizes Four6 since multiple sounds are expressed and emphasized. Lauzier at points projects both subterranean body tube growls and repeated staccato shrieks; Ceccarelli sounds doorbell-like peals or cymbal scratches as often as bass drums thumps; Falaise’s effects pedal moves intermittent guitar twangs upwards; and Martel’s thick bass strums propel regularized rhythmic vibrations as well as focusing timbral evolution. Crucially, however, at certain moments, reoccurring harsh reed flattement confirm linear evolution.
Transforming interpretation into originality, Quartetski realizes the essence of Cage’s conception in a novel and unique form.